This is one of my favorite holidays, and anyone who follows my posts knows I’m crazy about Old Mother Earth, and I write about her as often as I can.
Luckily for me, the other sisters haven’t told me to give it a rest. Yet!
Here are excerpts from two of my favorite nature posts. I hope they motivate you to go outside and give nature a great big thank-you for being stupendous. Also for each of you to put pen to paper when nature is threatened, exploited and abused. Because if we don’t, who will?
Excerpt from Into the Wild II, originally posted on October 23, 2014
Last week my local government dredged the creek that borders my home, and since that fateful day, I’ve watched as a solitary egret stands motionless in the creek. I wonder if the devastation of home leaves this bird as dazed and disoriented as it does me. Is it a mother looking for her late season young? Or a mate looking for a lost love? Or a youth who doesn’t know where to go now that its source of food and protection is gone?
The city says they did this for me. All this devastation will prevent possible flooding to the homes in my area, and since they want to rezone a section near the creek “High Density” for a luxury condominium complex, I guess unpredictable water levels wouldn’t make the new developers happy. They bestowed my gift in fall, a time when the whole ecosystem of the watershed is under stress. Migratory birds are arriving, desperate for habitat and a place to rest up before pushing onward to warmer climates. The year round critters of the waterway are stocking for the winter, collecting their acorns and fattening up as best they can on the last desiccated morsels of the summer’s bounty. They dredge the stream not just before spring when plants are ready to bounce back from the angry welts of backhoes and shovels, but at the start of the rainy season. Right when thousands of gallons of water will sluice down those raw, defiled banks dumping hundreds of cubic inches of good healthy topsoil into an already stressed waterway. This massive infusion of silt will destroy water quality and kill off even more wildlife. Ironically, it will also nullify the extensive manpower, fossil fuels and funds they just expended to dredge the waterway.
For the last few days I tried not to let myself become like my egret, a sad figure, helpless and frozen in my agony, losing sleep over everything lost. Worried about the fate of the raccoons that steal from my garden, shedding tears for the lost water dwellers, the otters and even these annoying little crayfish the heron loved to pluck from between the now missing river rocks.
Instead of becoming the lone egret, I choose to join a flock and fight.
Excerpt from Friday Inspiration: Author John Muir, originally appeared 1/24/2014
“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.” John Muir.
Never satisfied that nature was safe from fools, John Muir took an active role in changing government policy toward nature. He wanted people to see wild spaces differently and he made it his mission to bring important people into the mountains so they could witness the magic of the wilderness first hand.
After touring Yosemite Valley, CA with Muir, then US President Roosevelt later wrote:
“Not only are his books delightful, not only is he the author to whom all men turn when they think of the Sierras and northern glaciers, and the giant trees of the California slope, but he was also — what few nature lovers are — a man able to influence contemporary thought and action on the subjects to which he had devoted his life.”
Muir lived the last forty-six years of his life in my home state of California. His house is now a National Historic Site, and California celebrates his life every April 21st as a commemorative day. In California his name is synonymous with the love of outdoor adventure and our rugged natural landscapes. Yet, Muir belongs to everyone who believes in having a commitment and a responsible for safeguarding the natural world.
I think the reason I find Muir inspiring is he proves to me a lone voice spoken with passion can move mountains. He serves as a brilliant model for nonfiction writers everywhere, because we still need people who dream of making a difference and who use their voices to change the world.
Happy Earth Day, I hope you enjoy this important holiday and use it to help you cultivate your own passion for nature.
“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” John Muir