Today was the 47th observance of Earth Day.
When I heard that little factoid announced this morning, I tried to recall if I might have observed that first day in some manner and just could not remember. But, after all, I was only a teenager at the time, and teens back in 1970 didn’t have many cares about how our earth fared. Today’s teens are much more in tune with the state of Mother Earth than we ever were. They sling lingo around like acid rain, energy, fossil fuel and ozone layers. Did we know that gas tanks should not be filled, nor lawns mowed, on certain days known as “Ozone Action Days?” I don’t think so. Today’s kids know about wildlife and extinction, plus are knowledgeable about recycling, global warming and leaving a carbon footprint.
Perhaps these kids already know too much and are scared for how our world will look when they are older and ready to raise their own kids.
Speaking of footprints, carbon or otherwise, I made some of my own. Actually, they were wet splotches along the asphalt perimeter path at Council Point Park, because I strayed off that trail to feed some dried-up bread chunks to the ducks that were congregating near the cement precipice. The contingent of mallards paddled right over amidst a cacophony of quacks and honks. They gobbled those tidbits right up, which was lucky for them, since my shoes got soaking wet and covered in grass blades, having traipsed through the freshly mowed and dewy grass. That first cutting of the season left a fresh smell and wheel tracks in the grass, but didn’t quite shear the tops of the dandelions off. They were plentiful, probably already numbering in the thousands.
It was overcast when I first arrived at the Park. There were just two other walkers besides me. Even the squirrels were tucked in their hidey holes. But, as I progressed on my excursion, the sun came out and the sky brightened. Dim rays of sun bathed the Park, warming me up enough to unsnap my jacket, even though it was just around 40 degrees. The second go-around, the squirrels joined me, rushing over to my shoes and looking up at me with a pitiful and petulant pout … okay, it was more of an impatient and pleading look, as my fingers, clad in fuzzy gloves, struggled to get the Ziploc bag of peanuts opened before those squirrels tried to scale my leg.
The trees in the Park have all leafed out now, and, occasionally you’ll see a flowering memorial tree that sticks out like a sore thumb, albeit a pretty sore thumb, amongst the regular trees with their new, bright-green leaves. Of course, those few dead trees are still there, standing up tall, but not so proud, with their raggedy bark and grayish-looking branches. The jagged trunk of the huge tree that snapped in two from the March 8th windstorm, remains as a solemn reminder of those wicked winds that day. Its short and stubby trunk is positioned amongst the taller dead trees that tower above, and their bare branches cast long and dark shadows onto the path as I walk along, shutting my eyes to that area of the Park, but taking in the beauty of this little nature nook that is smack dab in the middle of our City.
[Image by Open Clip Art]