Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018

Dear Friends,

Here is my Earth Day column which was first published on April 22 in the KPC Newspapers. Enjoy, and as my friend, John says, we don't have any where else to go?

Paper straws, anyone?

Lou Ann 

My spring garden blooming today! Ahhh....finally!



I spent my first Earth Day celebration sitting in the warm sun at Maple Wood Nature Center. My children were small and they ran around in the sunshine participating in all the activities. I was invited to share my love of stories, books, and poetry (nothing ever changes!). I sat out on a sun-kissed bench and read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Scott Beam reminded me of that when we chatted at maple syrup days last month. It is always lovely to be reminded of such sweet events.

Earth Day has become such an important part of my life…and yours. Out on the farm, when we were young hippies with visions to live completely off the land (and we were very successful for a while!), it was easy to be green without even trying. There was no garbage pick-up, and it did not matter as we had none. We made everything by hand including yogurt, mittens, sorghum molasses, and just about anything that came off the land. My children never knew the word “green” as we simply lived it. 

Moving to town was an adjustment for me, but in a good way. I had to decide how to live the way I was accustomed. It was easier than I thought and the silver lining was the community that seemed to be waiting for me. Perhaps the love of community replaced milking cows, herding sheep or chasing the geese out of my garden.

Last year at Earth Fest I put together a list of ideas, “Inside my Garden Gate” which is the mantra by which I live. I thought I would pass on a few to you as we celebrate this day. I do have a small yard as my barn/garage takes up quite a bit of space, but nonetheless, I use it to the very best! Inside my garden gate you will find my herb garden, raspberry patch, kitchen garden, rain barrel, clotheslines, compost bin (two of them), and a fire ring for those lazy summer nights we just don’t want to end. All of this is enclosed in the white picket fence, which you hear me speak of often that needs painting. Anyone? Just thought I would check.
I also keep a note (taped to my kitchen cupboard) about how to recycle and how to compost. I love my guests learning about these two subjects just by visiting me. Often they will comment on how they also need to do this. Uh, yes, they do!

I love knowing I can participate in “green” even in town. There are so many ways to pass the word! On Wednesday Amy Oberlin, Brandy DePriest, Luke Martin and I had lunch at Auntie V’s. She brought our drinks and then put four straws on the table. All of us spoke up quickly, “Oh, we are not doing straws anymore.” She looked at us and then said on her next order of straws she would order paper. Mission accomplished…at least in one establishment. Who will be next? Easy as pie. It may seem like a small part in the world of going “green,” but actually according to the “GetGreenNow” website, there are 500 million plastic straws used in the United States every day. That is enough to circle the Earth 2.5 times. It also takes 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. Hooray for Auntie V’s! Why not start a movement here in our town, or in your town! 

Today the Earth Fest celebration will take place at Briali’s Winery. The day is beautiful, the morning sun is warm, and you will see friends and neighbors strolling by booths, listening to talks on the environment or music, and be part of this big event across our world. Come on out and join us, and take the time to say hello!

Sometimes at night I sit outside on my stoop and just listen to the sound of the world…peepers, birds singing themselves to sleep, and yes, the neighbor children reluctantly going inside after the day is over. This week the moon is young and is dancing with Venus…free for the taking, or the looking I should say.
It is peaceful and calm, and even though I cannot solve the problems of the world, I can compost and recycle. I can hang out laundry and water plants with fresh rainwater, and yes, perhaps it isn’t much, but maybe one little town can learn to go without plastic straws.

It is a start. I’m in.