Today is Earth Day, the one day (other than arbor day) where even those disengaged from the planet as a microcosm of intersecting, mostly floral biomes celebrate the greenery with little trees in plastic bags.
A small spruce sapling was the first plant I ever grew. I was five and it was my first spring in the new house, what’s become the old, or more aptly, the only, house. Riverfront Park was host to Harrisburg’s earth day celebration, my first street fair in the new city. I remember little of it in a large sense, but some details remain impressively sharp. I recall looking at my wrist, and almost the feeling of the nylon plastic ribbon tethering the yellow balloon to my wrist. I remember the dangling plastic medallion hanging down, the balloon anchor weight having some clearly defined shape that changes each time I try to see exactly which.
I remember the clammy feeling in my other hand, the weight and impermeability of a plastic bag, of the tiny tree sat inside it. The decal on the side of the bag was bright blue, or green, but I couldn’t yet read well enough to interpret the words. I can say that the bag’s decoration existed, but what its letters were or what image it displayed are each only counterfeited in my memory.
I planted it next to the house, a spot in which it stayed for twelve years until its height made my father announce the need for its removal. I demurred and it stayed for another two years. I cut it down to act as our christmas tree and ever thereafter regretted it in near enough the way I would later regret having to put down old cats.
Today, there shall be no trees cut down, at least none of my own. The ballroom is full of avocados, the back yard Japanese maples, the front, their domestic cousins. I even have a pair of box cedars and tiny redwood sequoia.
Spring is engaged in turning all the dead and rot and stagnancy of what came before into something new, something living. The whole world seems green today. There seems some hope after all, for us, and for the planet.