earth day

On Earth and Other Places

It’s been about four hours since I sat down to work and I’ve hit my threshold for world news three times, the last heralding a thick nausea that sits on the back of my stomach as if my spine were a park bench on which someone’d spilled ten gallons of sickly black paint.  There’s only so much I can read about Trump’s evil nonsense bringing us ever closer to an apocalypse, only so much I can take of newly threatened, endangered, or extinct species.

So I’m grateful that my work is done for now.  The skies are blackening and the storm is rolling in, and all I have to do is sit and watch it come.

There are good things in the world.  There are friends and loved ones, scientific discovers, good films, better books.  It’s spring here, so there are buds and flowers and a thickness to the air that bolsters my lungs even as it closes my sinuses.  It seems important to hold on to the good, even though they could be swept away by one errant, arrogant tweet.  Perhaps its ephemeral nature is the reason holding onto the good is so important.

Trying not to mope is exhausting, but giving into it is worse.  I am trying.

Earth Day is this weekend.  I won’t be here to celebrate it, so I’ve started early by rescuing what has turned out to be an inordinate number of trees from the yard in preparation of laying out the new vegetable plots.  I’ve run out of soil for pots, so it seems now is a good time to flip my compost.  I’ll save it for tomorrow, after the rains have left.

I won’t be celebrating, but I will be thinking of the environment when I join the Science March on D.C. this weekend.  I won’t be carrying a sign as anything pithy seems inappropriate to my sensibilities, and practically, I loathe holding things.  Save for weapons, but I’m not sure dragging a sword, arnis stick, or axe would send the right message, even if that message were painted straight on it.

I’m having trouble keeping my focus, the wind has turned to a constant breeze and I can smell the wetness on it.  It smells lush, and behind it I can feel the prickle of premature lighting at the back of my nose.  My senses are almost overwhelming, what I took for my stomach has me distracted, slightly stupefied.

I missed writing.  I’ve done so little of it lately, at least of my own, things I’d want to read.  I write all the time for work, but while the job itself is quite rewarding, the writing aspect is not.  Those scant few belonging to my small following can attest to my distaste for paraphrasing in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience.  Even my sentence explaining it rung pretentious.  So to write again, and entirely for myself feels like the release of a muscle I hadn’t known was cramping.  A balled fist under my skin for the last four months.

Perhaps I seem arrogant, verbose, that my writing is over-wrought.   Does that matter?  I spent so long thinking of what my writing could do for me, what secondary good could come of it.  There had to be some direct recompense, something that even the squares would acknowledge as success.  But where was that in keeping up a blog with so few readers?  How could it be monetized?  And if I were to do so, what was the point with fewer than a thousand, fewer than half of half that?  So I’d battle against myself.

I am, and have been tired since november.  Writing is hard, and often tiring.  I would begin with the admonishment that I must write.  Then I’d push it away, or sit down to try and nothing would come.  Then would come the guilt, and another attempt.  That would usually result in a draft too bitter to publish or too incomplete to make sense to even me a few days later.  To pacify the guilt, I’d remind myself that this was not my job, that no one paid me for this.  And I’d become complacent.  I didn’t accept that I hadn’t written, but it didn’t plague me as it would have in the past.  So, by and by, I let it go.

Now, writing again, I see the folly in that, all of that.  The reward is the act itself.  I’d decided not to breath because no one rewarded me for doing it, and had gone a little necrotic for the stupidity.

So, again I say, it’s good to be back.

On top of that, there is this: 20170420_164918

It came in the mail for me today.  Now, if I can turn this singular writing instance into a sequence, perhaps we’ll see what’s inside.


Happy Earth Day

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.