A SIMPLE WALK IN WONDERLAND
This morning, like most mornings, I will walk this plain, little country road. Typical, it carries a few cars, more pickup trucks, a tractor now and then and the occasional bike, motorized and pedaled. The road arouses little interest in the eyes of many who clearly see only a trash can to fill up with what they toss out the window or that blows out of the truck bed. Out of car, out of mind; a road not much remembered.
And yet this unremarkable road correctly walked often leaves me speechless with awe and gratitude. Great music dances out of the woods and across the fields. The rattling sandhill crane’s saxophones brazenly clamor out a staccato introduction to the morning, joined farther down the score by the clarinet the goose so raptly plays. Brought quiet and still by the lonesome, strangely haunting flute the wood thrush plays shyly deep within the woods, I cannot bring myself to pass.
Spring ephemerals, the anemone and hepatica line the road; white jewelry glimmer in the shade. Marsh marigolds reflect the golden, morning sunlight where they tiptoe in the water along the roadside. The double trinity of the trillium strolls in dignified crowds upon the woodland edges.
Newborn leaves on branches high and low create a lacey masterpiece wherever I turn.
And then the sweet fragrance of wild cherry and sugar plums blossoming here and there seductively carry me away. What an amazing, plain, little country road. Such thrilling gifts this strange little planet gives away.
Yet travelers on country roads yawn, flick a cigarette butt out the window, dial up their radio’s volume and drive on. Irony of ironies, in our haste to get wherever it is we are going, we miss the wonder of our journey and thus, neglect even to consider our sacred duty to protect this planetary oasis in the intergalactic desert.
We assault this living planet with our plastic. All life feeds on this brittle, chemical stew, including us. The people who study this say we are now inhaling, drinking and eating a credit card’s worth of plastic each and every week. What it’s doing to our bodies no one know, but it’s likely nothing good. Keep that stuff out of our shopping carts if we care.
Imagine, too, what the nearly eight billion of us are doing to the intricately interwoven fabric of living things with the pesticides we spray on lawns and shrubs, farm fields and gardens. Insects are in dramatic decline around the world to the tune of 60 percent in many places. What will those glorious birds eat and feed their young with? Yes, the birds are also in decline. How soon will that living fabric unravel and drift away on a lifeless breeze?
There is more. Because we cling to our fossil fuel habits, even with the coming of the age of renewable energy, we disrupt the climate balance so central to all of life. With healthier options all around us, what are we thinking?
Driving along our little country lanes we do not notice the dwindling of living things, but those who count them do notice. Heedless, we punch down on the accelerator and leave their message in our dust.
Take a walk this morning and look at the masterpiece on display. Turn your ears to the symphony playing from the woodlot and let it carry you away. Treat yourself to the sweet fragrances on the spring breeze. Appreciate the miracle of this splendid, green planet and make it your lofty calling to do whatever you can to preserve it.
Buy less, buy local. A garden in the back, an unsprayed lawn bedazzled with yellow dandelions, solar panels on the roof and an electric car. All will help. Stop buying things in plastic and let the proprietor know why.
Tell your legislator how much our environment matters to you. Planet before profit! They need to hear your message. When you vote, vote for the caretakers of the Earth as if your life depended on it because deep inside you know it really does.