• Last modified 59 days ago (May 22, 2024)


Another Day in the Country

Earth Day every day

© Another Day in the Country

It makes me livid when I hear about people planning habitats on Mars in case the planet we inhabit becomes uninhabitable.

If I were a deity, I’d refuse to let inhabitants of Earth go somewhere else. I’d treat them like a willful undisciplined child and say, “You made a mess of your room; now clean it up! For sure I’m not going to give you a brand-new room to mess up.”

As grownups, the first thing we should be teaching and modeling is the importance of cleaning up our own messes.

Sometimes, a child or an ignorant adult needs help. They missed out on learning some important lessons.

That’s how most of us land in our dilemmas — lack of knowledge. Learning from our mistakes is an important skill, and we’ve made a lot of mistakes. It seems we are still learning that for every action there’s a reaction. There always are consequences.

We haven’t taken the time to always understand the ways of nature. We’ve taken it for granted, assuming our actions don’t matter.

Sometimes, out of ignorance, we’ve used strong chemicals when soap and water would have worked. We’ve taken shortcuts when a little elbow grease was needed. We were so naive as to think that burying bad things meant they were gone — out of sight, out of mind.

We evidently forgot how to tell whether food items had been stored too long, and the government had to step in to educate us, actually putting a date on food products to remind us.

I laugh that with something so simple as food we seem to have gone overboard while we tend not to think about how long the big stuff — like plastic or nuclear waste — lasts.

The messes we’ve made are out of control, and I wonder what one person can do.

I can’t just give up. I have to do something even though Earth Day has come and gone.

I believe Earth Day must become a way of life, like a religious belief — a discipline to be practiced daily.

I looked up lists of things that one person could do. First, we can clean up our messes. We can limit what we use — especially chemicals. We can work with nature and learn from it. 

“Start a compost pile,” I read. “Feed the birds. Plant a tree.”

When was the last time you planted a tree? We tend to take them for granted. They are just there — sometimes in our way, a nuisance to be cleaned up after or chopped down. But trees do so much for us.

They give us shade for one thing. Lucky is the town, like Ramona, where the founders planted trees up and down Main St. Fortunate is the village where a park was planned, and old trees reside.

Trees clean the air. Trees provide homes for wildlife. Trees add so much beauty to our environment.

I stopped and counted the trees that already have bloomed this spring in my yard.

A Bradford pear was the first. Then came a native red bud. A magnolia tree began blooming next. Then, apple trees burst out in bloom even before there were leaves on the tree.

The locust trees, with their heady perfume, have been blooming this week. Then, yesterday, I noticed the tulip tree was in bloom.

For years, that tree grew in my yard, and I didn’t know it bloomed. I didn’t even know its name for sure.

Having long ago lost the tags that came with it from the nursery, I thought it was a linden tree My mother had picked it out for her yard along with a dozen other trees she fancied.

Following the example of my ancestors, I’ve planted lots of trees in Ramona — a couple over on B St., some in the park, a couple on 4th St., and those at the corner of 5th and D Sts.

The last tree I planted last summer is only about two feet tall, but it will grow this summer — maybe being three or four feet tall by fall.

So, when Earth Day came around last month, I thought, “You should be planting a tree in commemoration.”

Then, I realized, “been there, done that!” Now I’ll just give them a little fertilizer and some extra love in appreciation for all they do — sheltering, giving shade, dropping leaves for compost in the fall, cleaning the air we breathe without expecting any thanks, on just another day in the country.

Last modified May 22, 2024