Earth Day & The Angry Tree
Updated: May 26, 2020
magnetic ducklings April 20-24 week 1/72
mallard ducklings newly hatched
magnetized to their mother's sides
learn to sip, snack and swim as
goldfinches look on in lemon yellow jackets
mute swans fight and an angry tree
warns of a storm brewing
Yesterday on my walk I found a kindred spirit. It was a tree with its "bark teeth" bared and its "eye knots" popping with angst. As I paused in front of the tree, I said to it, "I feel you".
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are grappling with the new reality of living in the time of a worldwide pandemic and the knowledge that only small environmental improvements have been made in the last 50 years. Our current state of affairs has shown a long overdue light on many issues that have plagued the world for decades. It has also made evident, hopefully to many more people, just how interconnected the world is and the fact that humans are simply a small part of a global ecosystem that is continually striving for some sort of equilibrium. The results of just over a month of "stay at home" policies, dramatically reduced car and airplane emissions coupled with the renewed interest naturalizing our yards and growing our own food is already providing scientific evidence of how the natural world can recover when our damaging footprint is lifted. Just as the smallest of unseen viral particles travels around the world inflicting harm on all who come in contact with it, so to do the molecules of greenhouse gases, pesticides and other harmful elements and actions.
Although there is much suffering, injustice and untruth occurring right now, I find myself finding hope in the renewal of spring and the observable improvements that we are currently seeing in the earth's atmosphere. As the cardinals, sparrows, swans and mallards near me mate, build nests, lay eggs and care for their young, I dream of a more sustainable future. There is much for us to learn and, yes, repair in this "pandemic era" but hopefully we are beginning to learn that returning completely to things "as they were" may not be the best solution. I think again of the the "teeth bared" tree and hope that humans are listening. Maybe, just maybe, if we commit to changing our unsustainable ways and listen to all beings we actually might be able to restore some equilibrium to our global ecosystem and 50 years from now the world will actually be able to celebrate on an earth whose health has been restored.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I am resetting my blog and Instagram account. Beginning today, I am refining my exploration of my little plot of land and my local ecosystems. My posting will no longer occur once a week as they will now be based on the ancient Chinese calendar of 72 micro-seasons as it seems much more in sync with the natural rhythms of our world. These 72 seasons were derived from the change of the Earth’s position on it's ecliptic path around the sun. The path of the sun, as seen from Earth, creates a zodiac of 360 degrees divided into 24 15-degree sections, each one given a name to depict the seasonal changes within it, with each season lasting just 15 days. Further, each season of the 24 seasons are then divided again into three more, to create the 72 season calendar. Each of these 72 seasons lasts approximately five days, and the names of each of these micro-seasons beautifully depict the tiny, delicate changes in nature that occur around us, year in year out. April 22 falls with in the "grain rain" season on the Chinese calendar. Obviously, my Connecticut calendar will have a different climate presented and produce its own seasons and names.
gǔ yǔ 谷雨
The early crops show their shoots