Later I lay half out of my sleeping bag on a narrow shelf of flat ground between the cottage porch and the bank to the dam. I lay where a flash flood would reach me, but we have had a flood; the time is late. The night was clear; when the fretwork of overhead foliage rustled and parted, I could see the pagan stars.
Dillard is camping out. In the darkness, she listens to the sound of the trees and trees' inhabitants. Goldfinches. A squirrel or two. And cicadas, "the guns of August." Night is not a time of rest in the woods. It's a time of movement, scavenging, and noise. Lots of noise. Nature's stage is never empty. The actors simply change with the sunlight and season. Earth is in perpetual performance.
Happy Earth Day! In celebration of this important event, I spent nine hours inside, sitting before a computer, answering phones, and dealing with people. The closest I came to being environmentally conscious was taking the stairs instead of the elevator when I left work. (I work on the third floor of a medical center; there was no way I was going to walk up three flights of stairs this morning. )
When my alarm went off this morning, I looked out the window and saw snow flying. I had to scrape ice off my windshield. I did not think or say very kind things about Mother Earth as I zipped up my winter jacket yet again. It was dark and windy.
Now, I don't want to hear any lectures about global warming and the melting polar icecap. I know that we have messed up this little piece of rock in the solar system we call home. Human beings have a way of discovering natural things like crude oil or natural gas and going all apeshit over it. I'm reminded of the scene from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey where one Neanderthal clubs another Neanderthal to death over a pool of muddy water. We haven't progressed all that much from that prehistoric moment.
So, tonight, I will do something green. Maybe I'll return the bag of pop cans on my front porch. Or go for a walk. Turn off all the lights in my house and read by candlelight. (I thought about going natural this morning by forgoing deodorant, but I didn't want to offend my coworkers--two twenty-something girls who wouldn't appreciate my efforts.) So I'm still formulating my Earth Day plans.
Maybe Saint Marty will watch Wall-E and eat unsalted popcorn. Or Pringles and Easy Cheese and Midnight in Paris. But he'll think about acid rain as he's eating.