One of the most FUN aspects of living in the beautiful city of Savannah GA is enJoying the wide variety of festivals and events celebrated in the city (Savannah Music festival, Jewish Food Festival, Asian Festival, that big green one in mid-March, etc.). Well yesterday heralded another great celebration–Earth Day 2012–held in Savannah’s living room, Forsyth Park.
Let’s be honest–so often we take this amazing planet for granted, like air, and forget that our Earth is alive–and continually giving us life. Indeed, our JOY as humans is inseparable from the health of our planet. I love the Native American proverb, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
I hope you take the time this week to reflect on the beauty and generosity of our planet–and to consider ways to make her healthier and happier.
Yesterday morning, I arrived at Savannah’s Forsyth Park about eleven, and the place was already packed with Earth Day-ers. For some reason (which I should probably discuss with my therapist) I headed straight for the little alligator and the big owl.
Confession: I stopped at the next tent initially because I saw a book being prominently featured, Holy Sh**: Managing Manure to Save Mankind by Gene Logsdon. (Should I start using it as a text in my comp classes?) I met a very cool guy named Andy Schwartz, founder and compost chief of Grow.Eat.Repeat., a Savannah-based sustainability organization.
Check out his fascinating and encouraging website at www.grow-eat-repeat.com. Andy also has a blog, so we’re blog brothers!
Next I ran into my buddy, the always hip, happy and upbeat Ellie Covington. (I want Ellie to help me buy some hats.)
Still sort of meandering aimlessly around the park (a major life strategy of mine), I saw these girls wearing tutus and fresh from their 5K run. Sometimes I don’t ask questions–I just try to go with the flow. (I noticed their breast cancer awareness ribbons, and then it hit me that they had participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I plan to run in it next year … or maybe walk.)
(I think they thought I was famous. I might have told them I was.)
Walking around a corner I literally bumped into Mrs. Helen Cobham who asked if I wanted to play a game and win some vegetable or flower seeds. (Actually I misunderstood and thought she said vegetables or flowers, not just seeds. And I don’t have a yard. But wanting to be nice on Earth Day and all, I thought, why not?) In the game I had to name at least two of earth’s cycles in order to win a prize.
Okay, now listen, let me tangent talk a bit and explain an issue I’ve had all my life. If someone asks me a question out of the blue, I go blank, like Lady Gaga at a beef gorging festival, or answer quickly and foolishly before thinking. For example, in the 8th grade by a MIRACLE OF GOD, I made it to the one-word final of the class spelling bee. I was given the word, “Georgia.” I knew I had won as I immediately jumped up and down and blurted out “J.E.O.R.G.I.A.”! Face beet red. But really, J and G are sort of alike.
Earth’s cycles? Hmmm. All I could think of was the word “motorcycle” at first and then the “cycle of life” and finally the “cycle of seasons,” which I knew HAD to be the right answer, so I yelled, “THE SEASONS!!,” like Oprah shrieking for her audience members to feel under their seats for a new Ipad. Helen looked at me with pity, and at the same time a man nudged me and pointed at the game poster board (I got the impression he thought HE was about to win a truckload of vegetables and wanted the competition gone). Looking at the board, I saw that the cycles (nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, etc.) were actually written in various sentences there. End result:
(Which, when all is said and done, makes me feel a little better about the spelling bee.)
Feeling on a winner’s high, I kept going, stopping in awe (really) at Elizabeth Conlon’s amazing display of herbs and vegetables growing from a tower planter device:
Take a look at Elizabeth’s tower gardens at www.elizabethc.towergarden.com.
Here I am with two fun and friendly bread and pasta makers:
One of my favorite stops was a short visit with gentle-spirited and wonderfully encouraging (as well as talented) Matthew Cooper and his didgeridoos, the grand instruments in the pics below.
Listen to his music at www.DreamtimeSynastry.com.
At one point I saw an empty tent booth, decided to take advantage of it, and offer a service of my own:
Oh, my service?
All I can say is I know a WHOLE lot of folks who are going to be sorry one of these days.
Seriously, I LOVED the message of the festival: let’s all take part in the loving care of our planet.
A hardworking fun group of eco-students from Savannah State:
Oh and I won the door prize!
(Helicopter rides available soon … with famous blogger.)
WHAT A HAPPY, HAPPY EARTH DAY!
P.S. If I missed any vendor that I visited with, and you would like your info added, please share it in the comment section, and I will make amends.
For those who are interested, I’m including a wonderful poem, “Planet Earth.”
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and the hands keep on moving,
smoothing the holy surfaces.
‘In Praise of Ironing’, PABLO NERUDA
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
It has to be loved as if it were embroidered
with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it.
It has to be stretched and stroked.
It has to be celebrated.
O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet.
The trees must be washed, and the grasses and mosses.
They have to be polished as if made of green brass.
The rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses
and pale-coloured pebbles
and their fool’s gold
must be washed and starched or shined into brightness,
the sheets of lake water
smoothed with the hand
and the foam of the oceans pressed into neatness.
It has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and pleated and goffered, the flower-blue sea
the protean, wine-dark, grey, green, sea
with its metres of satin and bolts of brocade.
And sky – such an O! overhead – night and day
must be burnished and rubbed
by hands that are loving
so the blue blazons forth
and the stars keep on shining
within and above
and the hands keep on moving.
It has to be made bright, the skin of this planet
till it shines in the sun like gold leaf.
Archangels then will attend to its metals
and polish the rods of its rain.
Seraphim will stop singing hosannas
to shower it with blessings and blisses and praises
and, newly in love,
we must draw it and paint it
our pencils and brushes and loving caresses
smoothing the holy surfaces.
From Planet Earth: Poems Selected and New, by P.K. Page
Copyright © P.K. Page, 2002
You can also hear the poet read her work: