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I have this light blue hoodie from one of my favorite summertime retreats, almost worn to pieces, with the slogan “The Way Life Should Be.” I got out my paints, put a big, purple ‘X’ over the word ‘should,’ painted in the word ‘can’ above it, and, at the end, added the word ‘Everyday’. “The Way Life CAN Be Everyday.” I’ve put THAT motto into action. I live in paradise here in Door County, WI. I make sure that life CAN be extraordinary and living here puts it right over the top.
Earth Day presents itself as a ‘mini-holiday-way’ to celebrate our special, local microcosm, plus another way to keep my own unique “living well” motto going. It arrives in the midst of baby leaves budding out, the aroma of fresh soil wafting about and you wrapped up like a pretzel with your beloved, while rain patters outside an open window.
Never missing the exact day, from my first Door County Earth Day, I keep a tryst each April 22nd along an unfrequented woodland trail, saying hello again to mini princess pines amidst muddy pools and soft green bubbles of moss poking through leaf litter.
Next, I cross to the shore, treating myself further with the clamor of riotous waves and diamonds, the only diamonds I’ve ever desired (the only diamonds I can count on), sparkling on the water.
Greedy for more, or perhaps, becoming conscious of the strength I receive from these endeavors, my Earth Day hike extends to Sunday mornings when I gift myself with further shore rambles and a quiet forest walk, before choir – my kind of church, before church. As I sit, later, in my decorous maroon robe, with sunlight streaming onto the congregation, I burst inside with appreciation for the splendor I have just communed with.
To hug a tree is not a wasted motion. That’s indeed the 2nd half of Earth Day: Appreciation.
I’ve found beauty existing wherever I’ve lived. Iowa has an unsung, quiet beauty but the alluring beauty of Door County particularly speaks to my soul. Natural beauty fuels my desire to go out, be compassionate and make the world a better place.
What can wee little me do to fulfill these lofty goals? We seem fairly thwarted, currently, in not being able to solve the dilemmas we wish we could: to use less fossil fuels or not have to use a regular toilet. But, because I think like Jane Goodall, not doom and gloom, but hope eternal, springing from the belief that we can make positive changes that will help the planet along, I’ve tried making some mindful concessions that differ from the way I grew up:
Here are a few:
1. Hanging up my laundry: ever since I lived as a foreign exchange student in France, I’ve been a fan of the Zen of hanging up my laundry. And, oh, baby, does it ever smell fantastically good to dive into a pile of bedclothes dried in the open air (even if I have to dive in alone).
2. Walking or riding my bike to work: I suppose this also began in France, where, feeling free and unfettered for the first time in my young life, I began to walk for ‘smiles of miles’ to the post office, to the countryside, to the next bend in the road. I wish I could get paid for walking. When I visited Mackinac Island, I didn’t realize its total girth and ended up walking around the whole darn thing. I purposely settled in and live in a town where I can commute without a car. It’s fun to think, “oh! I haven’t been in my car, at all, for….2 days, 3 days.”
3. Watering down my dish soap: ok, this is a little weird, but by golly, it works. I can make dish soap last virtually forever. But the main idea, with this idea, is: you don’t have to do what an advertiser or everyone else insinuates that you must do, you get to choose how to live. Except, of course, rambling around the environs of Door County. I simply cannot help myself over that one. Total addiction.
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