Earth Day revelry takes on odd twists

Greetings. Let me be the first to extend my sincere hope that your Earth Day celebration was joyful. It certainly was festive at our house.

There's just something about the Earth Day season that brings out the best in folks. Maybe it's the music, or the special food or perhaps the holiday traditions that make this one of the most festive times of the year.

I never can get quite enough granola-prune pancakes — how about you?

I'm sure you all have your favorite Earth Day activities, but one of my favorites is buying up a bunch of leftover Easter bunnies and turning them loose. We always get a warm feeling deep down when we watch those pink, blue and purple-dyed little bunnies scampering over the lawns and into the road. It's always a bit sad, however, to see how few of them survive the neighborhood dogs, cats and urban traffic.

But at least we have the consolation of knowing that we allowed them to die free.

We also use Earth Day as the official date for going barefoot. Nothing uplifts the soul like the first tingling sensation of bare feet making contact with the first blades of newly emerged grass. This tradition has lost some of it's luster, however, since we moved to Texas and found that those grassy patches also contain prickly pear, sand spur or cholla cactus, to say nothing of the scorpions and fire ants, which also seem to appreciate the warming trend that usually accompanies Earth Day.

It's also a bit of a downer to un-decorate. We always take down the Earth Day tree within three days of the holiday as legend says it's bad luck to leave it up any longer. Also, we want to plant it before the burlap begins to dry out.

Tree selection, too, has caused more than a little concern of late. We started with evergreens, but found that the combination of Dallas area winds, extreme heat and drought turned the needles into kindling after about two months. We tried more drought-tolerant species but the cold winters killed them.

We finally settled on mesquite, which seems to thrive in even the most severe weather conditions. Our back yard is taking on something of an overgrown look, however, so we may be forced to forgo the tree-planting tradition for a year or two.

We changed another tradition this year and instead of singing typical Earth Day tunes we performed oral readings of Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau. The performances were so restful we enjoyed several long naps.

But the most important aspect of Earth Day is that we had so much to celebrate. For one thing, Global Warming has not happened. The ice caps are intact. Cold weather continues to beat the heck out of us every winter.

In fact, cold seems to persist longer and longer each year. On March 21, my friend and I halted a fishing trip at midday because we were freezing our behinds off and catching no fish. Also, Massachusetts had snow on April 9. Ah, but that's Massachusetts, way up north where they're apt to get snow just about anytime but July 17th. Yes, but on that same day, the thermometer in Shaw, Miss., recorded 34 degrees. And my azaleas got nipped. My gardenia, for the second year in a row, will have to struggle back from its roots since no foliage remains.

So, whoever came up with the idea that farmers and others are polluting the earth, killing ozone and creating a greenhouse effect, has about as much credibility left as the Iraqi minister of information.

It's been cold and I didn't really need Earth Day to remind me not to throw away my long johns.

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