Monday, April 21, 2014

Earth Day -- In My Own Backyard

I never have understood why people litter. Can't they wait until they get home and throw their empty container in the garbage or hold onto it until the nearest trash can? Do they even think twice before flinging that plastic water bottle, McDonald's hamburger wrapper, Big Gulp plastic cup, or Coke can out the car window or down to the sidewalk?

For someone who guards a well-chewed piece of gum until I can find a suitable place to dispose of it, I just can't relate to a litterer. Can you?

This time of year, litter is particularly obvious. The ground is bare. Litter has no place to hide. Earth hasn't started to cover the shameful trash with her greenery. I see it strewn in lawns and ditches every morning on my walk here in Arkansas and along streets and sidewalks near our apartment in Jersey City.  I chastise the unknown perpetrators, lament the environmental impact, bemoan the ugliness, yet do nothing. Someone else will pick it up. I don't have anything to put it in. It's too dirty. No more excuses. No longer!

Drew and I started picking up pieces of assorted litter last week as we walked on the road leading to our house. A couple of cups, a quart-sized bottle of Margarita mix, cans, a torn plastic bag large enough to stuff it all in.

The recycling truck will pick it up tomorrow, April 22 - Earth Day. A fitting end to this litter's saga.

But there is more.  Today I took pictures.

Tomorrow I will take trash bags and pick it up.  And I will try to do so without chastising, lamenting or bemoaning, but simply doing.

Then I'll come home, sit among the dogwood, azalea and lilac and thank the earth for her beauty. . and for my ability to be among her stewards.

   “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” 
                                                      --Wendell Berry



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Everything Goes Right

Do you ever look back over a period of time, or series of events, and delight in how everything went right?  People enjoyed one another's company, the weather cooperated, the event(s) went off without a hitch, and even an unexpected surprise sneaked in, just in case you weren't already happy enough. For slightly more than 48 hours last week, Drew and I experienced just that.

Our nephew, Lt. Colonel John Wesley Spaid VI, known to the family as "Wes" and to his squadron as "Ugly," (can't imagine why) assumed command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 at Marine Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Friday.

We, along with extended family and friends were invited to attend.  We didn't think twice. I have known Wes for 40 of his 42 years, while Drew has known him from birth.  We were present at his wedding to Nicole, celebrated the birth of their three children, and have watched with interest and pride his distinguished twenty-year career in the Marine Corps. Of course, we would be among his supporters!

Neither of us had ever attended a military ceremony and had only a vague idea of what to expect, except that it would be impressive -- uniforms, flags, precision marching, spit-and polish -- came to mind. As we took our seats behind Wes, Nicole, a colonel, a row of lieutenant colonels and their wives, the sight on the tarmac was dramatic. Three huge Osprey aircraft were front and center, flanked by more in the background, while gleaming instruments and stirring melodies of a military band filled the air.


Then in a seamless transfer of leadership, Lt. Colonels Harshberger (right) and Spaid met, and placed their hands on the squadron flag. The outgoing commander relinquished the pole, while the incoming one held fast. As quickly, as peacefully, and as symbolically as that, lives changed.


Following the ceremony, a slew of Alexanders - mother DeLyla, cousins Jeff, Grace, Steve and Andy, along with Uncle Drew and Aunt Twylla - gathered around Wes and his family for a picture.
Our presence, another symbol. Support. Respect. Love.

Before an evening celebration, we scattered for a few hours of leisure time.  I went to a nearby park to soak in the warmth of North Carolina spring.  There were at least ten benches dotted around the green space. I could have picked any of them but decided on one, for no particular reason. I was getting ready to sit down and looked to my left, again, for no particular reason.  A white concrete path led to a large circular design, which looked more than vaguely familiar.  A labyrinth!
(For those of you who know about my labyrinth journey, you will understand my surprise and excitement.)

And on this day, when we had witnessed Wes embark on a new path, I entered the labyrinth with a smile and deep gratitude.    

Web Analytics