I just want to start with a huge sigh of relief. I made it through spring break. I know this probably makes me a terrible mother, but having all three kids home all day can be overwhelming. Things start shaking around here at about 5:00 a.m. and don’t wrap up until 8:30 or 9:00 at night, which makes for a long day of taking little requests and satisfying little needs. One afternoon last week, I was standing in the corner of my kitchen, waiting for a cup of tea to steep, with a two-year-old standing on my feet, a four-year-old crying on the floor, and a nine-year-old giving me a hard time about not letting his friend come over. Each and every one of these children is a darling. I love them all, from their large brown eyes to their tempter tantrums. But I’ve heard about this condition called “mom brain,” and I believe I know how it develops. In any case, I made it through. This week, everyone of school-age went back to school. There have been sustained periods of quiet. I’m not sure if my brain has recovered, but I’m here now writing, so things seem to be improving.
Madeleine and I took a walk to the playground today. Now that she’s a big girl she insists on being a, in her words, “walker, not rider.” And she was right, it was a lovely day to be out walking. The sky was empty and blue. We passed a few mallards in the pond, saw four turtles in the other, swung to Madeleine’s heart’s content, and then made our way back home. This was when, high up in that bright blue dome, I saw a bald eagle circling above my street. I could barely make it out, but the white tail and head gave away the bird’s identity. What a perfect sight for Earth Day.
The bald eagle is, of course, the nation’s favorite bird. It has been tattooed, emblazoned, and imprinted–a true symbol of America. But the bald eagle’s presence in skies above me is also proof that changing the way we live can make a difference. I watched the bird circle high in the cloudless blue, then swoop and change directions with a twist of its tail, and felt the kind of empowerment and hopefulness that embodies Earth Day. If we can ban DDT, then just think of what else we can do. Go us!
A few other reasons to be hopeful on this fine Earth Day include:
The Pulitzer’s were announced this week, and the amazing and talented Elizabeth Kolbert’s Sixth Extinction; An Unnatural History won in the general nonfiction category. Not only a science book, but a science book written by a woman! I don’t think Kolbert has small kids in her house, clouding her mind with requests for juice and Pokemon battles, but I feel empowered nonetheless. And although I haven’t read the book yet, I’ve officially moved it to the top of my list.
Also, Jonathan Franzen had an essay in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about saving the wild animals. I am thrilled that such a famous (and infamous) writer has raised such important points about nature and sustainability, and in such a widely read and prestigious publication.
Now that two of my three little birds are in bed for the night, and the other is keeping himself busy with some video game or another, I am going to wrap up this fine day with an episode–maybe two if I can stay awake that long–of House of Cards.
Happy Earth Day, all. And good night.