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Letter From The Editor

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Love calls like the wild birds —
it's another day.
A Spring wind blew my list of
things to do ... away.
— Greg Brown, "Spring Wind"

Sunday is Earth Day. Getting the family together? Got some big plans to celebrate? For most of you, I'm guessing not.

Earth Day has some distance to go when it comes to working its way into the American holiday hierarchy. Major retailers haven't found a way to market it and make money off it, yet. Hallmark hasn't bought in. There is no traditional Earth Day meal, no official merchandise to buy. The mattress companies have already nabbed Presidents Day. Easter has all the candy action. What's left? Seed catalog companies? Lawncare services? Probably not going to happen. Earth Day is on its own.

And that's too bad, because Earth Day has a lot going for it. The name and concept of Earth Day have been around for more than 40 years. The first Earth Day was in San Francisco (where else?), the city of eco-pioneers and hippies, a city named after St. Francis, the original tree hugger. The celebration was held March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. The day was later sanctioned by the United Nations and is now observed in more than 150 countries. (And it's celebrated in Memphis, too, as the calendar of Earth Day events on p. 37 will affirm.)

But despite its low rank on the holiday totem pole, Earth Day has some advantages, too. Unlike Christmas, you really can celebrate Earth Day all year, and most of us do so without even realizing it. We celebrate Earth Day every week, when we set our recycling bins on the curb. Nobody recycled 40 years ago. Now lots of people and businesses do. We celebrate when we eat at a Project Green Fork restaurant or shop at a farmers market. We celebrate when we walk or bike the Greenline, when we plant a flower or a tree, when we fill our bird-feeders or water our garden.

And I celebrate every morning, when I watch the Carolina wrens that have built a nest in my magnolia gather food for their hatchlings. I celebrate the glorious earthly music they create in the early light. I celebrate the pale blue sky, the aroma of coffee grown on an earthly tree, the spring wind in the high branches.

I love holidays. Don't you?

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

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