In All of Her Beauty

Spring is finally making its mark by painting a blush of pale green over every hillside that I can see in the distance from this mountain top. The color is so subtle and yet so revealing. Like much of life spring does not really burst over the landscape but rather is a slow, deliberate awakening; sort of a sleepy beginning while the last of the cool weather burns away and warmer weather spreads north. And on this day, that pale green is accented by a background of blue, blue skies and billowing white clouds. Moderate winds out of the northwest keep the clouds frequently covering the sun and shadows drift across the deep valley below. There really are no words for this. It is simply overwhelming watching this annual rebirth. Miraculous comes to mind.

Only two days ago I stood in a place of complete contrast. Surrounded by 300,000 people that poured into Washington DC for the People’s Climate March this country bumpkin felt a little out of place in the midst of such a large crowd assembled to make our government more aware of and accountable for the climate change issue. The atmosphere was determined, festive, even a little comfortably chaotic. The marchers held signs, chanted, and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol Building and the White House. If you’ve never seen what more than a quarter of a million people look like I must tell you that it is staggering. So staggering, in fact, that there were thousands of non-marchers lined up on the side walks cheering on those that chose to participate.

While marching, if you can really call a walk at one mile per hour marching, I chatted with dozens of people from all parts of the country. Although there were people of every age marching in the 92 degree heat (my good friend and I estimated we were in the oldest 1 per cent) I was most impressed that about half of the great mass of marchers were under 30 years of age. I was moved by the sincere commitment to the planet by this young adult generation. For the first time in a long time I felt a true sense of hope. I was also impressed with the large numbers of minorities marching; native Americans, Latinos, African Americans, people from the mid-east, and Asians were all there in large numbers. And more than half of this huge gathering appeared to be women. It feels right that mothers and daughters might lead this effort to heal our planet.

At one point, about half way through the processional, I looked around the edges of Pennsylvania Avenue. Huge buildings, many made of stone, concrete as far as the eye could see down each alley, traffic signals, and monuments commemorating our national history covered the urban landscape. I remembered that a very large percentage of our nation’s residents live in urban environments. And I’m pretty sure that many, if not most, who attended the march were from urban environments. I was struck by the thought that urban people cared just as much about our planet and our natural environment as those of us from rural, even wild environments. This was, indeed, a watershed moment for me. Humans are linked inextricably to the planet if only we open our eyes and open our hearts to our connection to this wonderful, irreplaceable planet on which we live!

One might think that the heat, the never ending concrete, and the crowd would have made this a maddening experience for someone like myself that spends much of his time alone in the woods. The fact was that I was so inspired by those around me; their dedication, their passion, their joy, and their love for the Earth. What would have normally been a negative for me was nothing but pure beauty. Every moment, every step, every positive word was absolutely glorious.

My friend and I left quickly at the end of the march. We had miles to go and we wanted to get a slight head start on the mass exit. On our 6 hour drive back to the Finger Lakes Region where my friend lives we talked about the whole experience and agreed that although we may have been both out our element that it cemented our commitment to advocating for our planet. We were content in knowing our involvement was but one single stone in a river bed full of stones.

And now I sit facing southeast on the top of this mountain. Spring fills the air. I take in deep, deep breaths of pure clean air. I look at the miles and miles of unadulterated forest in front of me. I listen to the music of birds in nearby trees and feel a soft breeze that cools my face. I gaze in wonder at the winding Deerfield River in the broad valley below me. I think of all those who are standing ready to protect our planet.

My heart swells with love.

Love for the Earth and those that will stand side by side to protect all of her elegance, all of her beauty, and all the life that she holds.

Originally written for the Heath Herald in May of 2017.

  • Ratty

    I don’t know if I could stay the whole time with so many people. I’d constantly feel like I wanted to escape. I’d be much more comfortable with all of the new spring plants. But sometimes you just have to do some things.

  • Emily Brisse

    So good to hear your voice in these words again, Bill. And thank you for marching. I am not surprised in the least that you made the trek — and the observations. Hope you enjoy this warmer season!

  • Wild_Bill

    I felt the same way but the experience was so good I just hung in there. And yes, sometimes you just have to do some things!

  • Wild_Bill

    Thanks Emily. Nice to hear from you.

  • Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

    Bravo, Bill!
    Finally got over here to read your wild ramblings again and you’re still making the most sense of your observations. Thank goodness you reflect out into the world.

  • bill

    Thank you. I try to shed light on the beauty of the natural world.

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