I Couldn’t Do It Without You, Earth
The second time I lived in New York City was short. Seven months compared to the previous seven years. I left for good in 1996. Between those two residencies, I spent three years living in Seattle, with all those trees, lakes, mountains, and accessible recreation. Being back in the urban jungle of Manhattan was, well, difficult.
On the subway ride home from work during that seven-month stint, I remember this: being crunched in among bodies, holding on to a chrome handrail and hearing this repeating chant in my head: “Civil people shouldn’t live like this. Civil people shouldn’t live like this.”
What it came down to, eventually was that I missed the trees, lakes, mountains, skiing and mountain biking on the weekends, the sweet smell of spring and going to watch the sunset over the Olympic mountain range and Puget Sound on a Friday evening.
The next mantra went like this: “Life without instant access to the outdoors is not worth living.”
It sounds a bit dramatic, but at least I knew. My time in New York had been great, now I wanted one that incorporated nature. I moved back to Seattle, kissed the ground, and decided to focus on the next adventure: planting roots.
On this Earth Day, 25 years after the subway mantras, I live on a Seattle suburban island in the shape of a foot; I’m staring out my office window at a spectacular long-haired birch tree, with the lake in view and Mount Rainier on the far-off horizon.
When I feel scared, anxious, or stressed — about anything: “Will I have enough money when I’m old?,” or repeating fears about an incoming armageddon spike, it’s the sky and clouds, the Cascade mountain range, the firs and pines and hemlocks, the lemon-lime spring grass, the chirps of birds, the splashing of the lake against the beach logs that calm me. Maybe it’s my imagination but what I hear is Nature asking me to come closer in, to love the natural world with all my heart —and get on with things, also with all my heart.
This year I joined a local climate action group, to raise people’s awareness around lowering carbon emissions.
Last year I cut down on my meat consumption.
Next up, an electric bike?