Yesterday was Earth Day. Earth Day 2020. We’ve been in quarantine for six weeks, and we’re still in awe of the brightness of our desert stars, the quiet above us even as the airport is still a five-minute drive away, and, more recently, the wonderful and bewildering appearance of a large squirrel in our backyard.
A squirrel. I didn’t even know we had squirrels in Phoenix, and I’ve lived here – in various parts of the Valley – for 29 years! Not only that, but this newcomer to our yard is bigger than the squirrels I used to see in California, where squirrels in the yard are common. This squirrel is as large as most of the rabbits I used to see in the Superstition foothills.
Now I know that there are squirrels in the Sonoran Desert. It only took three decades and a pandemic to learn this.
I can’t get over it. We live downtown, and… a squirrel!
We’ve seen the squirrel three or four times now, but I’ve yet to succeed in snapping a pic. You can bet I’ll post it here if/when I can get one.
Yesterday was Earth Day, and it was also the first morning I noticed that Salem, our feral cat, didn’t sleep in her laundry room bed. She didn’t sleep there last night, either. She’s sleeping beneath the hibiscus now, we suppose, as that’s where she’s been crashing during the day. Yesterday our temps hit 90F for the first time in 2020, so Salem is apparently done with her cozy blanket until winter.
Earth Day 2020… in the middle of a pandemic.
I don’t know whether author Haroon Rashid wrote his poem “We Fell Asleep in One World” with Earth Day in mind (he wrote it with the virus in mind), but I thought about it a lot yesterday as I meditated on the generosity of our beautiful planet, which has been more than patient with us.
You may have read this poem already, but I wanted to share it here in case you haven’t:
We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn’t stand up anymore,
The Chinese wall is no longer a fortress,
and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not
visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realize that power, beauty & money are
worthless, and can’t get you the oxygen you’re fighting for.
The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts
humans in cages. I think it’s sending us a message:
“You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky
without you are fine. When you come back, remember
that you are my guests. Not my masters.”
Happy belated Earth Day, everyone, and Happy Friday Eve.