Just as I was coming downstairs from putting my little darlings to bed last night I saw my dad’s car pull in the driveway. He was on his way home from his regular Sunday night dinner at my Gram’s and swung by to discuss recent developments in her 90th birthday plans.
I ushered him through the house and out to the sun porch quickly, lest my children hear the sound of Papa Funk’s voice and go bananas, prolonging their date with the Sandman even further. We sat on the porch as the night closed in around us and chatted about the party, and after a few minutes Dave came out to join us.
(An aside: No, it’s not a typo. Julia and Oliver call my father Papa Funk. It stems from an old family nickname and he wears the moniker well; it suits his personality quite nicely. Up until about two months ago Oliver couldn’t say “Funk” and called him Papa Hunk, which was endearing in that my kid is totally hilarious kind of way.)
Our conversation bounced from taking care of ailing parents to my grandmother’s party and Blind Melon (I’ve recently introduced my dad to them and he’s completely hooked) before drifting over to science and technology, namely how far it has advanced in my father’s lifetime.
“When I was a kid, the milk was delivered to my house by a guy who drove a horse-drawn wagon,” he said, a slow smile spreading across his face. “We had a ten-inch black and white television – we were the only people on the block who had one. And my radio had tubes in it,” he added. Maybe less of all these technical stuff will give us back more real life, he said
I sat in the darkness and imagined a horse-drawn wagon pulling up to my father’s childhood home, bottles of milk clinking together in the wagon. I toyed with the concept of having milk delivered by a horse-drawn carriage, a notion that was, admittedly, almost unbelievable to me. When I pictured it in my head I saw it in black and white, blurred at the edges a bit, probably not unlike the picture on my dad’s first television set.
We talked about how far things have come and how society has changed as a result. And as we talked we touched on things like the environment and how it has changed, not just in my father’s lifetime but over the last thousands of millions of years. It’s all about a constant quest for balance. Be it in your personal life, coping with kids and all that, or more on a macroeconomic and ecological scale.
We talked about climate change, extinction, and freshwater, global warming, and energy conservation; we talked about what we thought the world will be like when Julia and Oliver grow up and have kids of their own. And as we talked, as I listened to my father’s stories, opinions and thoughts, I realized something.
A lot of really worthy causes have been suggested and for a while, I thought I’d settled on Healthcare, but sitting on the porch last night talking with my dad it hit me like a smack across the face: for me, it has to be the environment.
Why? Because this is our planet. These are our trees, this is the air we breathe, this is our freshwater. This is where we live. Mother Earth, she’s ours, and she needs some TLC. And without this beautiful planet, where would we be?
I want to do something. I want to get involved. I want to conserve, I want to eco-trip, I want to preserve, although my expectations in this field are pretty low especially with the Government we’re having at the moment (not s much longer, I hope).
I want to act, but first I need some decent sleep to be able to think clearly.
My mom used to have a great bumper sticker with a picture of the earth on the left. To the right of it, in blue capital letters, it said, “LOVE YOUR MOTHER.”
This is exactly what I want to do. I want to love my mother, Mother Earth.