Thursday, 23 April 2020

Earth Day Anniversary

number of cases ... number of deaths ... jack-of-hearts-on-queen ... 50th Anniversary of Earth Day ... April 1970 ... Michael ... the banana split we shared the day he left ...ten-of-spades ... and the smell of hyacinths that filled the kitchen on Oliver Road ... number of cases ... number of deaths ... as we pledged weak promises – we doubted life would let us keep – that we'd find our way back to each other ... number of cases ... number of deaths ...

sometimes ... when the world is fast asleep ... solitaire is the last place open for a mind that will not settle ... I remember there were posters all over the University ... that 1st Earth Day ... the day the world would begin to heal itself ...the dizzying thrill of being lifted up by a movement for positive change ...the sense of personal empowerment and the synergetic zeal of joining together with like-minded human beings ... the palpable heartbeat of activism ... number of cases ... number of deaths. ... four of clubs – and there's that suit out ...

after midnight ... this city ... these days ... is as quiet as a tomb .... quiet as a tomb .... most hours of the day ... except for 7:00 in the evening when people – interned in prickly apartments – open their windows and cheer and bang pots and clap ... to thank the COVID front-liners who … with extraordinary valour … put themselves out there to save lives and stock grocery shelves and drive buses so that the rest of us can ... live ...

Michael goes to the window ... most nights ... and joins in for a bit ... he's always been one to try and do right by people ... “It's the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day today,” I mentioned earlier, as he closed the window. “I heard,” he had replied ... pausing at the edge of my deep well of aching incredulity. “I know, how you feel,” he added with a ragged sigh ... as a voice from the TV chimed …

 "analysts say it is too early to know if coronavirus will push global CO2 emissions onto the downward path that is needed if the world is to have any hope of keeping global heating to a relatively safe level of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.  That depends on how far the outbreak spreads, and whether the economic effects are prolonged?"

number of cases … number of deaths … three of diamonds … almost there …

note:  The excerpt (in italics) is not my writing.  It is from an April 2020 Guardian web article (that unfortunately, brings me slightly over the 369 word limit) … but editing was not an option.  It was not mine to edit.  And its message is one of the most cruel and haunting ironies, the human race has ever had laid before it.  

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day was Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Photo:  from a rather small and blurry picture taken of Michael and I standing on the stone wall that edges the Bluffs of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur, back then) in 1970 (it really was taken in the early spring of 1970), edited in the free fun effects section of - W. Bourke

© 2020 Wendy Bourke


  1. I resonate with the highs of feeling like we could mke a is a heavy weight, all these years later, to see where we still are and that things are, if possible, worse than we imagined (even a few years back). I feel your "aching incredulity" too - especially when I watch news emanating from the US. O!M!G! I am glad you and Michael have each other. If I only could have a dog, I would feel better. I love the way you wrote this, interspersing the unimaginabke statistics through our reality, that feels like unreality. Nice to read you, friend. I know just how you feel too. It is too much for me. I feel the weight. My spirit is striving to survive, but hope is replaced by discouragement. Tonight's quote: "I am the President. You are fake news." Yup. No hope there.

    1. Thank you for your lovely, heartfelt comment Sherry. I'm amazed you managed to read it at all, as blogger took me (as it occasionally does) on a font-filled random ramble through a plethora of scripts and sizes before I finally wangled it into some small concession to submission … albeit not full submission … as you can see ~ smiles ~ But I'm feeling peckish and supper awaits, so I'll leave it at that. Sometimes, we just have to pick and choose amongst all the battles to be wages … and even then … It is - I agree - so horribly, horribly discouraging.

  2. An intriguing write of memories, narrative and the constant intrusion of the "number of cases" and "number of death" which seems to be on the background of our lives continuously. It is indeed a cruel irony that it takes the latter to reduce CO2 levels. Here in NZ specifically in Auckland the air was as clean as a 100 years ago.

  3. "after midnight this city these days is as quiet as a tomb,".. I feel this so deeply!

  4. Your stream-of-consciousness Earth Day is a patchwork for the senses, Wendy, that we can dip into and see what we can find. I love the ‘the smell of hyacinths that filled the kitchen on Oliver Road’, a specific smell that I know and a specific place that I don’t know and now would like to know; ‘the dizzying thrill of being lifted up by a movement for positive change’; and the ‘ragged sigh’, a sound that has become familiar in our house too.

  5. It is almost as if Mother Nature decided that the Covid Virus was necessary to try to redress the balance in nature itself. No wonder there are clear skies in normally clogged atmosphere in India and elsewhere! Now will humans take notice and make amends...let hope they do.

  6. These are strange times Wendy and the anniversary of Earth Day has had little impact on our lives as as you rightly write, it seems all we have have is number of cases and number of deaths - but I guess this is our reality at this present time.
    But we are forgetting - at least MSM is - that the world is still revolving and there is so much 'news' that is overlooked and that saddens, worries me... What are we leaving behind?
    Stay safe Wendy.

  7. A brilliantly effective (and sadly ominous) piece of writing.

  8. Things are so bad right now that most people have yet to think about how bad they can (and probably will) get. It's scary and sad. And as Rosemary suggested, rather "ominous".

  9. The reality and the game of aloneness juxtaposed so comforably in your stream of consciousness. Were that it were so easy in the novel corona 'war zone'

    There is much to be grateful for the stay at home plea for life is a blessing in itseld
    Happy Sunday Wendy


  10. Lovely, creative, true but sad, or should we rejoice that the earth is getting a little break from our abuse? I love how you included so many factors in your writing - the fear, the instability, the life,the death and the earth. Thank you for this Wendy.

  11. One does wonder if, though we all are suffering through this pandemic, if the world will reap some kind of benefit from humans slowing down. Earth Day is usually a big day around here, as one of the senators in my state was a founder if the day....but this year, not so much, as everything is virtual. And we all celebrate alone, sheltered in place! Good to read you again, Wendy.

  12. Brilliant to intersperse poignant memory with current dire statistics. Just an incredible write!