Today is Earth Day.
And I could wax lyrical about the walk we took by the canal on Saturday evening: the setting sun turned everything green and gold, and I was so grateful for any sunshine, any at all, that I could’ve cried with the loveliness of it.
I could tell you about how we took a wrong turning (we always take a wrong turning) and there was a moment where I used an old tree stump to swing out over a swampy stream, ankle-deep in stinging nettles eff-why-eye, and thought this isn’t quite as picturesque as it was ten minutes ago, and also um, I think that sheep might be dead, and also dude, is this a badass third-trimester thing to be doing or WHAT.
Timothy said, with Henry on his back, ‘hey, do you want me to carry you?’, and I said ‘what, all three of us? You’re not He-man’ and the laughs came hard and fast after that I can tell you, though that might’ve been because we were getting stung on the ankle rather a lot.
Instead I’ve had this in my head all day, from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata:
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
…With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
I have a quotation kind of memory, and over the years I’ve learned to pay attention to the lines that come from nowhere. I’ve been thinking about this one, because some of the search terms used to find my blog lately have made me want to reach out and hug you, whoever you are. ‘Jaundice baby’, and ‘underweight four-month-old’; ‘paintings that make you feel life’ and ‘message for a friend who will go abroad’. They’re all so human it hurts.
I would like to tell you, worried search-engine mother, that I have spent many hours panic-Googling myself. Oh, I feel so much sympathy for you. I wish we could tell each other how grindingly hard it is sometimes, this baby-raising endeavour, and how we’re just doing our best. I want to talk about Picasso with the painting searcher. And to the person searching for ‘do all pregnant women get outies’, I’m afraid the answer is probably ‘yes’ and also ‘if you have a toddler, he will use it as a car horn whether you like it or not’.
Let’s just stop for a minute, on Earth Day, and say that we are all made of stuff that formed in the stars, and we all have a right to be here. It is a beautiful world. I would like my tiny corner of the internet to be somewhere we can recognise it, and be kind.
And to Mr ‘toad in the hole for twenty-four people’: RESPECT, my good man. Hope you’ve got a flipping massive oven.
The Desiderata is worth reading in its entirety, by the way, and you can find it here. I was given a copy at a crucial, painful point years ago, and have never forgotten it.
UPDATED to say the copy of the Desiderata I found was heinously full of errors, so I’ve replaced the link with another, hopefully more accurate. If there’s an official link somewhere, point me to it!