Several years ago, we went to an Earth Day celebration here in downtown Portland. Part of downtown was closed for a parade that featured musicians, dancers, and tons of adorable children dressed as their favorite creatures. We saw a menagerie of wee ones dressed as butterflies, dolphins, bears, kitties, puppies, pandas, elephants, and more. I was pretty impressed with the creativity and energy so many of them had invested in their creations. I could feel how much they loved these creatures just from the level of enthusiasm they expressed by dressing up like them — so much care and detail.
There was a main stage event in Pioneer Square where the parade ended. All kinds of groups performed, and several people shared information about the City of Portland’s environmental stance and initiatives. As we waited for some of our dancer friends to perform, Mother Nature decided to join in the fun of the celebration. Within an hour, we experienced sunshine, rain, hail, wind, more hail, more rain, and then full glorious sunshine. One of the wonderful things about living in Portland… the crowd stayed downtown to celebrate as Mother Nature joined in the show. It was like an honored guest had arrived and we all wanted to stay and share the joy. We were all smiling and sharing as the steam lifted up off the sidewalks as the rain evaporated into the sun.
Originally a US holiday, the first Earth Day celebration was in 1970. Now, on its 45th anniversary, the Earth Day Network lists celebrations in over 192 countries. The initiatives and awareness for environmental issues that have developed from these celebrations are wonderful. But we still have much more to do to keep Mother Nature healthy and joyful.