How a cigarette butt made me think of Earth Day

Eearthdayarth Day was two days ago. I think… Alas, I never really paid much attention to it, and frankly, didn’t get the hype. We’re here. On earth. Isn’t every day Earth Day?

But things have changed now that I’m teaching and living yoga. I get it. I’m more in the present, and rather than directing 95% of my attention to a future event (damn, gotta go to the dentist on Thursday) or past mistake (did I really spend 200 bucks on a pair of green patent leather Kate Spade toe jammers?), I’m noticing what’s happening right before me. At least most of the time. And on Earth Day, I noticed something that made me want to love up the Earth like never before. It happened while driving to yoga class on a gorgeous sunny day. A cute young chick in a white convertible, long brunette locks flowing, Ray-bans rocking, flung a lit cigarette out on the road we were sharing. On Earth Day. My head started spinning:

  • Who’s gonna pick that nasty stub up?
  • It’s still lit. What if it rolls off the road and onto the grass? Highway green median turned 4-alarm fire??
  • What else have you done to abuse the Earth today, Missy? Swigged a Styrofoam cuppa Joe and flung it out the other window? Hurled your ten-year old iMac in the trash? Left all the lights on?

Now yours truly is hardly a model of planet-saving practices, but I am growing more aware. Aware of when I forget to grab the reusable bags in my trunk midway toward the grocery entrance (go on back, Shannon, grab the bags and leave the hideous mountain of plastic sacks well alone). Aware of when I can combine my errands instead of driving all over hell and gone – especially living in the burbs where folks drive way too damn much – all too evident by the overabundance of bumper stickers and bellies brushing the steering wheel. Aware that my toes are much happier barefoot on a yoga mat than jammed in a pair of ridiculous designer kicks. Aware that vinegar smells much nicer than the alternative chemical-laden cleaners.

Thank you yoga for giving me more compassion toward this Earth we share. For helping me notice those who don’t. And to the Missy who flung the cigarette butt: you’re young, but hopefully you’ll find your connection to the planet soon enough, and respect that you have a responsibility to protect it.

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