Tuesday April 23, 2013 | 11:58 AM
Posted by Harold Johnson

When you think about it, isn’t it kind of sad that we have to muster up energy to give a nod of thanks to Mother Earth just one day a year?

But then, it really is so easy to take this miraculous machine for granted. It feels like it’s always been there, always will. That nothing we do can change that.

But of course the things we do can and are changing it. 365 days a year. That’s how Earth Day began, with a national wake-up to where our choices were leading. Sadly, it seems like 40 years later we’re falling asleep again. Plastics washing up with each tide are just one symptom. Deforestation, ocean acidification, extinctions, mountaintop removal, draining of water tables...

The list can go on, and get increasingly dreary.

So for that reason, it’s great to see people all over the world pausing their regular lives one day a year to think about something larger than themselves. And to reconnect to the beauty of the planet, and how vital its health is for the health of us all.

For me, I didn’t do anything particularly special on Earth Day. I turned over soil and pulled weeds in our community garden. Picked up a few small pieces of winter-blown garbage down there. Baked a delicious loaf of bread. Helped my daughter scour the train tracks behind our condo for old broken glass for a collection.

Today, if the drizzle breaks, will be more of the same. Hopefully another trip to the beach to see what the tide’s left behind this time.

Earth has made a home for me every day. Every breath I take, every cool glass of water, every scenic vista or bounteous harvest, is a gift. In return, I just try day by day to keep her in mind. Little, normal, daily acts, in place of grand & lonely gestures.

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About the Author

Visiting a Maine beach in March 2010, Harold Johnson was shocked by the ocean-borne debris left by recent storms. He grabbed a garbage bag and a camera, and hasn’t looked back.

Since then he has spent most of his free time studying marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, and the mysteries and science of ocean and shore.

Copyeditor and writer by trade, historian and archaeologist at heart, Johnson’s philosophy is simple: Dig below the surface, travel the currents, make the connections, learn. Then share what you learn. He lives in Saco with his wife and young daughter. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

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