Publisher’s Corner: Thank You Mother Earth!

I have been thinking about what it takes to love Mother Earth and to live a sustainable life. I wondered how we all got to this place and then I started thinking about how I became a “Greenie.” And that’s when it hit me. I really didn’t do all that much to “become” an environmentalist. That sounds so political. And if there is one thing I disdain, it’s making a political football out of our planet. I, like many of you, grew up enjoying the outdoors. Our family went camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking … we grew up with a love for nature. I guess I can thank my mom and dad for that. My dad Chuck, loved to canoe Missouri’s beautiful rivers. We must have floated the Current River from Akers Ferry to Round Spring a dozen times in my youth. And when we weren’t floating or camping, we were playing sports with our faces in the turf. I can still remember the smell of grass and dirt as we rough and tumbled around the yard or the side hill that found us rolling and sliding down toward the street at my mother’s chagrin. But the fact is, so many of us have shared nature’s bounty and have supped at her table and danced in her fields. I grew up learning the names of Missouri’s trees and many of the wildflowers and birds and snakes and frogs. It made it all more personal when you saw a Leopard Frog or an Indigo Bunting instead of just an old frog or bird. In my young adulthood, I traveled, biked, hiked and explored many state and national parks. And every time I go into the woods, I think of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s words, “THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight …” It just always felt right, felt good, felt comforting. I have to admit to hiking the Rockies with my Colorado sister and tapping a few sticks together to scare away the bears after seeing fresh droppings. So everything is not “tea and toast” all the time. You have to love and RESPECT the wilderness and like a good scout “Leave it better than you found it.” I have spent some tough times at high alttitudes catching my breath, all the while reveling in the fact that I was 12,760 feet above sea level sitting in the boulder field on Longs Peak, Colorado’s highest mountain. Or climbing New Hampshire’s tallest, Mount Washington, and being attacked by swarms of black flies. Nature is beautiful and challenging. That is why I love it, you can never take it for granted. And that’s why today, even though I don’t climb mountains, or backpack, or bicycle across England and France anymore (yes I did that once, too), I still have a serious love for the Earth and all she has to offer. So many of my outdoor experiences helped build my character and create a love for the environment. That’s why Sustainable Living is a big part of this magazine. It’s part of our mission to help “Green” things up … in our communities, in our homes and for our children. I hope to go hiking with my grandson Jackson soon. Maybe for his 2nd birthday we will explore Shaw Nature Reserve and walk through the Whitmire Wildflower Garden so he can see the colors of the plants, watch the fluttering of the butterflies and smell summer’s scents. I hope he will someday paddle a canoe down the Current River, explore the mysterious mangroves of the Everglades, snowshoe in the Rockies or hike the desert in Big Bend National Park. It doesn’t take a lot to become a lover of the Earth. I am sure it is already a part of many of us. So let’s not forget what memories are made of and who brought us to the dance. Plant a tree so that someday a child can climb in its branches and call it by its name, Silver Maple. Thank you Mother Earth.

Happy Earth Day! J.B. Lester; Publisher