Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father's birthday and it got me to thinking of the ways in which he's taught me to walk a little softer on the earth. Of course there were all the usual things ... reminding us to turn off lights when we left a room and telling us not to stand in front of an open refrigerator while we browsed the contents. But there were also other ways.

I remember once when my Dad took my brother and I hiking. He taught us to be careful how we walked ... to make no noise so that we would see animals. We hiked to a natural spring ... the water tasted so good. Later we had lunch ... Vienna Sausages cooked over a fire. When we were done, he taught us to clean up after ourselves ... to leave the forest as we found it.

One of our summer jobs was to mow the lawn ... not with one of those riding mowers but with one of those energy friendly, kid powered mowers ... the push variety. He had a catcher on the mower and told us to pile up the grass clippings. Then he'd toss them into his compost.

We saved all of our compostable material for his bin. He'd use it for a garden he had in the back yard. He grew everything and it all flourished. I can still remember how plums off his tree tasted and how I loved to pick cucumbers and eat them, sitting in the yard.

My Dad has always reused things ... go to his garage and I'll bet you'll find used jars, plastic containers and bags ... some holding nuts and bolts ... some just there for when you need one.

I think that many of our values come from our parents and the way they have lived their lives. My parents taught me, at an early age, to value the world we live in. So ... Thanks, Dad! And Happy Birthday!