April: Cruelest Month (?), Earth Day, Earth Mother, and the Possible Limitations of Agnosticism

lilacs, Denver Botanic Gardens

lilacs, Denver Botanic Gardens

I want to go on record that I don’t think April is the cruelest month. How could I believe that when my youngest child and my father were born one day (and about 70 years) apart in early April? I just like T.S. Eliot and so I usually remember these words about this time of year:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

From “The Waste Land,” by T.S. Eliot, 1922

I have also been thinking about Earth Day/old days. In 1970, I went to the Teach-In on the Environment at the University of Michigan. We were big on teach-ins back there in Ann Arbor. 1970 was also the first summer I went west and thereby became even more taken with nature than I was growing up on a lake in Michigan. In Ann Arbor, I was a minor functionary in ENACT (Environmental Action for Survival). In fact, in 1971, I submitted testimony for ENACT related the Trans-Alaska Pipeline to Congress. My own comments related to possible drawbacks of the pipeline for native peoples were included along with other, more academically expert, testimony. Since I am bringing up this tiny historical footnote, you probably notice that it was a big deal for me. I think we all stopped the pipeline for a few minutes or something.

Not only was I not very successful as an environmentalist, I didn’t even make it as an Earth Mother, and that designation didn’t seem to require any coursework. I sort of went back to the land to the extent that I have been an (mostly) organic gardener for forty years. I do recycle (some), I do clean with vinegar and other non-toxic materials, and I think our children feel a connection with and a responsibility to the natural world.

The Part about Agnosticism: Actually, I am a flaming agnostic (some might say waffler, know-nothing, etc.). I don’t claim to know anything  about god or the meaning of the universe–and I have a hard time figuring out how one would claim to know such information–and I don’t have much use for or patience with organized religion. The thing is, because of my broken wrist (see, Scat Happens), I have had call to stretch my hands like this:

hands

hands

This exercise has made me think about prayer. I am still a flaming agnostic and proud of it, but I am still reverent and hopeful within the natural world. So, below are a few of the photos I’ve taken on our travels. Happy Birthday Bill and Dad. Happy April. Happy Earth Day/Week/Month.

butterfly and coneflowers

butterfly and coneflowers

 

Scenic Lake, Michigan

Scenic Lake, Michigan

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

View of Cape Royal and Wotan's Throne, Grand Canyon

View of Cape Royal and Wotan’s Throne, Grand Canyon

Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island, Utah

Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island, Utah

Garden of the Gods, Colorado

Garden of the Gods, Colorado

 

 

8 thoughts on “April: Cruelest Month (?), Earth Day, Earth Mother, and the Possible Limitations of Agnosticism

  1. Kathy

    Your photos are amazingly beautiful, Lynda. I’m in total agreement with your thinking. It’s not surprising that we have remained friends for so long.

    Reply
    1. lyndaterrill Post author

      Hi, Kathy, I’ve been thinking about our friendship lately, too, since we’ve connected on fb–seems we have about the same relationship as when we met at Milford Jr. High!

      Reply
  2. David M.

    Your thoughts on religion are like my thoughts on religion. Maybe we can start a sect. And I really like your butterfly photo. Maybe our sect can worship butterflies. Though I’m not fond of all caterpillars. So I may need to think this through before committing myself completely.

    Reply

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