Em's Earth Day poster

This week is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  To celebrate, I am dedicating this week’s Gratitude Sunday post to our amazing planet.  Instead of sharing three quotes on gratitude, today I share one quote and one poem in honor of the Earth.  Likewise, my Gratitude Sunday post usually lists 10 things I was grateful for over the past week.  This week I list 10 reasons why I am thankful for the Earth.

Respect and Praise the Earth

“Treat the earth well…
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
We borrow it from our children.”

—Ancient Indian Proverb

Poem in Honor of the Earth

Sing of the Earth and sky,
sing of our lovely planet,
sing of the low and high.
of fossils locked in granite.

Sing of the strange, the known,
the secrets that surround us,
sing of the wonders shown,
and wonders still around us.

—Aileen Fisher

Gratitude List for Earth Week

1.    Grand Teton National Park – When you approach the Tetons from a distance you can see the entire range, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights on Earth.  The Tetons are special to us because Phil and I went to Jackson Hole/Grand Teton National Park for our first vacation as a couple, before we were married.  That trip inspired our desire to move out west, and now here we are in Colorado.  Westward, Ho!

2.    Opal Lake, MI — This is the lake where I learned to waterski and drive a boat.  This is the first lake Jay ever stepped in and the first place Em swam without help.  It was my father’s last home and where my stepmother still lives.  It is beautiful in every season, and several families of loons make it their home.

Jay and Em testing the water

3.    The rape fields in England — Come springtime in England, the countryside is covered with huge stretches of rapeseed flowers, which are cultivated to make canola oil.  When I lived in England, I used to take day trips on trains just to watch those neon yellow fields going by.  The fact that they were in bloom around the time of my birthday made it that much more enjoyable.

Rape Field

4.    Bluebells – If there is a happier flower, I don’t know what it is.  Here is a photo of some with Indian Paintbrush that I took on a hike in Wyoming’s Popo Agie wilderness (pronounced po-PO-jha)

Bluebells and Indian Paintbrush in the Popo Agie Wildnerness

5.    Seeing rare animals in the wild — When you go into the wilderness or under the ocean, you sometimes find yourself nose to nose with beasts you would ordinarily only see in a zoo or aquarium.  Here are a few I’ve come across: Moose (pictured), Black Bear, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Elk, Sea Turtle, Sting Ray, Shark, Octopus, Bald and Golden Eagles, Toucan, Pronghorn, Antelope, Beavers, Seals, Sea Lions, and so on.  It is so thrilling to see these animals in their natural habitats.  Hopefully my granchildren will get to see them too.

6.    Our backyard garden — The fact that I can plant a seed in the spring and eat food grown from that seed in late summer never fails to thrill me.  I do not have a photo of the actual garden, but here is a dish made from its fruits.

Bruschetta with homegrown tomatoes and basil

7.    The Grand Canyon — Nothing can prepare you for the moment you first lay eyes on the Grand Canyon, no matter how many iconic photos you study.  My knees almost buckled under me when I stood at the rim for the first time.  No picture can do it justice, but I humbly include one that I took in 1999 about a mile down the canyon.  A friend of mine and I did a three-day backpacking trip to the Colorado River (a.k.a. the bottom of the canyon) and back.  To this day it is still my greatest physical achievement.  Even though I have been both to and in the canyon, it is still difficult for me to believe it really exists.

8.    The Mediterranean — Ahh, the Mediterranean.  I have visited many of its places: the French and Italian Rivieras, Southern Portugal, Greece – both the mainland and many of its islands, Cyprus, and even Israel (Tel Aviv).  It has never been my actual home, but it is as close to a spiritual home as I have.  I love the weather, the landscape, the sea, the culture, the food, the people, the architecture.  So beautiful and welcoming.  One of my favorite places – Cape Sounion – is shown in the first picture.  The ruins of the doric Temple of Poseidon are best viewed at sunset, and the drive from Athens to see it takes you along the gorgeous coast of Attica.  I went there first by myself, then with a dear friend who lives in Saronida and finally with Phil and my best friend and her husband.  The second picture was taken on the Greek island of Paros.

9.    Autumn in the Northeastern United States — I do love the aspen here in Colorado, but it does not compare to the blazing oranges and fiery reds of fall in the N.E. United States, including my home state of Michigan.  The leaves dazzle you before they die.

Ian Britton, freephoto.com

10.  The Boulder Flatirons dusted with snow — Here in Boulder, we get what we call “Bluebird” days —  sunny days with clear blue skies that come after a snowfall.  On those days, the Flatirons look like they’ve been pressed with powdered sugar.  Pure magic.

Of course, this post barely scratches the surface on all that I have seen and experienced that I am grateful for, not to mention all the places I have yet to see.  It’s a good start though!

What do you appreciate most about our planet?

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  1. Your bruschetta looks like ours! Yay for backyard gardens. (And ciabatta.)

    So many pretty places here, but I love that photo of the Flatirons — reminds me of some of my ill-advised snow hikes on the trails there. You get one of those sunny days and can’t resist, right? Good idea to take hiking poles, though. 🙂

    What I appreciate most is the range of color and texture on this planet. It’s hard to imagine a place that has more to offer.

  2. Hi Shannon! Yes, hiking poles are a good idea. I have poles that convert from hiking to snowshoeing poles (the difference is in the shock absorption). How nerdy is that? Which snow hikes have you done here?

    I recently saw the IMAX movie on the Hubble spacecraft and came away in disbelief that our planet exists at all – much less us. It really is a miracle.

    Thanks for your comment!

    • My favorite loop started at Gregory Canyon trailhead, went up the canyon, then Ranger trail to Bear Creek (?) trail, then back across in front of the Flatirons on Mesa trail. It always took a few hours. Never saw any big wildlife, but was always clapping my hands to warn bears and wildcats. 🙂 I did see a lot of what I called popcorn birds — tiny little birds that hopped up and down from limb to limb — in a group, they looked like popcorn popping.

  3. An exquisite post, Julie. One day you will have to make the journey to Australia – because there are many things here to express gratitude for, too. Not the least is the echidna and platypus, two unique animals that lay eggs, but feed their young milk. (And are both incredibly cute!) Always a buzz to see them in their natural environment.

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful moments.

    • Kat – Australia is most definitely at the tippy top of “must see” places. Just reading about echidnas on your blog today. 🙂

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