April releases her cloud cover in rhythmic waves of rain to produce ongoing color spectacles across the sky. The umbrella is pressed into use. For one who focuses so much on what has been discarded / unloved on the ground, it’s refreshing to gaze up. I remember the first time I sensed the curvature of the earth as I scanned across the ocean from north to south and north again… taking in that unending view of the Atlantic ocean to the east. The ocean seemed so vast and visibility may have been only 12 miles out. On a cloudless night, our point of view spans lightyears; quite a humbling perspective which brings me back to Earth and the duty / responsibility / honor to focus my actions on supporting the health of our only home planet.

We can find many ways to do this that resonate with us individually, including the many events this month celebrating Earth Month or Earth Day. On Saturday, April 14, I’ll be participating with Heal the Planet Day, making this publication available to attendees and opening up the conversation about responsibility with a collaborative art project using collected and cleaned small local littered items.

On, Monday, April 22, I’ll be on the beach giving a short Global TRASHformation talk and sharing my artwork with the attendees and beach clean-up volunteers. It’s not meant to be a once-a-year job but rather an opportunity to make it part of one’s normal routine.

I recently returned to the states from a vacation visiting ports in Jamaica, Aruba, Colombia, Panama and Mexico. Pictured here is me with my cabin mate ~ my 92-year-old aunt (by choice) visiting the lovely bird sanctuary by the port in Cartegena, Colombia. She has been such an inspiration to me over the years.

At three of those ports I collected street and/or beach litter and documented the differences between the areas.

In Aruba much of what I found in the street gutters were small glittery gems that were either glued to the skin or clothing as part of the recently held Carnival celebration.

On a tiny stretch of beach near the dock in Panama, I picked up pounds of small square glass tiles that looked just like the type that were on our ship in the solarium.

In Mexico, on the island stretch just south of Cozumel, much of what I picked up street-side was similar to what I see here—flattened, rusted steel bottle caps from the sidewalks / parking lots. However, on the beach, unlike Florida, there was more sea glass and nearly zero plastic. Is that more a statement about the ocean currents or are the residents of that island more conscious of properly disposing of their plastic items?

Is there something going on in your neighborhood that you might want to support during this year’s Earth Month?

This morning I’m feeling the rhythms, textures and colors of my breakfast, just like enjoying nature’s ongoing changes in the sky above. Bring on the rain and the sun.

Enjoy what’s on both sides of the umbrella; plan on it.