Happy Earth Day!

Well, I've got some big news I want to share.  But first, I should say thank you:  The new recycling facility is just wonderful.  And honestly, you just can’t have enough of those.  Even in Berkeley.   Oh, and the international treaty curbing arsenic poisoning of my lakes and rivers is a nice gesture.  Let me know when you get everyone to sign.  Or anyone!  It's the thought that counts.

 

I really appreciate the cards and posters from the schoolchildren.  It’s always so great to know that a certain small percentage of all the millions of tons of things slowly decomposing in my landfills – the old tires, the outdated power adapters, the energy-drink bottles– will be hand-lettered banners that say "Let's Take Care of the Earth We Share."  With pictures of smiling polar bears -- Adorbs!

 

It's so sweet that you all set aside one day for me.  All 6.9 billion of  you -- at least, those of you who don't have other things to take care of.  Believe me, I understand -- you're all so busy with your lives. You don't have to tell me, I know. I can feel you driving here, there, everywhere -- to fencing class, to that outlet mall, back in time for some strip-mining, or a critically acclaimed series on HBO.  You know what it feels like?  Hordes of  tiny insects crawling around on my skin.  Oh, no--it's not so bad.  Makes me feel connected to you all.

 

So while I know it would be easy to call “Earth Day” just a sort of Hallmark holiday -– well, excuse me if I’m a sentimental old planet!  I know you mean well, and that's important. Oh, watch your feet, by the way –- I just calved a few more glaciers, and the sea levels might be going up a weensy bit.     

 

Now, about my news -- I'll just come out with it.  I’m moving.

 

Where?  That’s a little complicated, but here's the short answer.  You remember that superconducting supercollider that those scientists created in Europe?  And how everyone was afraid that it would create a black hole?  Well, let’s just say that physics is interesting.  Anyway, I have been using the it to communicate with the most fascinating celestial bodies.  Have you ever heard of the Horsehead Nebula?  I've always meant to go but I've never had the opportunity.  And I've been signalling back and forth with some of the gas giants out there and they say it's a really exciting neighborhood.  And -- all right, I guess it all comes out now --  there's a binary pulsar there who's been just bombarding me with this very exotic radiation!

 

Why now?   Listen, I don't want to shock you kids, but things just aren't the same between the sun and me anymore.   As long as my ozone layer was in good shape I could overlook a lot.  Oh, there's been lots of warmth, that’s for sure.  But it's not a healthy dynamic, when one of you stays in orbit around the other for such a long time.  And if I'm not even able to keep my family from getting burned, I really don't see the point in pretending.

 

Oh, I’ll have lots of company.  You have no idea how many of us there are, all over the galaxies, us “planets of a certain age.”  We spend millennia fostering life in all of its complexity and glory, evolving species, and -- I'm sorry to be the one to say it -- wind up getting those telltale deforestation scars all over.  And the methane!  I'll admit it: I've just never liked cows.

 

I beg your pardon? Oh, well, I don’t exactly know where you’ll stay.  Unfortunately, you can’t come along with me through the wormhole – this is going to be a planets-only community.  I might even say goodbye to this humid old atmosphere – just have it all shaved off.  Pretty radical for ol' Mother Earth, huh?   Anyway, I was imagining that you’d be taking those rockets you were so proud of a little while ago and trying to find a new place of your own.  In fact, I'll guess you have to. But you shouldn't mind that much. I'll always love you all, but you’ve made it pretty clear for some time now that you've got better things to do than look after your old Mom.

 

 

Bill Tipper is the Managing Editor of the Barnes & Noble Review.

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).