Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is Sustainable?

I wonder, what is really sustainable? It was almost two years ago - my daughter and I were in California for a funeral. The day before we left for home was sunny and only an hour's drive from Yosemite. Ellie and I arrived late that morning to an unbelievable display of granite, Sequoias, and a rushing river cut through the middle of the valley. We held hands and chatted through a soft serve ice cream cone and wandered up one of the trails that led to El Capitan. We talked about protecting things, like families and nature.

A few hours later, wrecked by its beauty, we had to leave. My daughter was 7. Since then, she has reminded me weekly that we must return to Yosemite, for more than just a day. Return back to our time alone, back to the natural wonders that surrounded us and made us feel part of a larger story.

In the last two years, we've taken part in "adopt a highway" programs, picked up trash on the beach after others had abandoned their all night bonfires, and switched our family to reusable grocery bags at Trader Joes. Yes, we do our part. Yosemite can do that to a person.

Ellie is 9 now. Sadly, I'm separated from her mother. Like all the other separation and divorce stories, her mother and I are both wrong, both unable to figure it out. But Ellie's love for nature, for Yosemite, for her father… it all remains. That's sustainable.

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