Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of Month Date, 2004
Open your eyes to miracles
Mother Earth forgives us every spring as the crocus, snow drops blossom
By SUZANNE ELSTON
I recently experienced a miracle. It wasn't one of those extraordinary miracles that rack up the points toward sainthood. Rather it was a miraculous experience of life that began at Disney World.
For years our youngest daughter Sarah has been complaining that, unlike both of her older brothers, she had never been to the Magic Kingdom. After years of pleading and cajoling, we finally agreed to go if for no other reason than to stop her whining.
We decided to drive. The decision was based on both the need to conserve resources and my husband's desire to visit a cousin in South Carolina. Driving would enable us to do both, and also allow Peter and Sarah to see some of the vast countryside that lies between our home in eastern Ontario and south central Florida.
On the trip down all they got to see was rain. Four states flew past the windows of our van in a blur of a constant downpour. Gratefully, by the time we arrived in Florida the sky had rung itself out and we were treated to sunny skies and warm temperatures.
We visited all four Disney parks, including my favourite, Epcot - a futuristic park that portrays a pristine and beautiful vision for the future. Immaculately manicured gardens and striking fountains surround beautifully designed buildings. Each unique structure contains entertaining and educational rides that teach visitors about energy, transportation, the land, the sea and, most recently, space exploration.
Our first stop was the space building and the newly opened Mission to Mars thrill ride. The journey began as we were carefully loaded into a space shuttle and locked into our seats. As the screen in front of us showed the guidance towers of an actual shuttle-launching bay, white clouds of smoke billowed as the countdown proceeded.
By this point I had completely suspended disbelief, and cried out loud with joy. This is the vision that has turned astronauts into environmentalists and believers. As U.S. astronaut Edgar Mitchell wrote, "My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity." And while my view of the Earth from space was only a momentary projection, it is forever burned into the window of my mind as a very real and powerful image.
Several days later, our Disney experience behind us, we were talking a sunset stroll along the beach at Cape Canaveral when Peter quietly asked me why I was an environmentalist. While the waves pounded beside us, tickling our toes and inviting us to dance in the surf, I explained that as far as we know, the Earth is the only inhabitable planet in the entire universe. More importantly, it is our home, and an incredibly beautiful one at that. I reminded Peter of our mock shuttle experience and the view of the Earth from space. We walked in silence for awhile and I wondered if Peter really understood what I meant.
On the way home the weather was much kinder to us. As we drove up through the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, the luscious beauty of summer slowly reversed itself into the emerging green of spring. By the time we finally made it back to Ontario, the leaves on the trees had shrunk from a verdant canopy to tiny light green flutters that danced in the sunlight. It was late afternoon when we finally pulled into our driveway and our front lawn shone like an emerald lake in the long rays of the setting sun.
It was at that moment that I experienced my miracle. Thanks to many days of rain and the warming May temperatures, all of the tiny bulbs that I had planted last fall and promptly forgotten, were peeping up through the soil and beginning to bloom. Delicious white flowers that looked like fine lace, crimson tulips, purple violets and tiny yellow flowers that exploded with the light of the sun, all welcomed us.
That's my miracle - the miracle of life. Despite all we've done to our planet, she forgives with open arms every spring. Life renews in a riot of colour, inviting us to dance on this brilliant blue jewel we call Earth. It was good to be home.
Recommended websites:There are numerous websites that provide wonderful images of our earth from space. Check out earth.jsc.nasa.gov - a selection of photos taken from space by NASA astronauts, or try the Earth and Moon viewer, located at www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/vplanet.html.
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