Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we're writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My father was the first environmentalist I knew. Every day he and my mother put their daily newspaper into a brown paper bag and stacked it along the ever-growing wall of brown paper bags on the side of our house, until it was Paper-Drive Day at my elementary school. My father would fill the trunk and back seat of his car, and sometimes the bags would spill over onto my lap in the passenger seat where I sat with no seatbelt (I know I’m aging myself here). My class frequently won the paper drive, and as reward my class would win an ice cream party – individual sized plastic cups of vanilla ice cream with wooden sticks as spoons (oh, the waste that generated!)
At the news of oil spills or other pollution-oriented catastrophes my father would become outraged and exclaim, “Crimes against nature are crimes against humanity!” He would tell me all the things he did to conserve water in arid southern California where we lived, proudly declaring “And I even don’t flush the toilet after every pee!”
My father taught me that the earth was special, that nature could be magical. He held a spiritual connection to nature, which I couldn’t help but absorb. When my dad picked up bonsai as a hobby, he told me about a Shinto belief that spirits would find beautiful places in nature to reside. It was his goal to create a bonsai tree so beautiful that a Shinto spirit would honor and bless him by making one of my father’s trees its home. He seemed most at peace outside, planting and tending to flowers, concentrating on trimming his bonsai just right.
The first time my father and I climbed the mountains near our home, I was somewhere around 10 years old. I felt more than just accomplishment of the physical feat. I felt something other than father-daughter bonding. The mountains were special, and I experienced an energy, a sense of peacefulness. I, like my father, felt what I can now describe as a spiritual connection that I continue to experience to this day. A few phrases from Dylan Thomas’ poem, “The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower”, come to mind when I try to describe the connection I experience with nature.
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
This is why I try to protect and conserve when I can. This is why, before there was a recycling program at my office, I used to take home “trash” paper and plastic bottles to recycle at home. This is one of the reasons why I choose organic and locally produced foods when possible.
My father has an admittedly different view of organic farming. He was born in Shanghai, China and grew up there until the age of 13, when the new Communist leadership expelled all non-ethnic Chinese. In those days, Shanghai was not the budding industrialized metropolis it now is. People were poor, and farming was truly “natural”. Fields were fertilized with raw manure and there no chemical pesticides or anything else-icides. Everything that came out of the ground was so laden with parasites, it had to be boiled until it was tasteless mush. Even then, my father still became infected with tape worms several times. So, what is his viewpoint on farming?
Chemical fertilizers? Yes, please!
Pesticides? Delightful! I’ll take two!
Organic produce? Danger. Potentially life-threatening illness. I’ll pass.
Can I blame him?
Despite our different perspectives on organic foods, we still share that connection that guides us in making green lifestyle choices in an attempt to live more in harmony with this good Earth – so the water driven through the rocks, by that same force that drives my red blood, might run just a little bit cleaner.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.
(This list will be updated March 9 with all the carnival links.)
- My Momma Was a Hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother's way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. (@tisworthwhile)
- Mom Did Know Best, About Diapers at Least — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has a dirty secret about cloth diapers: They're easy. (@guavalicious)
- The Force that Drives the Water Through the Rocks — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest remembers her first spiritual connection with nature, granted to her through her father's care for the spirits of the earth.
- Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma learned about landfills and recycling through gardening. (@kitchenwitch)
- Seeing My Grandmother Through Green Colored Lenses — Michelle at Seeking Mother was raised by a grandmother who wouldn't let anyone throw out used clothing — ever — and who believed baths were water enough for two or more people at least. (@seekingmother)
- Through Green Tinted Glasses — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis realized her family didn't so much choose green as it chose them, since not being green would have cost a lot more.
- Green or Die! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing remembers berating her family for not turning off the faucets — and notes that her efforts to save the planet for another 20 years must have worked.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Green Living — Sarah at Natural Parenting is doing more to make her children's generation green than what she had as a child.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Vintage Green — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start used to fill her own water bottles from a spring — before doing so was cool. (@pchanner)
- Getting Dirty — Molly at Molly's Place is inspired by her mother's camaraderie with nature. She's going to get back in touch with the real food cycle, as opposed to the "shrink-wrapped nutrition" you can buy. (@KPMolly)
- My Vintage Green Raincoat — Mama at Maman A Droit is wearing her brother's bright green raincoat — 16 years later! (@MamanADroit)
- Vintage Green — Darcel at Mahogany Way hasn't realized it yet, but she is slowly turning into her parents. ;) (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Lauren at Hobo Mama was eco-chic before it was en vogue. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Growing Up Green — Chrystal at Happy Mothering honed her green instinct from an early age. (@HappyMothering)
- greener pastures — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts has a list of ways she's transitioning from green living as a novelty to green living as a lifestyle. (@thegrumbles)
- Vintage Green: The Hot Water Tank Is Not Sexy — Zoey at Good Goog had to go green when moss started growing around her feet. (@zoeyspeak)
- We Walked Softly — Starr at Earth Mama wrote a beautiful post about how her parents instilled a love of and respect for Earth and nature in her, and how she is passing that gift on to her own children.
- Save the Mermaids! — CurlyMonkey is learning from her daughter how to keep the mermaids happy. (@curlymonkey_)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Dionna at Code Name: Mama sees glimpses of her mother's greenness frugality in her own life - but she draws the line at pantyhose soap. (@CodeNameMama)
- I Thought I Made Them Green, But Really They Made Me — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! thought she made her parents green — until she took a closer look. (@bfmom)
- A Culture of Less — Alison at BluebirdMama explained why homebirth is the green childbirth choice. I love this thought! (@childbearing)
- 5 Ways to Embarrass Your Children While Going Green — Acacia at Be Present Mama shares some of the embarrassing things her parents did to her in the name of being eco-conscious.
- Ending Is Better than Mending? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is teaching us how to darn socks armed only with a light bulb. (@babydust)
- There and Back Again: A Green Girl's Tale — Lactating Girl offers a gentle reminder that certain eco-conscious practices shouldn't be "ideals," but realities. (@LactatingGirl)