Earth Hour, Solemnities and Festivities

pussywillowThis week Goldilocks has been inventing a new festive day to celebrate Spring.  It was her R.E homework.  Being the interfering helpful Mummy that I am, I offered to take lots of nice ‘Spring emerging’ themed photos for her project.  (I’m very hot on projects you know!)  I thought she would be delighted by my fluffy pussy-willow pictures.  Not so.  She declared, stubborn independence visibly bristling, that she was going to have a forget-me-not weekend.  No matter that our forget-me-nots, as yet, are nothing more than green, furry clumps of foliage.

This is what happens on Forget-Me-Not Weekend.  Families get together, hang photos of each other on a tree in the garden or a park (local authorities are OK with this she tells me) and then have a barbecue or picnic underneath the tree.  While everyone is looking forward to Summer they are also meant to remember all those who have gone before them, presumably with gratitude although she didn’t actually write that!  Children are meant to make little cakes decorated with flowers for older members of the family.  I guess this is because nine-year-olds enjoy making luridly iced fairy cakes.  (Last night we baked thirty-odd for all her classmates.) 

I’m not sure her idea will take off.  Inventing festive days is fraught with difficulty I think.  Not especially because you are trying to usurp the hegemony of the established church and its take on Spring and rejuvenation, though  I imagine these things take time to stick.  But because once they do stick you can bet that they will be hijacked by commercial interests.  As early as the end of January supermarket shelves will be stuffed with Forget-Me-Not Weekend merchandise, Hallmark will have rafts of pretty blue cards stuffed with sentimental doggerel and TV chefs, weeks in advance, will be preparing us for the perfect Forget-Me-Not weekend picnic under the family tree.   You are more likely to avoid rain than market-forces on a festive day. 

I can’t help wondering if on a Forget-Me-Not weekend, future generations will remember us with gratitude.  What will we have done for them?     I’m going to spend tomorrow’s Earth Hour pondering this.  I know that some people think these actions are ineffectual and gimmicky, and don’t really demand any sacrifice or long-term change of behaviour on our part.  I always think you have to start somewhere, and in its fourth year there is always a chance that Earth Hour might be one of those solemnities that stick.  And, just one tiny hour, that’s pretty hard to commercialise – unless you’re a candlestick maker!

our local earth

Here is a pretty picture of our local moorlands for you.  I took it a week ago on an unusually clear day, it’s normally just very foggy at this time of year.  I laughed when I read a description of it in The Guardian, which said it was ‘unknown’ though I think that’s not because of the fog obscuring it but because people passing through just assume they are in the Derbyshire Peaks.   Apparently it is also ‘spookily magnificent’ - that will be the fog.   

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