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Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” (William Shakespeare from “Troilus and Cressida.”)
Young Rachel and her grandfather liked to take walks. Walks gave them time to have fun-filled talks.
Grandpa would sometimes think of an old song and sing one or two lines that were not very long.
When he did, Rachel giggled and gave him applause, which Grandpa appreciated, but it made him give pause.
Rachel happened to look up toward the sky and saw a robin go flying by. She let out a squeal and shouted with glee, “That bird flew by just for me.”
Her grandpa shook his head, then responded in song, “When the red, red robin comes bob-bob bobbin along. I bet, my dear Rachel, when I sang those lines to you, you had not heard them before. They were completely new. There are lots of songs and poems about things on earth that certainly should fill our hearts with mirth. ‘Welcome sweet springtime’ – a song I like to sing, and ‘April showers bring May flowers’ has a pleasant ring. And ‘I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree’ are words that always have and always will speak very true to me.”
Grandpa sang, “When you wore a tulip, a bright yellow tulip/ And I wore a big red rose.”
But he suddenly stopped, looked at Rachel and said, “I don’t know how the rest of it goes.
“There are songs about animals that you can find. ‘The bear went over the mountain’ comes to mind.
“‘Frog went a-courtin’ and he did ride, with a sword and pistol by his side,’ was a song my mother had sung to entertain me when I was quite young. I know ‘Old McDonald had a farm,’ was taught to me by an old schoolmarm. There are songs that focus on the sun, stars, and moon, but right now I cannot think of a tune.
“It is time to go home, Rachel. We will play your favorite game and pair up animals with other animals that we know are not the same.”
Grandpa or Rachel would say an animal then patiently pause and wait for the other to name an animal that wittily finished the clause. A slug is not… a bug. A bat is not a gnat. A bee is not…a flea. A cat is not a rat. A salamander is not a gander. A frog is not a dog. A moose is not a goose. A polliwog is not a hog.
The game went on until Rachel and Grandpa could no longer find animals to rhyme, but again, their walk together had given them a very good time.
Flora and fauna are living things about which we should all care and not to be ignored in preserving our earth is the quality of our air.
“Go softly in the world, go softly in the world; if it is harmed it cannot return; go softly. …” (Yoruba proverb).
Tomorrow evening marks the beginning of Passover. Happy Passover.