"In earth, as it is in heaven"

The picture rests in thought as vividly today as when I first stood at the lake's edge. It's early in the afternoon as we're slowly making our way to a destination some forty miles into the Canadian wilderness. After a short portage through a quiet grove of cedar trees, we put our canoe in the water again and easily paddle around an island that appears not much more than a black dot on the map. Yet in its natural setting, the little island is a treasure; it seems to float like an evergreen emerald in a pool of sapphire. When we beach our canoe on the far shore, my companion and I pause to look back across the expanse of water we have just traveled. It is one of those perfect moments. There is beauty, grace, and peace. It is tangible. ...

Here, on this day in a tiny corner of our planet, we can drink the water, cool and pure, right from the lake. The rocks, the soil, the shore, are unstained by the "outside" world's pollution. The trees are full, alive with green, not having been touched by the sear of acid rain. The clouds are sailing above on the kind of breeze that only gentles the afternoon. There is no threat, no hint of anger in the wind. The sky beyond the clouds cannot possibly be more blue; the air could not be more exhilarating.

This is how I remember it. And as I'm writing now, I think that perhaps this should have been an official "Earth Day." Such purity and peace should be what people everywhere can celebrate this week as they acknowledge their gratitude for what our planet has provided and as they commit themselves to a more responsible stewardship of the resources that remain.

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Respect for conscience
April 19, 1993

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