|Posted on April 22, 2020 at 10:35 PM|
Earth Day April 22, 2020
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day may we all be inspired to do our part in creating a healthier more sustainable environment for ourselves and future generations. In the wake of the pandemic, scientists have an unusual opportunity to study significant if only temporary changes in our planet. Cleaner air from less pollutants and emissions from the reduction in transportation. Less noise pollution allowing the sweet sounds of springtime to be heard in chirping birds again. Quieter soundscapes offering potential benefits for reduced stress and better sleep. There are even reports of animals venturing into villages and towns amid the lockdown as we hunker down inside. There are blessings in disguise if we choose to see them during the pandemic.
Each Earth Day anniversary marks such an unexpected blessing as well for our family during the outbreak of grief and heartache after our Kevin’s death 29 years ago.
On Earth Day, April 22, 1991 we held the planting and dedication of The Heartlight Tree in Altrusa Park at the intersection of Hillcrest Drive and Devon Street in Montrose, Colorado. Altrusa Park, just steps from our home, held special memories for our family. Just two days before Kevin died (January 7, 1991), we shared a wonderful afternoon there romping in the snow and sledding down the big hill. It was a glorious day!
A few weeks later, our dear friend, Dave Arellano, a principal in the school district where Stann was also a teacher, organized a group of school district administrators to donate a blue spruce tree in memory of our Kevin. The city granted their request to plant the tree in Altrusa Park.
On that warm spring day, we invited Kevin’s friends and classmates, Stann’s seventh grade class, and our friends and family to the ceremony. We asked each of Kevin’s closest friends and cousins to bring a cup of dirt from their backyard. I took the children aside and explained that we would use the dirt from the ground on which they had played with Kevin to plant the tree. In doing so they would always have a place to come and remember their adventures and fun times with Kevin. Most important: their love would help the tree grow. After a short speech from our school superintendent, Russ Stone, the children gathered around the little blue spruce. One by one, the children poured their cups of dirt into the hole mixing it with the fresh soil to produce a fertile ground for “Kevin’s Tree”. Stann and our daughter, Amber, helped slide the root ball wrapped in burlap into place, sealing its destiny of service for all those seeking hope, renewal, and unconditional love.
Over the years we have made many pilgrimages to our sacred tree. Our tears have watered its thirsty roots to produce blue-green needles and thick branches that offer solace in their shade and wisdom from a gentle breeze. Yet, those are the same needles that pierce tender fingertips in the way that grief unexpectedly stabs at the scars of a healing heart. Just as Kevin’s little tree endured drought, freezing temperatures, raging wind, and vandalism, 29 years later, we have battled the brutal and turbulent weather of grief to stand taller and stronger than ever. Blessed by the kindness of strangers, the support of our loved ones, and the gentle mercies of God, we have survived and continue to thrive.
On this Earth Day, I express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to all those who made it possible to share this sacred space with our family and friends, our community and beyond.
Carla & Stann Blowey
P.S. If you recognize yourself in these photos, or if you were there that day, please like or tag the photo(s)!