There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

footsteps into the future

EARTH DAY was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. Twenty-million people came together on that date to protest environmental destruction and raise awareness for a healthier, more sustainable planet. Since then, Earth Day has grown into an annual global event with one billion people around the world joining together to draw attention to environmental issues. Paraphrasing the Earth Day site linked above: "On this 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day in a fiscal environment of global recession our planet (our home) is being neglected. Climate change continues unabated in the continued failure of governments to take any steps towards protecting and preserving the environment. There's a new ecological disaster happening almost daily. This Earth Day it's time to mobilize the planet from the ground up to send a message that the Earth won't wait! The Earth Day 2012 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them towards quantifiable outcomes."

BUTTERFLIES AND BOOTIES | (photos above) Crepe paper butterflies were made from an old Martha by Mail craft kit using crepe paper, clothespins, wire, Czech glass beads and German Glass Glitter. The small pink mercury glass baby bootie ornaments are from Crate & Barrel and tied with metallic ribbon from Martha Stewart Crafts.
WHEN I THINK about future generations and what they have to inherit from thousands of years of mankind wrecking our environment and using up the Earth's resources—I have to be honest—at first I am a bit pessimistic with what lies in their future. But then you see the hope in the face of a child and it reminds you that everything that new and unformed is an agent of change. Future generations need to be taught to develop a much lighter step and more compassion than ever before for our natural surroundings. It is now at the point of our very survival and best interest to do so and it is an issue of economics. We can no longer ignore the warnings from mistakes made in living the way we have in the past in the name of big business. We must also look to past voices to remind us of a more sustainable mode of living. This quote from a mostly forgotten indian chief was sent to me from Lisa Cummings Edwards (a blog follower and owner of a copy of my book, The Decorated Tree):

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."
—Chief Seattle, 1855

LITTLE GRASSHOPPER | (above) The tree branch is placed in a "quilted" ceramic container from a local gardening store, while a wire and mercury glass grasshopper from West Elm stands watch. Grasshoppers can only leap forward, not sideways or backwards. Symbolically, they have the ability to leap through time and into space where the true mysteries of life exist. The flowers behind the grasshopper are from one of the tallest deciduous trees in North America. The tulip tree (tulip popular) is related to the prehistoric magnolia and only produces flowers after it is about ten years old. The tulip tree flowers and bud are interspersed with white buds from a springtime nandina bush, which will eventually become red berries in the winter.
THIS TREE was a collaboration with a very special person in my life, Devin Borden. We made it to decorate his coworker's new nursery. Amanda Hickham and her husband Jeff are expecting a little baby girl soon, whom they have already named Jane Harris. In thinking about what the future holds for their little girl, Amanda says "It seems that over time, people have become more aware of the environment in general and increasingly more respectful of our planet. I can only hope that our baby girl will feel even more of a sense of responsibility once she is grown. It is important to me to be a part of sustaining and bettering an environment that will be safe for her not only as a baby, but for generations to come."

FACE THE FUTURE | (above, clockwise from top left) There are quite a few young ones in my life right now, some of which are shown here: My coworker Gianna Adams recently gave birth to Zander, shown with his mother in this beautifully poetic photo of mother and child; reaching for my face, Sian, former coworker Justine Chung's daughter is a complete delight; Atlas Bunda, the son of Kandace and Rob Walker-Bunda is understandably the happiest boy I know since both of his parents are extremely creative "Renaissance" parents; another photo of Sian with Devin Borden and I (who collaborated on the tree in this post); Mira is the beautiful daughter of my coworker Akiko Wilson; and another photo of Sian as a newborn.
INDEED, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED as humankind, but we sometimes forget that we are not removed from the natural world. We are products of every breath we take, every resource we consume and everything we eat. We are viscerally connected to every living thing in nature. 

THERE SEEMS to be a lot of children in my life right now. In looking for the face of the future, you only have to look into the face of a child as a source of hope. My friend Justine sent me a beautiful quote which she says pretty much sums up her new life in New York City. It really applies to all of us: "A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for." Our mothers know best — especially Mother Nature.

AS A SIDE NOTE, Caine, a 9 year old boy — who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad's used auto part store — shows that do-it-yourself creativity and persistence can pay off. Caine's Arcade became a success after getting the attention of indie filmaker Nirvan Mullick (Caine's first and only customer until then). Mullick made a short film about Caine (see YouTube video below). The short film went viral through the filmmaker's efforts. It is the most heartwarming story I have seen in recent years and will give you hope for the future like nothing else. Please visit this website and donate a dollar or two (the price of a fun pass) to his college fund as I have. 100% of my donation of $2.00, minus the PayPal transaction fee (0.36), will be put toward creating a Scholarship Fund that will be held for Caine to further his education. The filmmaker will be working with Caine's dad George to make sure a Trust gets set up properly. Also, due to the overwhelming support, and the spark of inspiration that Caine's Arcade has ignited, Caine's Arcade Foundation is being built to help more kids! The Foundation will help discover, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in young kids like Caine. The Goldhirsh Foundation is generously matching your donations to Caine's Scholarship Fund dollar-for-dollar (up to $250,000) to help them get the Foundation off the ground.

IN THE FUTURE, entrepreneurship will truly "get off the ground" if tempered with a good solid education about the environment and its protection, which will ultimately turn into action for saving our Earth. Happy and Hopeful Earth Day!

crafting by Devin Borden and Darryl Moland,
photography/styling by Darryl Moland


  1. a beautiful celebration of life, lovely use of color & hurray for caine—an inspiration

  2. Nice post, thanks for sharing this post with us.