I’ve been stalled, trying to distill a post inspired by Earth Day. So many fragments of ideas have been floating in and out of my mind, and I thought that if I just gave it a few more days, a coherent whole would emerge.

Well, it hasn’t, but that never stopped me from writing before. :)

The Wolf Trap Foundation has been making important contributions to the discussion on the arts and the environment for quite a while now. It’s not my intention to detail all of it here, but you really should take a look at Go Green with Wolf Trap. It’s an issue about which Terre Jones, Wolf Trap CEO, cares deeply. And the Foundation’s partnership with Wolf Trap National Park positions us as an ideal leader in this movement.

True Confessions

Background: I don’t consider myself an activist, but I’ve been making small efforts for years. We seem to have hit an earth-friendly peak in the late ’80’s, growing our own vegetables in the back yard, using hemp grocery bags (still in my car) and washing literally thousands of cloth diapers. So I’m completely sympathetic to the causes of environmental awareness and conservation.

Conflict: I’ve had a tough time getting up a full head of steam to cheerlead for my own organization’s Green Initiative. Of course it’s important, on so many different levels. And I’m proud to be part of an organization for which this is a priority. So why the conflict? Simply, there is absolutely no time or energy left in my work psyche for anything else. I have a job, it needs to be done as well as possible, and it taps out any reserves I have. This very important issue feels like a very large fly buzzing around my head, trying to tell me something I can’t make time to hear.


Clearly, there’s a lesson here. It’s beginning to nibble at my brain, but I haven’t absorbed it yet.

The benefits of immersing oneself in music, art, theatre or dance are clearly harmonious with the mindset that we all need to cultivate in order to live long and well on this earth. The essence of humanity lies in the heart of all the arts, and that same core is the part of us that will find a way to use all of our resources wisely and not squander our natural gifts.

There’s a parallel here that starts inside us and has nothing to do with compact fluorescents or reusable bags. We need to learn to operate happily within the limitations of our own bodies and minds. We ignore these limits at our peril. I am extraordinarily blessed to have a large store of mental energy and good health, but I regularly abuse both by not respecting those resources. Learning to work with instead of against my own personal resources could give me a mindset that can take the next step and consider the stewardship of my larger environment.

It’s not such a leap to bring this all back around to the opera company. (Oh right… this is an opera blog…) Our home at The Barns is beautiful, personal and unique. But there are clear parameters – limitations of design and space. When we embrace these parameters and work within them, the results are rewarding and illuminating. When we fight them or ignore them, we struggle mightily and sometimes fail.

I told you this isn’t conclusive, so all you get are these fitfully formed thoughts. But perhaps part of the lesson comes in embracing the ambiguity.

Earth Week in the Garden

My brother taught me that rainy days make for great outdoor photography. Something about the color saturation. This morning’s foray in the gardens reminded me of the people from whom most of us are descended – people who would have little trouble with conservation. My grandmother’s water pump and my husband’s grandfather’s wagon wheel conjure up the image of generations who wasted little.



ah yes, thanks for reminding us all that what should be at the heart of the newest eco craze sweeping the nation is a message of living simply and within our means.


amen. should I buy a hybrid suv to relieve my guilt? Or actually live without an SUV!?

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