You can't see Earth from here

I never knew there was an earth.

I was earth unaware.

I thought terra firma was a type of tile. Or possibly grout.

Me and the earth lived in different worlds, her of nature, me of muted earth tones. I prefer my earth, inside.

Didn't really think much of Earth Day, never sent the planet a card.

Never really owned a lot of the earth. If you parked a car on the front lawn of the house I grew up in, we'd be out of earth. If it was a Cadillac Eldorado, we'd be minus earth.

Growing up, we had ¼ of a tree. You don't swing much when most of the branch is in the other guys yard. Mrs D., our neighbor, hated the tree, of which she also only owned a quarter of it, but being downwind, she owned all the leaves.

I needed shots to be earth-compatible. Outside wanted me, in.

Once a week my mother would layer me in as many clothes as she thought it took to keep the earth off me, rush me through the earth into the car, and drive to Dr. Richards, an allergy doc-guy, who would walk in the little shot giving room with two TRAYS of five shots each, and one lollipop.

With each shot he would say exactly this:

"This one is for pollen ... "


"This one is for tree stuff ..."


"This one is for grass stuff..."


"Here's a lollipop."


Never once did he say, "This one is for pavement," or "This one is for homework."

If not for the purple lollipop, I would have hated earth.

Much ado about ... Earth

I did nothing on Earth Day.

Didn't march, didn't buy a button to wear, didn't listen to the pros or cons of doing or not doing.

Today, I left Mother Earth alone. My gift to the planet.

All I did today was watch. Watched the show that is earth.

And Mother Earth took me in as a child. You can't see the earth from a crowd, her stage is small, it's theater one-to-one.

It's a hawk riding the thermals over Smith Mountain Lake. It's a Virginia valley on a cool spring day.

It's the song of a child on a front porch swing in downtown Bedford, Va. It's a gull on a dock, a fish in the weeds, trees with white flowers, pink flowers, rain on your face, wind on your back. Birth, life, death. Sunrise, sunset.

I watched the clouds, stared at the waves, and let the planet be.

You can't see earth from here, because what makes this place earth, and not just a pretty blue rock floating in space, can only been seen from one place.

A mirror.

— db

Don Barone is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. Other stories of his can be found on For comments or story ideas, you can reach db at

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