Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just One Small Act a Day

Saw the movie Earth today, a rainy Saturday, with Mia and Max. Husband took Will to Star Trek, which they both enjoyed, so us other three went on our own movie trek to a modern-day Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

The documentary is actually footage from The Planet Earth television series. It's edited to show the drama of the changing of the seasons in different hemispheres. Some of our most memorable scenes were baby Mandarin wood ducks jumping from their nest in a tree, a humpback whale baby and mother migrating to their summer feeding grounds, the tragedy of an exhausted elephant being attacked by a pride of lions, and cranes trying migrate over the peaks of the Himalayas. The scenery was incredible, of course, though I found the editing a little choppy. I spent most of the movie wondering how in the world photographers were able to get it all on film. It takes a brave person to film 30 hungry lions in the dark.

Another memorable moment: "Mia, is that a cheetah or a leopard?" I asked.

"It's a cheetah. Leopards live in the jungle and have rings around their spots."

She sure set me straight, but I was pretty proud of her for knowing something like that. Last week she also noted that an elephant on TV was an African elephant because its ears were shaped like the continent of Africa. Years of playing Zoo Tycoon, watching Animal Planet shows, and just paying attention to all things animal, I guess. I'm sure I learned these things at some point, but I think the part of my brain in which animal facts are stored must have been taken over by the ability to schedule things. Sadly.

A final point of interest from the movie: The boreal forest, where the northern hemisphere changes from arctic to forest is a nearly unbroken ring around the globe. It hosts something like a third of the world's trees and produces a whole lot of our oxygen. This one particular image -- of a ring of trees around the upper part of the planet -- reminded me of earth as an integrated whole. I'll avoid espousing about needing to save our planet -- we all know this. But I can't help myself in reminding that we're living in a time of change, and just one small act of care a day adds up.

(400 words)

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