I hold a blue candle in my left hand and make shadow animals on the wall with my right hand. It is Earth Hour, a time of global solidarity as people all over the world turn off their lights for one hour. As the hour ends in one time zone, it begins in the next. Usually, I spend Earth Hour in silent contemplation but tonight I’m playing with hand shadows like Cro Magnon children might have done in fire-lit caves thirty thousand years ago. I do it until hot candle wax drips on my hand and makes me stop.
Japan is hours ahead of the Pacific Northwest, and hundreds of us sent messages of support to the Japanese people during Earth Hour in Japan.
I play simple melodies on a camellia branch flute from Jon Sherman, letting the notes come as they will without thinking about it. I’m a beginner and my tunes lack skill but are heartfelt. When I was two or three years old, I carried a stick with me everywhere and called it “my little wood.” Now I feel I’ve got my Little Wood back!
I finish the hour reciting the Heart Sutra Mantra for the people of Japan and for a friend and her family who are going through a difficult time. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bhodi svaha.
Earth Hour 2011 is this blog’s two-year anniversary!