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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

Month

July 2014

Summertime Series

The LoraxOne of my favorite movies of all time, The Lorax, is playing Friday night, August 1st, as part of Community First’s Night Owl Cinema Series at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre (www.staugamphitheatre.com). It’s FREE family fun and everyone should see this Dr. Seuss classic at least once.

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Speaking for the Trees

I come from a long line of tree huggers.

Both my father and aunt were officers in local chapters of The Audubon Society. You know — the bird-watchers? Or, as I’ve been corrected — the birders? My grandmother is an avid birder. She has over 3,000 different birds on her master “Birds of the World” life checklist. This should impress you if you know anything about birding. I don’t. I was disappointed to find out that number is well below half of the 9,000 some odd total. Then she informed me it would raise a birder’s eyebrows. I guess I thought she’d have more. I mean, she is 94. And she’s been all over the world. Literally. She’s even looked for birds in Madagascar. The real place, not the movie!

The point is, my family likes birds. I’ve been in the car any number of times when my grandmother (or any family member, really) has hollered for whoever was driving to pull over so everyone could pile out and count the number of winged things flitting about in some ditch.

But it’s not just birds. It’s also bobcats, timberwolves, gopher tortoises, sea turtles, manatees or any other creature of the wild, particularly if it’s endangered. We like to save things. My father saved manatees attracted by the warm waters into power plants and relocated hawks or eagles off power lines when he headed up the environmental department of Florida Power & Light years ago. My stepmother is the director of a local nature center. She educates children at her nature camp and leads sea turtle walks on the beach so the public can see nesting females. She and my father have an owl cage in their backyard and frozen mice to feed it in the freezer. They were married in a swamp (nature preserve.)

So with roots like these, it’s no wonder this past week’s DVD rental, The Lorax, had me in tears. A girlfriend called partway through it. “Are you watching a cartoon again?” For the record, it’s not a cartoon. It’s an animation.

And, in truth, as far as animations go — it’s no Pixar. The techniques weren’t new or unique, the writing wasn’t paticularly clever and there were no catchy musical numbers. But, the message got me. I was boo-hooing by the time the last truffela tree was chopped down and the sad bears, hacking birds and oily fish were sent away by the Lorax (voice of Danny DeVito.)

I’m passionate about the environment, yes. But, unlike most of my family, I don’t feel it’s what I’m here to do. So, I’ll do the next best thing: write about it. The power of the pen.

The reason your children or grandchildren (or you yourself) should see this environmentally themed film is so we’re not raising a bunch of uncaring, money-hungry citizens of Thneedville. I see it coming in the recent Play 60 campaign done by the NFL. Children are so busy playing with Game Boys and Wii dancing that they have to be reminded to go outside! We had to be told repeatedly it was time to come in! I remember entire imaginary rooms where I played for hours in the giant ficus trees that surrounded my childhood home. How many trees are there in your neighborhood that are even climbable?

I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn’t get too political. But, since Superstorm Sandy, most sane people have accepted global warming as fact now, right? Even the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek reported “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

So, I’ll end this post with a call to action. Get on the “going green” bandwagon. I’m not the Lorax, but I do what I can. Educate your children, change your ways. Volunteer your time or give your money. There are some great organizations like The Nature Conservancy or Environmental Defense Fund that are dedicated to protecting our natural places and its creatures. And remember the wise words of the good doctor…

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

~Dr. Seuss

 

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Be a Hero by Supporting Children with Cancer

Make it Happen!

There was a time in my life when I thought nothing new was ever going to happen to me. Nothing major, anyway. I think it occurred to me right after I moved to my mom’s. You know, you reach some settled point in your life when you think – okay, this is it. I live where I’m going to live, who I’m going to live with. There are no other big changes left to occur or choices left to make. No more new boyfriends, no more excitement or wild times, no more once in a lifetime trips.

dreamstimecomp_17677062I think this is part of growing older. When you’re young, the possibilities seem endless. Where you’re going to go, what you’re going to do, who you’re going to end up with. Life, at first, is like eating at Denny’s and choosing from page after pretty page of pictured options. Then, before you know it, you’re at some fancy restaurant eating multiple courses of food you don’t recognize, can’t pronounce, and didn’t even pick. Being handicapped only exacerbates these feelings. The choices become even fewer and farther between.

Well, I’ve decided it doesn’t have to be that way. Life is as exciting as we make it. Of course, things slow down as we age and most choices are behind us, but not all of them. We can always choose to shake things up a bit. For example, my writing coach recently resolved to experience one new thing every month. She picks one thing she’s never done before, and just does it. Brilliant. Last month, it was a Turkish Bath House in Atlanta. Surrounded by women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, she jumped from heated to frigid pool and let a very strong woman scrub her for hours with giant salt rocks. Talk about keeping it interesting!

dreamstime_xs_23952382Thus inspired, I decided to dip my toe into waters (a bit wilder) myself. Driving home from St. Augustine on A1A last week, two girlfriends of mine decided they wanted to go skinny dipping at sunset. Now, this is an example of an activity, like dancing or playing softball, that I would normally exclude myself from as being too much trouble or downright impossible. After all, my wheelchair can’t negotiate the soft sand, it takes forever to undress and I can’t swim! Luckily, these are good friends. Fueled, in part from the wine at dinner and in part from some deep seated fear I might miss out on something, I did something I almost never do. Instead of trying not to be much bother, I demanded they take me with them. In fact, I proceeded to dare and taunt them when they almost talked themselves out of it. My mind made up, I was determined to make it happen.

I’ll skip a lot of the gory details, but fast forward and imagine the sight, if you will, of a middle-aged naked woman, half-scooting, half-crawling across the sand toward the surf. I really never left the water’s edge, but still, I’m lucky I didn’t drown. I haven’t done something like that since my twenties, but certainly if you’d asked me last week, I’d have assured you that my skinny dipping days were over. I guess you never know.

So, try something new! Or do something you used to do, that the current version of yourself would never dream of doing. I’m going to steal the idea and try out a different experience every couple of months. And oh, by the way, one of those things has already been decided. I’m going to Mexico. For a month. But I’ll save that for another post. The point is, I’ve never been. New things happen when you make them happen. And there’s still plenty left on the menu.

 

 

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