As the month of Earth Day closes, I remember a summer dress I bought a few years ago at a boutique near Orlando, Florida. My sisters and I had just celebrated my mom’s retirement by spending a week at New Smyrna beach. I had a few days alone with my mom, and on a shopping trip, we each bought a tie-dyed garment. My mom’s, a deep blue tunic with colorful tie-dyed patterning down the sides; mine, a strapless smocked-bodice dress in cotton gauze. Both pieces were made in India, I hope in decent working conditions.
I wore this dress to an Earth Day event in 2012. I was at the end of my marriage, feeling fragile and alone. I was determined to go out and enjoy the day. The downtown Orlando event was set up around the edges of Lake Eola. The weather was Florida perfect: sunny with a bright blue sky full of chubby white clouds. The turn-out was great: lots of musicians, artisans, vendors, kids and a humane society visit with lots of animals to love on. My dear friend, Erica, showed up with her girls and we played with pets, sampled treats and got henna tattoos. Mine said “guerrera” which is warrior. I needed some strength, or better, a reminder that I am strong. We also tried some unforgettable vegan smoothies made by some awesome Rastas. My dress conjured my hippie soul with its bands of color and flowing skirts. I felt alive and beautiful, and still do every time I wear this dress.
This is how I love to celebrate Earth Day, in community, outdoors and aware of this incredible planet we share. May we always look for ways to care for and protect our Mother Earth. (One of those ways is, of course, knowing who made our clothes and how.)