Apr. 28, 2000
This is Where
Poem: " This is Where," by Mary Oliver, from Harvard Magazine, March/April 1983.
Today, the last Friday in April, is ARBOR DAY, first observed in Nebraska (1872), where it is still a state holiday. Arbor Day was originated by Julius Sterling Morton, president of the American Forestry Association. He came up with the idea of a day for planting trees in his home state of Nebraska -- and the idea seemed to capture people's imaginations, because on the first Arbor Day, in 1872, Nebraskans planted one million trees. Today, there's a 200,000-acre national forest in Nebraska planted with Arbor Day trees, and seedlings have been taken from it for planting in other, tree-depleted countries. Morton once wrote, " Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future."
It's the birthday of American poet CAROLYN FORCHE, born in Detroit, Michigan (1950), author of Gathering the Tribes, and Burning the Tomato Worms.
On this day in 1947 THOR HEYERDAL AND FIVE COMPANIONS SAILED OFF IN THE " KON-TIKI," a balsa wood raft they named for a legendary Incan god. They left the western coast of South America and headed for the islands east of Tahiti, to prove Heyerdahl's theory that ancient people from the Americas could have colonized Polynesia. The crew was afloat for three and a half months, traversing some 5,000 miles of ocean.
It's the birthday of HARPER LEE, born in Monroeville, Alabama (1926). In 1957 she submitted a manuscript to the J.B. Lippincott Company; she was told that it seemed more like short stories than a novel, and was asked to re-write it. She did, and in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was published.
It's the birthday of author and editor BILL BLACKBEARD, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (1926). He's the author of numerous books about cartoons, comic strips, and pulp fiction, and has compiled the works of early cartoonists. He founded The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art in 1967. In 1978, he was nominated for the National Book Award for history, for The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a sampling of American comic strips from 1896 to 1950.
It's the anniversary today of the most famous naval mutiny of all time--THE MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. Fletcher Christian, the master's mate, seized control of the ship from the tyrannical William Bligh. Christian and his followers went ashore in Tahiti, where they picked up 6 men and 12 women and set sail again. They took the Bounty to Pitcairn Island, burned it, and remained undiscovered for eighteen years. By that time, only one member of the mutinous crew survived, but the colony thrived, and their descendants still live there today.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®