Earth Day Turns 40, Earth 4.54 Billion

   A few weeks ago I went to hear Claudia Schmidt at Traditions Cafe in Olympia. She's a blues-jazz-folk singer, song-writer, 12-string guitar player, mountain dulcimer player, storyteller, and best of all--comedian. She's recorded fourteen albums and plays to intimate gatherings and mega-paloozas alike. At Traditions, she drew a full house of long-time fans and newcomers like me. She told a very funny story about an Earth Day event that has been making me chuckle for the past two weeks--often when I least expect it.
   Several years ago, she was one of dozens of musicians playing at a multi-event, multi-stage Earth Day celebration somewhere in the mid-West. Before her performance she was scheduled to be interviewed on the local "Live at Five" news broadcast. The woman conducting the interview from the TV studio knew little to nothing about the environment, Earth Day, Claudia, or anything else. The TV crew rigged Claudia with a headset so the interview could be filmed live at the festival.
    Over the headset, she heard herself being introduced as "Claudia Schmidt--singer, song-writer, musician, activist...and [breathily] so much more." What does that even mean? Claudia wondered. The woman made it sound like the two of them had been sitting around drinking herbal tea together for hours beforehand. In fact, they had never met. Claudia braced herself for the first question.
   "So, Claudia, how did you get involved with the earth?"
    Claudia couldn't believe it. What kind of a stupid question was that? Claudia refrained from asking or blurting out something insulting to the intelligence of the interviewer.
     Instead, she paused thoughtfully and said, "Well, I live here."
     End of interview.