Tag Archives: Lady Bird Johnson

Falling Leaves and First Ladies

Tuesday was the longest day. I don’t think many of us knew what to do with ourselves. Of course, some people were simply standing in lines to vote. Unbelievable images when you take into consideration that we are not a new democracy, and when you appreciate all our advanced technology. Still, people stood patiently in lines long past polling hours.

When I was at home in the day, I made calls. When I was out, I went for long walks amongst the trees. The sun was out and I took that as a sign. And I needed the air. Finally, I settled into raking leaves around my house. Bright yellows, golds, red and orange leaves that were lovely and falling at the same rate I could gather them. Nevertheless, it seemed important that I try to make things tidy. It was an impossibly long day, waiting for the results to roll in. And when I was done raking, I did it again.

Keep America Beautiful came to mind, the nonprofit organization Lady Bird Johnson embraced. I have heard that before her campaign, it was quite common for Americans to throw trash out their car windows. Our highways were littered, and in the course of inspiring people to clean up the trash she went a step further and proposed roadside wildflowers, a program that would sustain itself. (And the idea being that people would be less inclined to litter when the landscape was lovely). Lady Bird worked tirelessly to restore natural beauty to America’s public spaces. This was before we even had the word for environmentalism, but she understood it. She knew the impact it would have on the quality of our lives and communities.

While twice filling the yard waste bin it occurred to me that Lady Bird may be one of our most underappreciated First Ladies. I was also thinking it may be safe to come in now. It was dark and in the street lights the leaves in trees looked like blossoms. Another sign?

I’d enough air, I could breathe. I can make it.

And indeed, it’s over. The center is holding and we were not derailed. We can all go forward with what we do in this beautiful country of ours.

Now, where was I?


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