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Never Too Old to Play

2012 May 7

By Kathy Sykes

The older I get, the more I like to play. Did you know that May is Older Americans Month and that this year’s theme is “Never Too Old to Play.” The theme encourages Older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their communities.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of a book, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, that changed the lives for many people who love nature and the out-of-doors.

I hadn’t read Silent Spring until I was an adult. As a child, I remember running down nearby railroad tracks where trains passed by daily around noon transporting large logs heading to the paper mills and lumber yards. My little sister and I used to pick bouquets of flowers that bloomed in abundance near the tracks, white and purple violets, daisies, lilies- of- the-valley for my mother to place on the dining room table.

But those tracks were also sprayed with DDT. We were just kids and had no idea how dangerous it was as we ran down the tracks through the cloud of chemicals. We assumed if the cloud of chemicals was bad for mosquitoes it must be good for us. But I have learned now that the metabolites of DDT are one of those persistent toxicants that are forever a part of me.

Fifty years later we are still thinking about Rachel Carson’s message about the dangers of chemicals and pesticides in our world. The train tracks have been converted into a bike path and trails that weave through the back yards of my childhood neighborhood. DDT is no longer sprayed and the wild flowers are still there. My mom has been active in caring for community gardens and volunteering at the local botanical gardens. She has encouraged all my nieces and nephews to garden and appreciate the out of doors. Mother’s day is around the corner and I am planning to play in a garden and maybe submit an entry with my mom for the Rachel Carson contest.

About the author: Kathy Sykes is a Senior Advisor for Aging and Sustainability in the Office or Research and Development at the U.S. EPA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    May 7, 2012

    Never Stop Contribute……

    In my country, has problems as the old parents. Although they have grandparents, they still performances like before, to manage large family, to think their children who have children. Most of them still contribute everything for all, because economically and unprofessionally of their children. Don’t regrets the old parents…..!

  2. Tex Gomez permalink
    May 7, 2012

    What a great write-up! Mother’s Day and Mother Earth can be celebrated in a special way this year and all years. Thanks.

  3. afshin permalink
    May 7, 2012

    thank you and learn me mor

  4. May 8, 2012

    The Good Force be with you!

    Old age is a sign of maturity and the more we aged the more we like to live forever because of the beautiful things we see in our New Earth.

    Thanks Kathy and God bless you!

    Live forever and prosper!

  5. May 8, 2012

    I still enjoy playing as well. I am encouraging my kids to enjoy social interactions such as sports, games, contests, and all other forms of play.

  6. May 9, 2012

    “Though I only read writings about Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring, I have read many books written by authors who were inspired by her book. She fought with all her might to awaken everyone’s environmental consciousness. She’s truly a hero of our time!”

  7. May 11, 2012

    Cute story. My father is getting up there in age. Us “kids” are always trying to get him to be more active. Maybe If I tell him we are going to spray his garden with DDT he might get off his chair and chase us? lol

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