Earth was bored. She didn’t have any friends, except Moon, whose real name was Luna, which sounds prettier than Earth. That didn’t seem fair. Luna was white and gray and lumpy looking. She only looked good because Sun shone on her and made her bright. Sun was a bit too far away to be a friend and too hot to get close to but even he had another name – Sol, which was more than she had.
Earth was pretty, she knew she was. She was all colours and looked good even in the dark because the people who lived on her had strung lights everywhere to decorate her. Maybe they were her friends too. Her seas were the brightest, coolest shades of blue. Her mountains weren’t just gray lumps, they were green or brown, gray rocks or white with snow. She had golden deserts and shimmering snow fields and pastures of vivid green and miles of golden wheat. She had vibrant, rich, colourful jungles and tumbling blue and silver streams that became wide brown rivers that poured joyfully into the seas.
Mostly, the people who lived on Earth spent a lot of time keeping her healthy and beautiful, but not always. Sometimes people, greedy to take whatever she had to give them, burned down the beautiful forests that had taken so long to grow. They dug huge gaping scars in the surface to use the stone for building or making roads. They took oil from beneath the surface and then burned it, leaving trails of black smoke across her skies.
It hurt her when they did these things but all she could do was try to mend the damage by helping things to grow back as quickly as possible. Earth didn’t know if that was enough but it was all she could do. If she had a prettier name, perhaps the people would love her more.
She didn’t have another name but she did have a secret, buried deep inside, that had lain there for millions of years. The people lived mainly on her skin and rarely dug down really deep below the surface, where her secret lay. But down in the dark layers beneath the soil and seas were the bones of all the creatures that had gone before.
There were creatures from the sea and land and all the margins in between. There were flying things and the trees they lived in. There were enormous dinosaurs and tiny insects locked in amber. There were fish and eggs and small scaly things with no name. All these creatures had lived on Earth’s surface and died there without ever doing her any harm. Why couldn’t people be the same?
Sometimes, when Earth moved a little in her sleep, these things had been thrown up onto the surface and the people were amazed. Some of the people, who called themselves paleontologists, studied them and searched for more, longing to know more about Earth and her history. But what they saw and what they knew was only the tiniest part of Earth’s secret and they knew it.
Some people realised that their way of life was hurting Earth and tried to stop the damage. They chose a day, to be Earth Day, when all the people would be reminded of what they owed her and shown how they could live without doing her harm. Every year, on Earth Day, people told those who didn’t know, how much harm was being caused and people tried to be less selfish and destructive and greedy.
And, in the far North, there lived two boys, one who wanted to be a paleontologist and one who agreed with Earth, that her name wasn’t pretty enough. He chose another name, Amanda. For him and his family and their friends, it was Amanda Day. And so Earth tried the name on and smiled. Amanda, yes, she liked it. It made her feel young again. She did have friends after all. One day, perhaps, when the boys were grown, she would let them in a little to her secrets. Amanda’s secrets.