Being Earth Day, watching the sunsight (as Bucky would say) this morning, got me to thinking about the 1st Earth Day I remember.
It was 1975. A few days earlier I'd had the good fortune to meet and spend four days with Buckminster Fuller and his wife Anne. It was just the three of us, in a cottage in Key Largo, FL. Bucky, almost 80, was writing a forward for someone's book and needed help to get his thoughts on paper. I had a typewriter and would type out drafts of his dictation. So, I found myself working, living, and dining with the Fullers for several days.
We'd go grocery shopping in my yellow VW Beetle. Separate carts. Separate bills. Our diets were very different. I was a hippy, yogi (only wore white), and vegetarian. I was shocked at Bucky's diet; it consisted of steak and ice cream. I asked him about eating meat. He believed there is no death, only transference of energy so he felt completely neutral about being a carnivore.
I didn't have a clue about Bucky or his work, but after dinner we'd sit at the kitchen table and he would draw diagrams. He'd explain vectors to me and how the tetrahedron [the basic structural unit of the geodesic dome] is the building block of the universe. It was all way over my head, but I was fascinated. Bucky said I asked good questions. And he told me not to waste time giving information I feel is valuable if someone hasn't asked for it. But, if someone asks, you have a responsibility to tell them and to make sure they understand.
I absolutely fell in love with Bucky. He was so present and ego-less. His eyes (with those thick glasses) were like deep pools of accumulated wisdom. I had been on a deeply spiritual path, discarding science, and realized with reverence Bucky had synthesized the two.
On Earth Day, a few days later, I listened to Bucky give a wonderful talk at a church in Coconut Grove. At the end of the presentation everyone gave him a long standing ovation. He motioned with his hands to stop and waited patiently for silence. Then he said, "I just want you to know, when you stand together clapping like this, it is not me you are applauding, but each other...you're telling each other you're all in agreement with the truth of what has just been said."