What’s so interesting about these troubled times is how ignorable the whole “we are totally screwed” concept is in our daily lives. I write a post about OMG-we-have-got-to-do-something-immediately—and then go about my day. Sure, simmering in the background is fear. Depression. Anxiety. But hey! I have a broody hen to contend with. Her determined fluffiness and scolding, her throaty call for her nonexistent chicks, the life-giving heat of her body, the warmth of the eggs as I take them from beneath her, thereby stealing her life’s purpose. It is my human will against a chicken’s. Nature. Who do you think will win?
Do you agree that thinking about chickens is more pleasant than thinking about the demise of our earth? That’s probably why I suggested to Carl that we let Flopsie keep an egg or two. He pointed out our notorious roo to pullet hatch ratio (3 to 1). I considered his argument, and adapted mine. Thus, while picking up organic chicken pellets and pine shavings at Agway, and after staring lovingly into the large, silver-colored bucket full of peeps and quacks, I suggested we slip a couple of ducklings under Flopsie. Carl didn’t even pause to look.
It’s not that he’s a brute. He only knows from experience that it might be springtime now but winter will be back and then, just as the temperatures plummet and the snow begins to fly, we will be out in the coop, jury-rigging a nice duck pond for the grown up ducks who would be producing—assuming ducks have a better boy to girl ratio than chickens—beautiful, big eggs, and a lot of slippery poo.
Thus, I am the brute. Upon returning from Agway, I went out to the coop and pulled Flopsie off the nest. The egg she had been carefully tending was under her wing. It fell and broke, to both the hen’s and my heartache. She flapped and fluffed and squawked. Schude came running to her defense. I closed off the nesting boxes. Schtude attacked the horrid, two-legged creature who was defying the most natural of occurrences in a hen: mothering. And I claim to respect nature! He tossed his head in a vain attempt to get his feathery headdress out of his eyes, and returned his attentions to the distraught Flopsie, who wanted nothing to do with him. She wanted an egg.
It’s all about mourning, and the will to survive. My 16-year old cat Nora is a rail relative to her past plump self. She is deaf. She sleeps an inordinate amount of time, even for her. She yowls. But when I rush to her? She raises her fluffy tail, purrs her heartwarming purr, and leans against me to be petted. She is fine! She will live forever! I allow her to delude me because the option is too painful to consider. So, too, Mother Nature. No worries! Mother Nature can take care of herself.
Very true, and she is. She is heating up just like the human body when it has a virus. The heat kills, and then life, if there still is life, proceeds. That’s where we humans are miscalculating. If we, as a species, want to survive, we need a complete and immediate shift in perspective and action. We can do it. We need only the will.
That brings to my mind a fascinating book: Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom. In it, he studies the four issues that we, humans, fear: Death. Existential Isolation. Meaninglessness. And freedom a.k.a. responsibility and willing. . .. How terrifying a thought: to take responsibility for our past actions, and to will our future ones.
But this was so not what I was going to write about. Isn’t that just like life? We might have the best of intentions, and suddenly, here we are, wondering how the heck we are going to get ourselves out of this sticky situation.
Maybe if everyone moved to the country, and learned how to grow their own food, and adopted chickens, and lived off-grid. Would that make the difference?
The short answer: no. Because part of the problem—and the answer to this conundrum called climate chaos—because that’s what’s coming if we don’t prepare—is that humans don’t come from a cookie cutter. We each have our own role to play. Carl and I are testing out the move-to-the-country-adopt-chickens-and-live-off-grid option. Will it make a difference? And what does it mean, off-grid living.
But that is for next Tuesday. And this Friday? The Politics of Energy.
In the meantime, I’m going to call Governor Sununu’s office and see if he believes in things climate chaos yet. And that I hope he will support the climate and clean energy bills that are coming to his desk. And that I am going to hold him accountable for how he uses he veto pen in the next weeks. 603-271-2121
Update: I spoke to Rhonda. Note to self: Don’t start off with the question about belief and climate chaos. It’s too aggressive, and off-putting. Rhonda stopped listening, and the point is to be heard.