I fell off the blogosphere last week. Myriad excuses but it all comes down to this: I lost heart. It’s overwhelming, trying to be positive in the face of so much horror. Especially when people laugh about it. It’s like the “Springtime in Germany” scene in The Producers: making farce out of events that prove the depths of evil to which humans can sink. I don’t believe such events hold space for humor. On the contrary, my heart breaks. And so to joke when faced by the willful blindness and complacency that too many—myself included—are exhibiting? We are witness to the dying off of millions of species. Without them, we, too, will die. People rattle off “in eleven years”. “In 2030.” “By 2050”. We become inured to exactly what that means, and how soon. Until the horror strikes in the form of a hurricane, a tornado, drought or flood. Fire.
And brimstone. Some people are stoked. They believe all this disaster and death is a good thing. God’s second coming. Bring it on!
They must believe they are the Chosen. Oh, so special. It won’t happen to me. Or thee. Only to them. Time will tell. Ha. Ha.
I was sitting at a bar the other night while Carl was getting ready for a gig. A couple of women sat down next to me and ordered drinks. They asked if the baseball game channel—I wasn’t paying attention. It is baseball season, right?—could be switched to the Belmont Stakes race. And so the next minutes were spent trying not to look at, and worry about, the gorgeous horses on the screen. Past races. Current preparations. I hoped the horses were happy. I suspected not. Or maybe, yes, but when the bartender asked the women if horse racing isn’t rather a cruel sport, one of the two—clearly familiar with such an inane question—replied, “no”. Or rather, “at the lower levels, yes. It’s awful. But these horses?” She nodded toward the television screen. “They are really well cared for.” She said this almost with envy. As if she’d like to have those massages, and the fabulous buckets of free grain. Are horses read bedtime stories? “But yes, at the lower levels, it’s really bad.” A pause. Maybe she was thinking about the 21 horses who have died recently at the Santa Ana racetrack. “Like everything in life, right?”
And with that sentence, she excused herself. She passed off any responsibility for her own participation and how she might be contributing to those “lower levels”. Just so the climate crisis. I wring my hands, and read about the pods of emaciated whales showing up dead on beaches because the ocean’s waters aren’t cold enough for the krill. And the krill are mostly plastic. Or the poster child Polar bears. The baby seals. And what can one person do? It’s untenable, unbearable, awful, overwhelming . . . and a shrug because it’s like everything in life, right?
I avoided all this last week, only to write about it this week. Some things we just can’t avoid.
Believe it or not, I’m trying to be positive, feed the good, not the bad, energy that’s swirling about . . . I try not to think about how the Democratic party is, apparently, determined to repeat 2016’s debacle. Tone deaf to all the new voters’ (and old ones!) and their demand for big change, the DNC won’t have a debate on climate change. It’s “impractical” to have one debate focussed on just one issue, even if it is the existential crisis of our species. And the DNC won’t allow candidates who participate in “unsanctioned” debates participate in DNC hosted debates.
Fortunately, there’s the media to keep us in line and informed, right? That’s why last week, safe as milquetoast Joe Biden was on the front page of The New York Times nearly every day, gaffs and all. And no mention of the other candidates or their platforms. But why would we want to hear about those other candidates? Joe’s the “front-runner”. Just like Hillary Clinton was the front-runner.
Let’s nod bravely now, and say, “like everything in life, right?”
Maybe what I need to do is stay in the garden with the black flies and Deer flies. There, Carl and I have created a lot of garden beds and filled them with every, single one of the seedlings who survived my tender, loving care this spring. The garden will be very crowded if they all survive. And still the eggplants to plant. More lettuces and kale. Flowers. I’m hoping a few artichokes. We fenced the girls out so they don’t dig things up, and they are on the other side of it, hard at work, scratching and pecking.
The hens are really quite fabulous. They give me perspective and allow me to look about the garden, where I just spread a bale or two of straw and think, wow. The yellow straw is so much brighter, and lighter than the dark of the soil. The straw will reflect the heat, not soak it in. That’s good for the earth. And then I look about me, at the barn swallows swooping in the air, and the Killdeer scurrying along the gravel driveway. The turkeys in the distance and I realize I am surrounded by dinosaurs. And that I adore them. And the box turtle, too, who made a remarkable imitation of a rock. And then was gone. Just like that. For being so slow, they move like lightning.
Being in nature. Being here. Does that do any good? Carl and I have been imagining bigger than us actions. There’s the Jaffrey Climate Initiative, that’s apparently got a reputation around town for being full of crazy people. In fact, all we want to do is prepare for the inevitable changes.
And there’s the idea of buying and renovating a downtown building, turning it into a net zero community center, a place to meet for a drink and a meal, to buy local produce, and that’s just the beginning. The building will embody the vision of what we want the future to be. Resilient, sustainable, community-driven. The idea is out of my comfort zone but if I thought it would make a difference, I’d do it.
Jaffrey doesn’t much like change, and too many people don’t see the forest for the trees, even as the trees topple. And that’s what gets me out of my funks: the radical, transformative potential of these times requires us to go bold and big. Like the Green New Deal, and Inslee on climate, Warren on economies, Gabbard on war. It’s time to take those uncomfortable leaps. Go ahead. Figure out what your base is, how you ground yourself, and then open your arms wide, embrace the change, and jump.
I’m entirely unconvinced that this Friday’s post will be about nuclear energy because that is so old-fashioned. I guess we’ll see what comes out on Friday.