|Seeds in Spallumcheen Graveyard, September 2020|
I'm struggling hugely to keep on finding positive things to say; positive ways to look at the collapse we're now experiencing and keep seeing a good way forward. They say this is a natural feeling of hopelessness, six months into the pandemic, but I know it's more than the pandemic. The giant, horrible, depressing pandemic is just one small thing that happened to the world this year. Climate change is so much worse. With the ongoing rampage of fires, floods, storms, extinctions, social unrest and ecological collapse, people are spouting F2020 memes all over the place, but we pretty much know next year will be worse. And F2021 just won't have the same ring to it.
I've tried looking away from the news, but my daughter danced into my room this morning, grinning because "Trump has coronavirus", and all my pessimistic mind could think was how that would just create sympathy among his growing number of supporters, and be followed by more hate. Everything he does or doesn't do either supports, provokes or emboldens more hatred. Why? Because Trump isn't the problem; people are. Every single one of us who is running around scared and looking for somebody to either blame or help us is the problem. Every single one of us who hasn't nurtured a feeling of empowered possibility is the problem. And I have nurtured that feeling of empowerment, and yet I'm still feeling so helpless, now. Everywhere I turn is a problem too big for me to solve.
I've spent so much of my life trying to convince myself and those I care for that trust and understanding will carry us through anything; love will save us. I still have love, but we're all afraid to hug the people we love, and we don't know if our homes will burn down or wash away next year, and we don't know if the pandemic will ever end.
Are you waiting for this to turn positive? Me too. What are we going to do, people? How am I going to make it OK that I bore two children into a world without hope? The usual means of supplying hope aren't working. We want to have Thanksgiving under the harvest moon, but it's obscured by smoke - the particles of our southern neighbours, their animals, farms and forests all burned and floating through our sky. We went to meet our new puppy and our son pointed out that the road-trip we took to get to her was ecologically irresponsible. And he was right. I'm still waiting for this to turn positive.
OK here goes: My little grain of hope. I had to get that off my chest in order to get to this; it's the compost from which I hope my little seed will grow. Generosity. Gift. And love, after all.
I turned off my computer, walked away from the stream of bad news: politicians lying, stealing and grappling for power, parents panicking and people dying, forests and neighbourhoods burning; the infestation of moths beginning to lie dead all over the place. I felt the familiar grip of despair around my heart; I made a thermos of tea and went to give a tour to some local gardeners. I work for free, now, most of the time. Under the smoky sky, we talked about the future of their garden, and how they plan to expand it, but with respect and understanding of the wilderness it grew from. They paid me with a kabocha squash, fresh-cut from their land. Then I went with my son to film the next episode of our Outdoor Exploration video series with a local mushroomer. And under the smoky sky we talked about the mycelium spreading itself, below us; the rotting, spore-y mushrooms proliferating themselves all over. She gave me a bunch of lobster mushrooms, which we enjoyed for our dinner. Every week I consult with parents who are struggling during the many stresses of pandemic life. I hear their stories and share mine, and tell them I know they're doing the best they can, and I support them, and sometimes they offer their own services in exchange. My children give food and water to our chickens, and just this week they have begun returning from the coop with eggs. I put seeds in the ground and, despite all odds, they grow.
Can we hold each other through this horrible time, even knowing that it might not end? Can you wrap your arms around me again so I can feel the comfort of not being alone? Can we plant seeds of respect and understanding in each other's hearts; give when and what we can without knowing that anything will grow, but hoping? Can we do this, even in the face of all the horrors? I love you. Whoever you are, and although we haven't met, and no matter how our politics or moral standards may differ, and even if you don't love me back... I love you. Let our love be a well-tended soil, as we keep on planting seeds of hope, even in the face of all odds, and grow.
|I took my kids to see the old church in the town I once lived in, but it was boarded up, so we just stood together and looked at it. Love is constant, even when the world around us changes. September 2020.|