Sunday, July 29, 2007

Feeling Hot

Why, God, why?

What in the world would possess me to take a weekend subscription of the Denver Post?  Because, reading it this morning, it just filled me with anger and frustration.

And I'm not even talking about the story where two burglars broke into the home of a family of four, beating the couple and the two daughters inside and then torching the place, so that only the dad escaped alive, somehow.

I'm not just talking about the continuous wreckage in Iraq, the fear and the violence there, and the "Perspectives" section, detailing so-called editorials encouraging us to "stay the course" that even though the "occupation can't be won" the "war can be." 

And it wasn't just the editorial by the woman, expertly coiffed and coyly smiling at the camera, who argued against buying organic produce because, effectively, there is no difference between organic and conventional.  Science-schmience.  Truth-schmuth.  God praise the farm bill and let's down some rgbh.  If that's your thing, that's your thing.  I won't blow my top.

What I'm talking about is the story on trout in the rivers of Yellowstone park, whose numbers are dwindling rapidly because the streams and rivers are getting too warm in the afternoon, thanks to the drought and the record-high, nation-wide temperatures.  "Some" experts, the article tell us, "think" it "might" be related to global warming (what, does everyone work for the White House?).  But mostly people are just pissed off that their fishing vacations might be canceled, or their tackle businesses hit.

Really.  Is that so.

I hate cynicism.  I'm not trying to be cynical.  But it's difficult to contain my anger over this issue.  The obfuscation of the science, the lack of political will, the insane consumerism and stubborn unwillingness to even acknowledge this might be happening:  all make me so, so angry.  And the more changes we make to our lifestyle in an effort to live in accordance with our values, to be less wasteful, to be better citizens, the less patience I have with those who just do not give a shit.  Because, really, there is just too much at stake not to bet on the side that this is all happening, and that it could be really, really bad.

We took the girls to the river today for a picnic.  The sound of a river is maybe one of my favorites in the world.  I remember being a kid and going camping and feeling totally at peace by the side of a river, lying on my back, looking up at pine boughs and smelling the deep sweetness of the outdoors.  Being beside a river still makes me feel this way, except now the innocence is gone out of it.  I can't help but think about the fact that the water in the river is too polluted for my girls to drink out of; that I wouldn't eat a fish caught out of that river, if there happened to be any in it that survived the contaminants; that someday the streams and trees that I love so much might be dried up, dessicated, undermined by landslides.  Then, I wonder, how much longer we will be able to survive in such a world?

I get so worked up over it all that I've had to find some way to deal with the panic, the threat of all of this destruction, my fear that I might see this world become unlivable in my life time, or that my girls will.  So I have to remind myself, over and over, that we are all eternal, that the earth is eternal, and filled with the divine.  We are all more than our present circumstances.  If I don't tell myself this, and breathe as deeply as I can, I despair too much and can't fully appreciate things as they are now, in all of their troubled beauty.  That would also be a shame, to not be fully with things as they are now, instead of mired in fear over the future.

Still, I feel angry.  Most of all at the president, at his ignorance and brutality, which comes as close to embodying evil as I can imagine.  I can't even summon the grace to seek out what might be divine in him.  I feel angry at people who, when a cool breeze blows through town, laugh and say, "So much for global warming, huh?"  I'm over all of this.  I'm over the idea that there is any "debate" about whether this is happening.  I'm over staying silent when people laugh it off.  Mostly, I'm hoping Gore re-ups.  Because at least I know it's his issue; I know for sure it's mine. 

For now, I will try to appreciate the winds blowing through the many old-growth trees on our property without wondering if they are growing in intensity because of climate change, or trying to estimate how long those trees will survive once things get hotter.  I will speak to my girls as if their futures hold boundless opportunities.  I will try to cling not too tightly to fear, but blow it from my hands out into those winds, like so many specks of sand, hot and glistening in the sun.


  1. Beautiful reflection. I hear every word of it and share your "heat" about it. I've been turning my affirmative prayer in the direction of seeing people rise up and deal, taking ownership from change, refusing complacency. And suddenly I start noticing all these little and larger organizations like that are doing stuff, which makes me want to get more involved, which makes me want to do more in my classes, which starts conquering my own overwhelm. It helps.

  2. As the collective consciousness grows, it begets the necessary change. Jen, as you're embracing the wind that passes through those old trees, see if you can witness the actual growth of that tree. Universal time is far greater than we can perceive. We are all on the right path. Being conscious of our own involvement is all we can be responsible for.
    Thank you for your utterly profound voice. May the wind carry it up up up....

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