I’ve been woken up lately, in the middle of the night. Fears have visited me in the darkness. This happened last year, too. Fears of what the new year might bring. There are whispers of drought, disease, destruction. The Karma of decades of Earth-abuse. Radiation. Petrochemical spills. I never knew it would be so hard to be grown up, caring for three tender little beings of innocence, trying to protect them from the horrors of the world we were born into.
It doesn’t help to have spent time with extended family….Ethan’s cousin who has grown up to be a corporate lawyer. He takes poor, sick people with unpaid medical bills to court to persecute and prosecute them. Nice. Not to mention my cousin who is an engineer for Exxon. The family is so proud of his salary. Good Christians, all of them. “Truly it is difficult for a rich man to gain the kingdom of heaven.” For what has he won, he who gains the world, but loses his own soul?
I’ve been reading the most depressing book. That must be it. It shouldn’t be a depressing book. It’s called Tending the Wild, and it’s about how the ecosystems of California depended on human beings for how beautiful and fruitful it was. They managed the landscape as a kind of wild garden. Wilderness, to them, suggests the land not being fruitful, not in the care of human beings. To really respect nature, they say, you must depend on it. We are also part of the ecosystem. It’s beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. Especially the descriptions of what the land once looked like. It reminds me so much of Bartram’s descriptions of Florida – clean water, animals everywhere, flowers, food, abundance and beauty. We don’t even know what we’ve lost, what we’ve been denied.
The best I can do with this, I have come to realize, is to think for myself. What can I do to improve the way I live? How am I contributing to this unhealthy society?
It’s tough. The tentacles of media brainwashing and materialism are strong. I found myself, just this winter, struggling with that. Feeling bad because I only have a few sets of clothes. Feeling ashamed, as if it were something bad to not have lots and lots. How much is enough?
If there’s anything I’ve noticed in my lifetime, it’s that anything worn with confidence is in style. Well, I’m deciding that frugality and conservation of resources is in style for me this year.
What New Year’s resolutions whisper to you from the darkness?