What a time we’re in! Just when we West Coasters think the climate crisis has given us more than enough to handle – heat dome & forest fires – then flooding, mudslides & highway collapses occur – all in less than a year. That’s huge. These events show us that Mother Nature is not so predictable, and that we are no less vulnerable than humans anywhere. And we’re not out of the time of Covid, by any means. Covid weariness sets in, new variants appear, and we are reminded that there is so much in life we cannot control. These aspects of Covid are the same world-wide. And while effects of the virus are felt unequally, everyone in our world community IS affected. The US ramps up its new cold war with China & Russia, and those countries form a new alliance to counter it all. Worldwide we are impacted by the belligerent posturing of the most militarized nations. Worry, concern, fear, anger, hopelessness, denial, escapism – we all struggle at times with these feelings and impulses; it is part of being fully human.
Despite the idea that we are socialized to think tribally, and in terms of small tribes at that, the fact remains that we have 7.5 billion people struggling to survive on our magnificient planet, our shared homeland. We must expand our idea of who belongs in our tribe. To romanticize a kind of ideal past that we experienced from a particular subjective lens may not be helpful in times like this. That was then and we are here now. It is what it is. Maybe we can put that romantic vision to work in creating a better reality right now. I find comfort in remembering that there is no perfect package and a vision is never fully realized. Visionary ideas are the stuff of our beautiful imaginations and they are precious. Let’s just not mix up fantasy with reality; we need to know the difference.
Our challenge, it seems to me, is to truly learn to be here now, and keep a sharp eye on the future. How will this decision I am making right now impact the future? Not just my future, what about the future of my community, of our world? I like what writer Cormac McCarthy said on the subject; to paraphrase: it’s not the mess we’re in right now that really matters. It’s looking back at the crossroads where the decision that led to this predicament was made. What was that choice I made and how has it played out? What might I have done differently? To me, he is talking about responsibility, on all levels of our being. And we now are in a time of reexamining the idea of societal responsibility for “the mess we’re in”. And what about the gross inequities in impact? No wonder so many are anxious and/or depressed right now! These are big times. Reminds me of the title of the late Elizabeth Fischer’s song: Dark Blue World. We are in a necessary time of taking a hard look into that dark blue world, a time of descent.
Where to take heart? Well, we can consider another phenomenon that impacts us all worldwide – the inexpressible beauty of the cosmos. The wonder of Winter Solstice is approaching and this year especially, its constancy and its message of renewal are a great gift to us. We travel inexorably into the dark during the descent, each day with a little less light, the sun’s precious warmth a fleeting feeling, the chill settling in. And each & every year, without fail, we see the return to the light, whether we deserve it or not! I find this a comforting metaphor and a reminder from the universe to stay with it, to keep heart, and to remember that yes, we are in a time of descent; and we will be in a time of turning, a time once again of ascending to the light. As slowly as that may come, it surely will.
Solstice Greetings everyone!