Phoenix Riting! – February 15th, 2024


I’ve been thinking a lot over the winter. So much thinking, keeping my brains warm. Winter is a good time for that, but now the nettles are up! Yummm… And our garlic is up, daffodils are springing forth, there are snowdrops galore. The world is awakening once again. Oh, glorious spring, you never fail us, every year you return, no matter how hard and cold and dreary the winter has been. Yes, it’s only February, but even if it snows and blows and the buds freeze on the trees, you know that spring is right here, waiting beneath the guise of winter. The second the temperature rises again everything will pick up where it left off. Today, the sun is shining, and yes, it froze overnight, but that’s nothing. Spring can handle it.


I was born in spring (April), so it’s my season. Summer is great, but a bit much really. Autumn is pretty but it comes before (ugh) winter. Spring is the soft season, the strong season, full of promise and joy. I’m feeling good! (And my album is almost finished! More on that when the time comes.)


Even when I peek through the electronic window onto the world, my body remains firmly planted on the ground of glorious spring. The human world is spinning off its kilter, politically, emotionally, intellectually. Crazy rules.


Oh the world is weird! The world is wide! Many things are possible, and they are all happening at once. Here on Hornby, we are beyond privileged. We are blessed. To live here of all places is a gift no one has earned, and as a consequence we carry a responsibility to care for this fragile environment. We have escaped wildfires, so far, thanks to our ever-diligent firefolk and watchful citizenry. Our island remains a paradise and everybody wants to be here.


An argument I hear repeated–over and over in fact–goes something like this:


“Just because you live on that island, doesn’t give you the right to keep other people out. Everybody else has the same right you have to come and go as they please. Who the heck do you people think you are?”


This argument holds no water. If everybody who wanted to be here was here, what makes Hornby so attractive would die. We have already slid across the line into multi-unit housing developments, with more to come if we ever get our affordable housing project on Beulah Creek built. Maybe we can stop it there, but only if we empower ourselves with the right to say, no, that is quite enough. Growth is fine, but it needs to be planned for, and limited if the infrastructure cannot sustain it.


In answer to the question, who gave us the right to be gatekeepers here? Nobody had to. Rather than claiming some sort of abstract ‘right’, we instead have the responsibility to the island as a whole, including its wildlife population, and we hold an obligation to stand up for their right to live in peace without undue disturbance to their habitats and feeding/breeding grounds.


Humans are a strange species. We evolved as prey, with all the emotional reactiveness of a prey species. We were–we are–scared all the time. So over the past few hundred years, we developed technologies to keep us safe, warm and fed. Then just to make sure, we developed bigger, more powerful technologies to make certain no other creature, no lion, no tiger or bear, could ever hurt us again. Bigger! More powerful! Let them fear us! Raaahrr! Humans now call ourselves apex predators, thanks to our technologies. Of course, if we were dropped naked into a lion’s den, we would not pose the lions any sort of difficulty. We would merely be a tasty meal.


It’s time to question our human drive to beat up and dominate the rest of the world. We need to take a collective step back and find out how we can harmonize within the context that created us. We belong to the world, it doesn’t belong to us. We are not predators, even though we can pretend to be, with our fancy toys and massive power structures that enable us to destroy and create beyond our former wildest dreams. At core, we are soft and weak. We walk upright to expose our hearts, we have soft bellies and arms that can spread wide to care and hold. Humans evolved to love. It’s time to claim our birthright. And it starts right where we are–here and now–on this beautiful piece of paradise. We can and should care for our visitors, yes. But let’s not forget who we are and what our responsibility is to our small piece of the world.

Author: TIG