Monday, June 6, 2011

spring greens

(Or, thoughts had while driving home at 11 pm on a foggy Sunday night, and written down and posted shortly thereafter.)

Spring is here. Leaves are out on the trees, and it's a relief. After fog and rain and cold, and feeling like our climate is changing, I'm so glad to see trees just bursting with new life, covered in lush greenness. A promise that there will be a summer, that there is some normalcy.

Well, I mean, OK, I'm not just feeling it, the climate is changing. We all know that by now, don't we? I mean, tornadoes, hurricanes, and scientific data that just won't quit? Can we all stop saying "well maybe it's something that is supposed to happen every 10,000 years by itself" - anyone who's ever had anything to do with alcoholism can tell you, that's denial, people.

I like a comic I saw recently somewhere online that was some scientists at a climate conference. There was a list on a whiteboard of "benefits of reducing our impact on the world" - things like "healthier kids" and "better food" and "stronger communities". One guy in the audience stood up and said "Yeah but what if it's all a hoax and we make a better world for NOTHING?"

That's pretty much how I feel.

Like, can't we stop arguing over whether or not it's a hoax, and just do the right thing already? Because even if somehow it is a big hoax, isn't reducing our voracious use of the planet's resources a really great thing?

Most of the time I feel like standing in the middle of a street, or a mall, or anywhere at all, and just yelling "Wake the fuck up everyone!" Just yelling it, over and over and over. Partly because I like saying the word "fuck". (If you thought I was only a "sweetheart" and that I never offend anyone, you were wrong. Sorry.) Partly because I want everyone to WAKE THE FUCK UP. And then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ALREADY.

But doing that makes you a social pariah and people don't listen anyway.

And besides, people wake up individually and unfortunately we do not, as a world, collectively make decisions.

So what to do?

Hunker down. Shop at the farmer's market (and get asparagus and greens in season, and eat the earth's rhythms to instill them in yourself). Laugh and dance to make yourself feel less crazy, and let the real feelings OUT. Talk to like-minded people, like I do with my friend Kate, with whom I try and walk once a week. We talk about this feeling of living in two worlds. One is the world of cars and TV shows and getting your food at the supermarket, frozen, in pretty packages, and being "normal", ordering things and talking about next year like the world we live in is never going to change. Like "positive growth always" is actually possible, like we live on a magic planet with infinite resources and a reset button. The other is the world of fear, of who knows what might happen, of eating dandelion greens and scrounged beans and needing to know how to shoot a gun because everything has collapsed due to Peak Oil. And these days? It feels like those two worlds are starting to merge. Like I said, tornadoes and hurricanes. Scientific data that just will not quit. That just keeps coming.

I gotta admit some stuff. I like driving. No, scratch that, I love it. I do. I'm an environmentalist (and sometimes just a mentalist - ask my family) and I love driving. I'm not saying I love what it does to the planet. Nor what it has done to cities and communities. But I do love it. I love doing it. I love the freedom. I love the speed. I love pressing on the gas and feeling my car speed up, go faster. I am in control, my hands are on the wheel. I can take myself there.

Also, today I shopped at WalMart. Not that I do this all the time, but it was kind of nice. There was so much stuff. It was abundant, and shiny, and well-ordered and cheap. I watched people and sort of took in how they pushed their carts and the neat stories of each person I didn't know. I actually enjoyed myself.

I think it's important to recognize these things about myself. About ourselves. That I am so NOT perfect. That I do not stand apart from the world, that I am part of it.

The other day at work some men were talking about how they're going to travel, whether they're going back to the US by plane or by car. One said, "We're flying, so I'm not sure when we'll get back." "No, no," said the other one. "Remember, for that leg we're driving." Then, sardonically, sarcastically, but (I got the sense) not as aware as I was of the full meaning of what he said, "We're controlling our own destiny."

Man, have we ever fooled ourselves. But it feels good, doesn't it?

(She said ironically, but also earnestly. Sadly. And in some weird way, because she's a sensitive one, with joy.)

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