Rebellion Rebirth 2/12/20:
Overwhelming concern for the planet is causing me stress. I’m not the only one, I know; friends have told me they had trouble sleeping after Trump was elected. This sadness and fear is far worse than the angst I lived with during the Vietnam War years, when I was afraid of being drafted and losing my grip on myself. I might be a gentle soul, but I have a pretty solid determination to be who I am, because I respect myself as I am. These days at 70 plus, my understanding of the potential harm to the earth that is happening every day is killing me. I have enough years to remember and treasure nature as it was during my adolescence. The butterfly meadows, the pussy willows, the secretive native brook trout that were in each tiny tumbling rivulet, the Milky Way visible every night from everywhere – the deer and turkeys are nice but cannot replace what I once saw with my own eyes. Now that all seems astonishingly long ago.
The pace of Global Warming has accelerated. My mother, an alert suburbanite, was thrilled to see Cardinals in southwestern Connecticut when I was a kid. Previously in her lifetime, their range had ended in northern Jersey. Now I think they are in New Brunswick, and probably Nova Scotia. Her memory lives in me. This knowledge has awakened what was slumbering, an anger in me I didn’t know was there. Yes, anger – that’s it. The patience and peace (born of a Christlike/Zen viewpoint? Or is that complacency) that has sustained me through a lot of tribulations is not working anymore. Bottom line is I love the earth. I LOVE the EARTH. All of it, from the volcanic sea-bottom cracks I’ll never see to the chickadees who sit on my hand for sunflower seeds.
And so I work, I step tentatively into the brave new world of ego-driven action. Don’t seem to have much of an ego, still – I just uncomfortably take one step at a time. Done without an ego this long; love of humanity and this planet (Terra) took its place. That’s untrue – I have some ego, but it hasn’t been what carried me forward. Hoping the last decade and a half of art, music, and prose which has surprisingly gotten me into headlines, TV interviews, and the giving of lectures, will sustain me as I bumble along. Those much quieter efforts (at least they started out that way) are where my heart lies, and I will be looking to use them instead of a pulpit or a street demonstration. In fact, I could argue to myself that this is the first thing I’ve faced in that whole life that has compelled me to turn concern into action, to work this hard. I wonder if I can keep it up.