Witnessing or perceiving environmental/habitat destruction is something of despair. I experience a feeling of hopelessness, disbelief, and helplessness – and when this happens commonly, it becomes our norm. Most people I have talked with have experienced this at some point in their formative years, and it has greatly contributed to our current state of apathy here in the U.S.
I have written about this for years, but published (The Secret Life of Streams) to help children avoid a state of apathy. To jolt us as adults into actually creating space and time for our engagement. Get out to that which you love. I believe active engagement and familiarity, heartfelt emotional connection, is what will save our communities and our world. And yet, teachers and other adults, can become so overburdened we take on an overwhelm that looks like being beaten down. In the Nevada Reads Week conferences over the last few years, I echoed wisdom that active environmental pursuits and engagement fight apathy among teachers, and their students.
What is the balance between being educated, and being overwrought?
Have you seen your childhood meadow, creek, one ancient tree with hollow limbs that was your spaceship, your pirate ship, your clubhouse… paved over? That place that was your secret safe space… that place where your heart felt held, comfy, and open?
I have. And so has everyone I know. This is not normal around the planet. We need only look to countries where open spaces are protected, family properties stay in the family for many generations, where there is constancy and connection, to know better. England. Sweden. Paraguay. And yet, vigilance is needed. Being woke.
We are such a young country. From unregulated development, to ignored rules for protecting our water resources (“it’s easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission to break rules”), to well-intentioned master plans being revised for the sake of development in allowing Less Than Common Sense to prevail where well thought out guidelines and planning had previously been in place. These are one form of the great cancers of our time. Praising the expansion of hardscape in a twisted form of manifest destiny, ignoring the heart of community. The heart of generations.
Not just here, but everywhere. This planet is not limitless! Forsaking the lifeblood of our breathing planet, rather than gathering around the fire to celebrate, to create common ties, common desires, and common unity with our neighbors. We are distracted daily by a lack of tax returns, by dishonest and false media, by politicos who promise change and deliver an erosion of civil rights, womens’ rights, school funding, lest people again begin to critically think and question this new status quo that keeps rats running harder than before. By the unfunding of the arts, which reaches across time, space, race, and unbringing to a shared human condition, which creates community and gives us a common thread to weave with.
So until we find this thread, trace it back to its source, and learn to get real with it, to dance it and romance it, to see its roots and wings as our own…there will be no saving our planet, our mother. This requires us getting out INTO it. That which we appreciate most. Give it our attention, for where our attention goes, energy flows. Celebrate this place. This state. This space. This time.
Reclaim what has turned into Anger. Do something. Get it out of your body and move it. Hike it. Run it. Stretch it. Transform it into exhileration. Into celebration. And turn off the news. Consciously decide where you will place your valuable, precious intention. Your focus. Your heartspace. Maybe start just right now. And right here.
When the hawks lost some of their sequoias down the street this last week, I grieved. Then, our family put up a new birdhouse and a bat box. My sweetie put a new tree in the ground yesterday and we blessed it heartily. I danced as I watered our garden with more intention this morning.
It is time to light that fire in the darkness, and pick up the thread that can save us all. Your thread. My thread. Our voice. It is time.