This week is recovery week from a terrible cold and a fall last weekend when camping. Yet, as is with most things in life that are semi-healthy in the least, which I think I am, my scars are healing nicely, the cold is going away, and my long run is coming up this weekend. Today and yesterday were what I think of as recuperative hikes–stretching-legs, healing walks of three miles each. Early on in this blog, I compared keeping one’s body healthy to keeping the planet healthy. Sometimes, with our own bodies, we don’t have much control–if there are stubborn diseases, for instance. Yet, if we’re lucky to not be terminally ill, we can usually fix ourselves when needed. However, I find with the planet, we also have all the control in the world to keep it healthy. And we’re blowing it.
I recently heard a saying, “the age of consequence.” This seems to apply to our generations who have contributed to mass deforestation, carbon emissions, and ruinous soil, water, air, and other erosion/degradation due to industry production and development, from animal production to monocrops to pollutants to urban and housing construction–enough so that we live on a polluted, broken planet that is now also, for the first time ever, changing because of one of its species. Us. We aren’t really so incredibly smart. Yet, the ones who will feel the consequences of climate change are likely the ones who have never truly contributed to it–poverty-stricken people who don’t consume worldly items, those on low-lying islands, and, further, those who are not even born yet.
Part of the problem seems to be that societies think they always have to grow to survive. That we have to always surpass some arbitrary point in gross national product or money or housing or industry sales. No, we do not have to grow at all. Because unlimited growth is entirely unsustainable from an environmental standpoint. Who are these industry leaders who never once stopped to consider our natural resources ought to best be of use not used, not maximized to the point of environmental degradation. Who are the leaders who cannot understand a simple model of limitations and balance. We don’t have to grow at all. We should shrink. We should get small. We should grow some humility if we must grow anything. We should think more logically. It’s all very simple, yet something humanity, overall, is unable to do–and it’s mostly due to the populous “American Dream” and traditional manifest destiny and colonization/assimilation mindsets. We just can’t get over ourselves, can we? Our mindsets determine consumerists and growth lifestyles and narratives that we’re just the most powerful, free, and great blah blah blah, which led to climate change. Those suffering the consequences, on the other hand, are not most of us yet. I include myself in this messy, awkward population of those who grew up in lazy comfort–only who now realize the problems and are ready for discomfort.
We have fallen from grace, somewhere along the line. Grace being the idea of not religious favor but of honoring one’s habitat, or the world that was here before we crawled onto her wild shores and began to colonize it to the point of no return.
Excuse my lofty rant today, but falling is something we do. We’re human. We fall. We gotta get up and do it right the next time. If we can just admit our accidents, even our non-accidental but really terribly judged actions and decisions, we should be on the way toward doing the right thing.
Speaking of fall, or autumn, I am looking forward to the season in a sense but still am enjoying the deep of summer. We have not had another horrid drought this summer, and the rains have been brief and cleansing. We’re now in the midst of very hot summer weather, though, and I drink it up like a good red wine. Constant blue skies during the day and magnificent star cover at night. Last night we laid out on the balcony on a quilt and watched the Perseid meteor shower (which are on again tonight, for anyone who, like us, can stay up later). We saw several good ones but had to go to bed at a decent hour so we could get up early this morning. Why wish for autumn just yet when there are days and nights like these. Sure, running in the heat is kind of a drag, but it’s part of running. I figure it’s a good idea to be present-happy than always looking forward to the next cool phase of life or backward to living in the past. Prepare for a better world; remember and honor our past and our gone loved ones is my thinking. So for now I’m happy to be turning into a late summer bug happily flitting in the pools of sunshine and being aware of the nature surrounding me. John Denver was so right when he sang about sunshine on your shoulders–what better richness is there than that simple thing in life?
I did notice yesterday on the trail, too, that leaves are already falling. And school is ready to start up again in just over two weeks. I’ll take the pumpkin spice and fireplace candles later, however, and my special mulled wine with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg when it’s time. I’ll take the silent, ghostly leaf spirits carousing across the back deck in piles…later. I’ll get ready for another household full of family and friends on Thanksgiving, later.
Now I will spend evenings with a lone chair, my partner in various balance exercises. I will do painful squats to strengthen my core. I will stare at the endless amazement of stars with my other half. I will do some baking with eggplant, zucchini squash, and garden parsley. I will continue to pick pole beans and dry them out for making my Mammaw’s great shucky beans. I will keep watching my pumpkin patch, which is now carefully guarded with an actual cage to deter whatever is eating the baby pumpkins. I will wake up to mist or sunshine and revel in the last heat of the year before we dip into the long, rainy season.