We have entered the 2020’s. The decade, I believe, of the demise of what we took for granted as we-the-privileged of the United States feasted on the last course of the banquet set before us by fossil fuels and empire.
This has been a healing, glorious and difficult year for me. I want to name a few in each category.
:: 4 local friends diagnosed with brain cancer, two already perished. And more cancers, more dreaded treatments, poor prognoses and deaths. Perhaps this is what it’s like to be 75, though I am sure each of you has laid loved ones to rest and sent part of your heart into the earth with them.
:: The shock and grief as I woke up to the inevitability and adjusted timetable of ecosystem and civilizational collapse. I “knew” it. For years. But this year the thought of prevention or even management of the unleashed forces evaporated, and thus my life as an activist. It rewrote my history, present and future.
:: I’ll admit that Trump (Bolsonaro, Putin, Piñera, Boris, Xi, Koch Brothers, the US military and crew) have gotten me down and I commit to sweeten my mind an delighten my heart intentionally for the rest of my days. As Aldo Leopold says, “we cannot bring back what has been lost but we can bring our whole selves to what is here.“
:: Two streams of work have given me a path to walk: Regenerative agriculture and Deep Adaptation.
The Global Earth Repair conference in Port Townsend woke me up to the clear and present power of regeneration practices to reverse CO2 pollution, and thus bring us back from the brink of disaster. By amazing and somewhat random good fortune, I ended the year in Santiago, Chile at the Regeneration International global convergence. May this be the year and decade of Regeneration, may the word and the reality behind it stand beside “renewable energy” as humanity’s path out of the dark labyrinth.
Deep Adaptation, the paper by Jem Bendell and the online groups and forums, have given me a community to metabolize together the science behind our dire situation and a framework for how we humans can walk this maze eyes wide open and with dignity.
:: I also re-befriended with one of my oldest and dearest friends – my ex-husband – and laid to rest a tangled ganglion of pain and joy from another relationship. I reset a third relationship to reflect how we each had changed and brokered a simple reunion with my siblings after 30 chilly years of them not talking. This healing might have been my greatest work of 2019.
:: Besides stumbling on a Samba party in Rio and swaying for hours with joyful Brazilians, most of the glories had to do with direct connection with living beings in the natural world. Singing a one-ton land turtle to sleep with a lullaby. Frolicking with a sea lion. Communing with a bamboo forest and waterfall and bromiliads in Brazil. Swimming in Mother ocean.
:: I’d have to include writing in the glories. When I read something exquisite or craft a sentence that winds around a feeling perfectly – that’s heaven for me. I took a craft course at Centrum. I pray it will save my readers from an excess of compound sentences with subsidiary clauses, no less than 3 metaphors or similes and a dangling participle to prove I can do as I please.
:: And, simply, I LOVE MY FRIENDS. I’m so lucky that each one is in my life.
I know the grief I’ve carried, unwilling to make a cheap peace with it, has been hard for some people to take. I knew I would emerge into a different light after it had applied its full heat to my soul. I promise to not join the Sisters of Perpetual Doom. And to bear witness with love to your encounters with our predicament and your big bright ideas about what’s next. I think nobody knows… but maybe YOU do.
Maybe this is the decade of the apocalypse and I say Yay. We’ve been seeing it on the horizon for so many years, centuries even, and now that it’s upon us we’re going to finally know our mettle.
Laissez les bons temps rouler.