The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
This we all know. The data is catastrophic: 390, soon to be 400, and sloping upward; 7 billion soon to be 8 billion, and sloping upward; species extinctions sloping upwards… the steep climb lies before us.
We are entering a period where catastrophe will become the norm and the fraying of the web of life will seem too much to bear.
And we all “go down” in the face of this. Every day these statistics bear down upon us and we find it harder to bear up.
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
The earth will abide. The earth will survive the statistics we impose upon it. We are short-lived. The oldest Bristlecone pine has lived 4700 years, so far.
In the next century, “if we make it,” if our unprecedented shopping spree comes to its inevitable end, as it must, things may get better over time. Perhaps, in a hundred years or so.
The economic party that has been the second half of the twentieth century has fostered more shopping than anyone would have predicted, more shopping than has ever taken place anywhere at any time. (Paco Underhill Why We Buy: the Science of Shopping)
We push our carts over concrete laid upon the earth but, in what to the earth is the briefest moment, that concrete will crumble and return to living soil and the crap we bought, made from resources wrenched from the earth at the expense of the web of life, will be dust and ashes.
Yet the collective, suicidal insanity that we call our economy is, right here and now – right in our lifetimes, turning the world in which we live into monetized, commodified misery.
If, if, we can make it through this misery there are those who say there is a brighter future awaiting those who survive. I’d like to think there is. In those peaceful valleys and pastures perhaps we can become the people, to our lasting shame, that we have failed to become as of today.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers
Those who “make it,” those who survive the climb up the slopes of statistics and down the other side will be those who have learned to
learn the flowers
It is what we must teach our children.
(poetry: Gary Snyder For the Children)