When I see images of fires in the western states, I find the pictures and stories of human loss and suffering mesmerizing. Maybe it is an exercise in how small is the human and how very vulnerable we are to the great forces of this Mother Earth, our shared home. Maybe it is an exercise which awakens our compassion. When any of us hurts, we are all hurting. Our love and prayers surely go out to those in our human family who are affected.
I have 2 friends in Colorado Springs. I have connected with both. One said earlier they were OK. The second's home was in yesterday's "pre-evacuation" zone in the Colorado Springs. So far, they are safe, but admittedly I watch for news of her whenever I can.
Gee, do we ever know what our version of that feels like from our flood experience in 1997. I will never forget how upside down our lives were at that time. I will never forget how very little we needed beyond our own safety, food and shelter. "We're OK" was a sentence repeated over and over, and it was a sentence felt and heard with relief. It took us years to recover as a family and as a community. It did "get better" as we learned some very big lessons that continue to unfold in our lives.
I woke up this morning wondering about our non-human kin in those places. When we experienced the flood and returned, we discovered a rabbit had made its home during that time period on top of our compost heap. Before that, I never thought about the trees, birds, flowers, bees... How could I have forgotten? They were in the thick of it too. One of my former students was a FEMA worker at Ground Zero in New York for 4 months after "9-11". She talked about the trauma she witnessed in the animals, especially the squirrels.
Climate change is real. Our encroachment upon spaces which really belong to the Earth for her sustainability of Life itself can have potentially devastating effects which we Humans label as "natural disaster". It's as if that little labeling system divorces us from any level of responsibility.
I believe we are being taught some significant lessons through these experiences. I wonder how long it will take before we connect the dots between our human practices and alteration of the Earth's basic ecology, in other words, Her ability to sustain life as we know it. The intrusion upon Her will ultimately intrude upon us. We are all related.
This paragraph may at first seem like a tangent that does not fit. But stay with me, dear Reader, because it is at the core of the dilemma. (Or choose not to.) We are blessed with Female and Male; each has their gifts; balance is important. For 1000s of years, our culture has come out of a patriarchal tradition which elevates "male" above all else. "Male mind" is basically linear in thought and action. The effects on the broader world are not even imagined. They are "outside the frame". Untold damage can happen by "accident", or rather "lack of seeing". "Female mind" is more apt to see interconnections, the interrelationships between the parts, and the whole.
I remember when we lived up north that worldwide disaster researchers who also studied us found that women were more apt to see the potential for natural disasters and to prepare for it. We surely do need a balance of thinking in our world today. Many of the decisions that are made are not working any better than those grocery carts which have wheels stuck on one side. We just seem to be going in circles and we are going faster and faster.
We surely do have lessons to learn. We 3 C's are not perfect, but we are trying to cut down on our use of the Earth's resources. We are trying to live a sustainable life style. We are trying to live in better balance of the gifts of Female and Male. Seeing those images and hearing those stories just keeps us focused on the work that we have to do. Down deep, it is much more satisfying to know at the close of each day that we tried and we are open for lessons that just keep coming.
I shall add to my prayers: prayers for balance, prayers that the human may see the consequence of our actions and change in a way to support life. Who knows how this great drama will unfold? But we all have front row seats.