This week, life is bursting all around. I’m sitting at the dining room table as I type this post (on Tuesday), patio door open, birds audible, dog happy to be outside in the sun. Tulips sit on the table in front of me, a gift from my husband for Mother’s Day this past Sunday. My daughter’s gift of a cyclamen with gorgeous magenta flowers is nestled on the windowsill. Our garden is emerging, green shoots poking through the dirt, buds fattening on the crabapple. A chickadee has moved into the birdhouse in that same crabapple.
Every spring, I feel this sort of miraculous renewal, this deep breath of cool air just on the verge of warming up, a sense that we all get a do-over. Another season to try again to care for all these growing things that live right outside our door, to connect with something larger than ourselves. I feel expansive.
This is the perfect way to feel on the heels of what I wrote last week, when the UN report on biodiversity and the looming extinction of 1 million species of wild things made me sad and angry. It’s perfect because this feeling of spring renewal is also a feeling of strength, of knowing that I cannot back out of any commitments to lessen my footprint. Celebrating Mother’s Day with my family last Sunday re-enforced all my reasons to keep doing better – most of these people I love so deeply are, in all likelihood, going to be here after I’m gone and I’m not going to leave a mess for them to have to deal with.
It’s certainly not all in my control. But here’s what is: changing my diet, using available alternatives to plastic, not buying things I don’t need, not wasting food, voting with my dollars as well as at the polling booth, speaking up when it might do good, and developing a thick skin to deflect/redirect arguments from those who believe humans have a right to live any way they want regardless of the damage done when we fail to consider what to do with all the waste we generate.
My kids – who are 24 and 37 – and their partners have been talking about the 2020 presidential election for months now. They have all said that there are too many hopeful candidates who don’t move quickly enough; that they want change now, not years from now. They don’t feel like there’s time to waste, or time to form committees when we already know that action is needed right this minute on climate change, global warming, the structure of our economy, health care. They don’t care that there might be a segment of the population who can’t absorb change so quickly on a society-wide scale; their fear is that there will be nothing left if everyone keeps doing things the same way. Our so-called democracy is too slow and our candidates are not offering solid enough answers.
I don’t blame them. While I worry about the divisions between left and right that seem to deepen every day, and that there is no longer a way to air out both sides of any argument because no one is listening, I know what my kids say has truth in it. There is no time to waste.
We all need to gather our strength and take a logical assessment of how we live. How we use or squander our resources. How we find solace and strength, consider where that comes from. Thoughts and prayers are not the same as action; fear of change might be swapped out for fear of not changing. Nature weeds out those who hesitate too long.
Spring is here. Things are growing, changing, bursting. Embrace the miracle, take the do-over, look nature in the eye and tell her you’ve got her back. After all, she’s been carrying us all since the beginning.
Images in this post by kcmickelson 2019.