Life Goes On

Fall                                                                          Harvest Moon

landscape_Kingsnorthweb-PieterBruegelTheElder-768x563

When the September issue of High Country News came, the poem below was in the Letters to the Editor section. As a result of reading Calvert’s article in the July HCN, I found the dark ecology movement, focused on how to survive the ecocide. I found something liberating in its grim acceptance of a future ready to come for us no matter what some of us believe. (see the post Ecocide)

Then I read this letter, this poem. It’s been on my mind since then. Specifically, I find Vedovi-Rinker’s perspective challenging: “deep thinkers…make laments…And the world goes on.”

Lost-WaysShe’s right, of course. Here’s another and I think similar response at its root, from the website Lost Ways:

THE CRISIS WE SHOULD ALL PREP FOR

is what folks 150 years ago called daily life:

…no electrical power, no refrigerators, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyperactive law enforcement, and no Safeway or Walmart. 
They got things done or else we wouldn’t be here

Thrive

Thrive

 

 

On a similar vein, perhaps probing deeper into the collective psyche, Costco announced today a one-year survival food pack for $999.00 called Thrive. Only $3,999.00 for a family of four! I say probing deeper because Costco seems to be moving survivalist prep into the regular commercial sector.

I sense a movement in the force, a darkening of our view toward the future, even toward hope. What would change, if we followed Vedovi-Rinker’s advice? What if, to paraphrase her: We got in touch with our planet. Listened deep. Were silent. What then?

from HCN September 4th, 2017

A Response to Brian Calvert’s article  “Down the Dark Mountain” (HCN, 7/24/17):

Yes, all these famous men
these deep thinkers
we revere
make laments
in beautiful words
while the world goes on.

While women give birth, nurse babies
care for sick and dying parents.
While nuns shelter the poor,
teach in ghettos, visit death row prisoners,
quietly, without fanfare
loving castaways.

And the world goes on.

Our Gaia soul, our planet,
what we are made of,
cannot be killed.

The feminine
in men and women
gives birth
takes care of life
no matter what.

My advice to these despairing men
is to get in touch
with our planet.
listen deep. Be silent.

Then and only then,
do what you can.

 

Onorina Vedovi-Rinker
Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Ecocide

Lughnasa                                                            Kate’s Moon

86Dark ecology. I discovered it when reading this article, How to Survive the Ecocide, by Brian Calvert, editor-in-chief of High Country News. It led me to this article in Orion, the thinking person’s environmental magazine, Dark Ecology, by Paul Kingsnorth and this website, The Dark Mountain Project

Dark ecology looks the worsening climate change reality in the face and says, “We’re not going to change our ways fast enough.” Thus, ecocide. Driven by an aesthetic need to be honest, to say what is, not what we wish could be, dark ecology takes us away from the politics of fear-mongering toward a grim acceptance.

Politics is driven by hope, even when also motivated by fear. The situation is this-expensive health insurance, crumbling roads, a tyrannical regime (yes, I’m talking about D.C. and Pyongyang)-and we want to do something about it. Just raising this possibility means our hope, our expectation, is that we can effect real change.

Abandon all attachment to the results of action and attain supreme peaceThus, to eschew hope is to cut the political nerve, to mute its messages. Losing hope, attacking hope runs against the human spirit, yet it is built in to our finitude. None of us escape death. In that sense, bracket all the hoohah about life after death, life is hopeless. Yet. Acknowledging this ultimate element of hopelessness vivifies life, gives our lives color, piquancy, drive. Of course, yes, it can also lead to despair, a sense of futility. Which attitude colors our days depends on how we absorb the reality of death into our life.

My suspicion is that Dark Ecology is the planetary equivalent of acknowledging our own death. There is no question about the fate of the earth as a planet. It will die in the fusion driven expansion of our very source of life, the sun. Yes, it’s billions of years away, but this end is no less certain than our individual deaths. So the planet will not be saved, anymore than anyone of us will be saved. Note that this is not a moral issue, death itself is neither bad nor good, like life itself, it just is.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetClimate change itself may bring about the demise of the human species, along with thousands, millions of other species, but the planet itself will survive our folly. For a while. Facing the possible death of the human race might vivify us, might inspire us in the same way our own death can. Or, it might drive us to despair and futility, as our own death can.

My sense today is that I will follow the dark ecology path, owning the probability of our capitalist driven lemming like behavior resulting in our extinction. The question, then, is what comes next? Read the articles. They have some ideas. Not sure any of them are for me, right now anyhow. Gotta come up with my own. A later project.

 

 

Aarrgghhh

Midsommar                                                          New (Kate’s) Moon

Struggling with the reimagining project. It doesn’t seem to have any fire, any passion behind it right now. I’ve decided to keep at it until fall just to see if the usual bump I get in September/October will make a difference. If it continues to lag in terms of motivation, I’m going to jettison it as a project and focus on reconstructionist Judaism.

There is a conflict that may be at the heart of this: should I keep my political fire alive or should I let it fade? The argument for letting it fade is a focus on novels, Judaism and learning the west. They will inform my legacy, too, and perhaps at this point in life they deserve my full attention. Yet. Politics =’s responsibility in my inner world. Perhaps there is a new way to engage, one that still involves the sort of thinking I’ve been doing on Reimagining. This line of thinking will occupy me, too, as the days tick over through Samhain. On the Celtic New Year I’ll make up my mind.

Working on the Book

Midsommar                                                  Most Heat Moon

finger-moon-hoteiStill figuring out how to go about writing a non-fiction book. As a next step, I combed through some material, including the post below and came up with categories. Then, I created file folders for each category. I know, pretty obvious, right? Well, not till it came to me. Now I have to fill them up. My idea is to use the folders as the source material for chapters. Again, pretty obvious. But, again. Not until I thought of it. Reinventing the wheel. Reimagining faith.

Here are the categories:

Great Wheel, Sacred Calendars, Iroquois-seventh generation thinking, Seasonal Rituals, Time, Paleoastronomy

Emergence, Becoming Native to This Place, How a Forest Thinks, Great Work, Original Relation, Beyond the Boundary, Nature Writers, Shinrin Yoku, Wild, Wilderness

Mysticism, Symbolism, Romanticism, Self

Scrambling Around.

Midsommar                                                            Most Heat Moon

eduardo_kohn_how_forests_think_lHere are the key conceptual elements I’ve already assembled for reimagining: emergence, becoming native to this place, the Great Wheel and similar sacred calendars focused on seasonal change, rituals associated with those changing seasons from many cultures, shinrin yoku and its relatives, Iroquois prayer and Iroquois seventh generation thinking, the Great Work, How a Forest Thinks, nature writers and their various approaches, paleoastronomy, original relation to nature and beyond the boundary thinking. These may require editing, probably will require editing. There may be, probably will be, deletions and additions, but these are my starting point.

After a quick scan of my Reimagining bookshelf, I noticed a couple of other elements: Romanticism and the idea of the self. Still not sure how to go about prepping for this work. I’m a fiction guy and I prefer to sit down, start writing, see what happens next. Suppose I could try that here, but it seems unlikely to produce anything coherent.

David_and_Goliath_-1700sMaybe, what, read a book or two from each category, see where that takes me? Rough out a reading plan and outline after that? Or, there’s that 200,000 word dump from Ancientrails. The posts deal in some way or another with reimagining. Read them all the way through, too? This is the sweat of the intellect, confusion. Not unexpected at this point, but still frustrating.

Guess I’ll just keep poking around for a while, see where that gets me. Maybe write summaries at least weekly, if not daily. Perhaps right here. Eventually it’ll come into focus.

The Journey Ahead

Beltane                                                                             Moon of the Summer Solstice

Look for a new post here each Sunday.

In some ways the reimagining work feels too thin. It doesn’t offer salvation, though it might offer remediation. It doesn’t imply or even have the tools for a human ethic beyond one that enjoins us to become friendly to our mother. It doesn’t have that deep resonance that thousands of years of human affection, intellectual pursuit, spiritual imagination offers in most of the world’s religions. It runs the danger of being concocted, a sort of ecological scientology. It will hit the world with little history and no ethnic/national roots to commend it to anyone.

It may, it might, turn these distinct disadvantages into real assets, however. It will not be implicated in the past or present failures of chauvinistic religionists. It will not get mired in the political economics of the nation states, though it will have a critique of them. If done as I hope, it may serve as an ur-faith, a place agnostics, atheists, Taoists, Jews, Sikhs and Christians might find common cause. Its resonance, if it gains one, will come from the deep and abiding instinctual love for mother earth we all have, even if it’s buried by materialism, by political ideology or next world focused theology.

The work has begun, a bit ahead of schedule. Somehow though, as I start, I find myself bogging down, feeling the challenge may be too much, too hard. Can I stretch an argument past the length of a blog post or a sermon? I don’t really know. Guess I’m about to find out.

I will report here regularly as the work progresses.