Posts tagged ‘climate summit’

September 27, 2019

Build the Universe

by Cynthia

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

 to think about God-

 a worthy pastime.

 Near me, I saw

 a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

Let us hope

It will always be like this,

 each of us going on

In our inexplicable ways

building the universe.

 Mary Oliver

We are all building the universe, one grain, one life, one moment at a time.  Freudrick Buechner’s famous line, “all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace” came to mind one morning when I was sweeping cobwebs from the ceiling corners on the front porch. Fog gathered in the cedar trees below the yard like sheets of grey chiffon. The mist crept up the hillside and enveloped the house as I gulped deep full breaths of cool air. Then the entire house was shrouded in mist, literally consumed by the fog. Vision faded and time suspended. This was a key moment, full of grace and wonder. Moments like this remind me why we left the city and moved into the rural countryside.

One unfortunate consequence of the culture war our nation is embroiled in is that an artificial divide has been erected between urban and rural people. Prejudices and misunderstanding abound, fed by the red/blue political maps of our bifurcated republic. Rural folks don’t all run around in red MAGA hats. We are not uneducated. Many of us have chosen to live in rural communities because we value an agrarian lifestyle, or we seek self-reliance, or we value open space over the conveniences of city life.

Most people in the world do not have a choice about where to live, or what to eat, but for those of us who do, we have a responsibility to be deliberate, to think about how our choices affect the future of the planet and those who come after us.

I haven’t had the guts to review the results of the latest United Nations Climate Action Summit, but news reports of the summit are peppered with words like “dire” and “irreversible”. Unbelievably, the political leaders of the most powerful nations seem more concerned with political power and financial wealth than addressing the urgent warnings of the world’s scientific community concerning the health of the planet. The president of the United States is the chief offender.

Ecocide. There’s a scary new word for the lexicon. The traditional take on the demise of the Easter Island population is that the islanders cut down all their trees to make statues and in so doing, committed ecocide. A more scientific take on the tragedy suggests that a proliferation of rats destroyed the trees. The islanders had no trees, and therefore no boats, but they learned to live on rat meat, until being killed off by STDs introduced by Europeans. Either way, its a grim tale, a possible metaphor for our modern times.

 Will we make our world uninhabitable as world leaders refuse to take action, preferring instead to brawl over their little pockets of power?  It’s like fighting over space on the deck of a sinking ship, instead of grabbing a bucket to bail water.

Whether or not we are near the tipping point on climate change, we are building the universe, and the universe is getting mighty hot and crowded. What we do does matter. Each plant we grow in our garden, each jug we recycle, each time we pass up that pineapple in the grocery store and buy an apple from the farmer’s market instead,we build the universe for the better.