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baptism by fire.

October 19, 2008

Unless you live “off the grid” you know by now that America, and by kinship The World, is entering a tumultuous economic nosedive.  Except, it isn’t exactly a straight plummet.  The problem is not the plunging stock market, exactly, but the turbulence, the vacillation, the insecurity, the instability.  In other words, the ups and downs are cause for concern.

People cling mercilessly to their sense that America is a country whose identity is fundamentally wrapped up in continuing to improve, ad infinitum.  I am supposed to be better off than my parents, and my children better off than me, and so on.  It worked for my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  This goal-oriented, creed of linear direction, however, reflects almost nothing of the patterns of the natural world.  The Earth warms, ices over, warms again.  Plants seed, grow, produce seeds, die, return nutrients to the soil, and feed the next generation of seeds.  We fear the fluidity.  We fear the change.  We fear shrinking pocketbooks because we are utterly convinced that more Things, more Money, makes us happy.  When, in fact, it is the post-industrial nations who medicate their citizens to the point of detecting traces of anti-depressants in the drinking water, so saturated are our bodies with these chemicals.

I’m not sure what we are afraid of.  I’m not trying to preach.  I’m scared too.  History repeats itself.  The problem is that the sage survivors of our last economic meltdown are aging or gone.  We know that they made it, though, through 25% unemployment, bread lines, dust storms.  They had children, who in turn had– us.  

In fact, I find a kind of justice being served in our economic stumbling.  Not punishment, exactly.  People, and nations, do the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves.  But, it is the Earth we have tried to fix to our needs, forgetting we are just one manifestation of astronomically impossible factors coming together.  We are an anomaly, a miracle, a beautifully orchestrated accident of temperatures, landmasses, adaptations, grit and smarts.  The natural earth is constantly tugging man-made objects back into the fold.  Our cars rust, our roofs leak, ivy and dandelion crack the sidewalks.  We have bent earth too far to our own will, and like a marriage partner, it seeks to regain status as an equal partner.  The floundering economy is one way to curb our lust for unsustainable natural treasures.  We will survive, and we will lead simpler, emotionally richer lives before it is over.  The sloughing off, and whinnowing down will hone us into purer beings.  And, let us hope, we can establish a symbiotic relationship with our mother earth again.

So try not to worry.  Think of it as a lesson from a terrestrial parent much much older and wiser than we.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Momma permalink
    October 19, 2008 11:35 pm

    What a great editorial piece! Do you think you might want to submit this to a local paper or magazine for consideration by a larger audience? It would certainly be worth trying!
    Keep writing, my little pen girl.
    Love you Bunches!
    Momma

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