My Turn: Idling at the dock

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Published: 7/26/2022 8:06:20 PM

That’s all we seem to be able to do as the furnace of climate change relentlessly blankets the Earth. The Cassandras sounding the alarms are not mystical visionaries but actual scientists telling us the sky is falling. In sensible times, with the encyclopedia of data we have, sensible people would be controlling the narrative and universal action would be to avoid catastrophe. But we know from observation that being supposedly “evolved, sentient,” we possess awareness of our powers and can choose what we wish to believe. What a gigantic leap from the rest of the animal kingdom. Surely the Almighty knew this step had to happen and that chaos might ensue. Give people choice and they will argue indefinitely.

The subconscious runs the show. Higher or greater judgement, however, is acquired, taught, and then respected. We let the subconscious determine our thoughts and actions even knowing that it has preempted control of our judgement. We study consciousness through all sorts of disciplines if we’re so inclined, and gain tools with which to steady us amidst the noise. We exercise compassionate choices in our road to a finer existence. We possess the freedom to think, to believe, to follow, to lead, to act; what a formless and infinite idea. It tells us we first have to take care of the animal that we are in all its evolutionary caution and swagger. It shouldn’t run away with us; it should be taught trust that consciousness is there to guide and protect it. But we continually demand the subconscious do what it is not designed to do — run the show. But that’s what its being asked to do.

So we turn on the TV or go online; keep ourselves cemented to Earth. Read a Tom Clancy novel. Yet we can with consciousness dream, engineer our lives, our surroundings, explore the farthest universe with the new James Webb telescope: imagination and genius to simply discover we can peer back out into the cosmos and be humbled by the blessings we’ve been bestowed. Thank whatever that great energy is. What are we here to do? A million glib answers pop up online. If enough people understood the climate crisis wouldn’t that bring to an end many more conflicts and misunderstandings? The ego could have its often disastrous impulses kept in check. The paradox remains that the problems we create heartily deride the powers we possess.

In the current political dystopia, a deluded, self-preservationist like Joe Manchin finds comfort sitting and partying in the stern of his motor yacht gulping fuel just to sit at the dock. He feigns complete concern while obfuscating his responsibilities with abstruse phrases that lead nowhere actual. Thank goodness he’s at the dock and not out in a storm. He might continue doing damage to nature out there too. It’s all too pathetic even to be tragic.

But he embodies the mechanics of denial. The problem is too large for us to conceptualize in neat soundbites and reassuring gestures that also will vacuum votes. When the answers are too demanding we resort to laziness regardless of our pretensions to the contrary. I read online that in the S.W. that the red oak growth rings have disappeared through lack of water. None for 2021. I read online via Daily Kos that Putin’s propaganda machine trumpets victory, even of course when bombs don’t. Death is cheap for all but those who died and relatives that mourn. It’s hot outside today in Shelburne Falls’ summer beauty. I might make it to the river for a swim. On Nature I saw that the great white sharks are migrating up the California coast for cooler waters, right close and past surfers and swimmers — on up they go dining on wounded fish. At the end of last year’s wildfires, I could not imagine worse but its upon us again and worldwide. Read the papers.

How do we calculate and understand the wall that is coming? We cannot regard it as a chimera, an illusive force; its powers remain omnipotent! Zeus’ thunderbolt, the universe doing what it does best — unleash the power of the atom, pregenital force, the “Hand of God.” But we believe mankind is omnipotent. We have the powers to change or ignore what the universe commands of us. Time will somehow come to our rescue. But time is also finite, a continuum we cannot bend to our will or stop. The universe laughs at our intransigence and egoistic malice. We’ve been afforded the big chance, that once in a lifetime moment. Cut to commercial.

Tropically shirted Joe’s got that beer or blender drink in his hand. The name of the yacht on the stern reads Almost Heaven. Biden and our climate agenda got dumped overboard.

Alan Harris lives with wife and son in Shelburne Falls. Music, theater, writing, and keeping fit occupy his days. Chef days now past, he swims daily in the Deerfield River and spots eagles.


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