“How did it get so late so soon?”
~ Dr. Seuss
I cannot have enough of the sun and warm of these past weeks…the last seven months have been unusually warm and dry in this beautiful rain-forest of southern BC with temperatures of up to 29 (in April and May!)
The cities have encouraged people to buy and install rain barrels but my strata (townhouse complex) doesn’t allow for it so I tricked them inside as a grey water source for water my plants. Water restrictions were imposed last May 15, two weeks ahead than the last year, which was already earlier than usual.
I got two rain barrels and it hasn’t properly rained, even when we did have some showers yesterday and today…in India, a friend got sick for the heat wave and hasn’t yet came back. The drought there is pressing farmers to look refuge in the cities and some choose to kill themselves before having to leave their lands behind.
I have been running a program of “Food Skills for Families” for the local Food Bank recipients and apart from enjoying the sessions immensely, I had time both before and after to enjoy things I don’t normally have time for: sitting at the local, artisan bakery (Michaels) with a book and a coffee, walking to the sunny coast to see the ocean or through the bridge to Chapters to browse books and gardening magazines (and look at what I found!)
I will miss having all the time in the world (for just one day a week) to sit in my community garden and watering my plants, talk to the birds and watch the clouds changing shape.
There comes a time in life when one starts asking questions about how we want to spend the left hours, days, months or years…
Derrick Jensen said: “If aliens from outer space came to this planet and did the harm that oil and gas corporations are doing, we would stop them using any means necessary. If aliens from outer space were making it so there were carcinogens in every mother’s breast milk, we would stop them. If they were putting in oil and gas wells all over the planet, we would stop them. If they were changing the climate, we would stop them. If they were destroying landbase after landbase, we would stop them. And if they set up governments to “legalize” their sociopathological behavior, we would stop them.”
But I’m becoming overwhelmed and find detachment growing, a deep need to take a rest, stay home, enjoy each leaf, each laugh, each meal as if they were the last. And take inventory of how and where and with whom to invest my time…
While I’m teaching food sovereignty workshops, community resilience or healthy habits around food, I can’t ignore the irony: in my second country, Venezuela, a combination of climate change-exacerbated drought, lack of investing and planning, corruption from both sides (government and business owners, including a big chunk of the population) and people’s disempowerment is causing the country to collapse: family and friends share how difficult and expensive is to find essentials; how getting any food or product involves being in a long line for hours with the risk of being robbed or be involuntary involved in a fight; medicines are scarce and babies and the sick are dying…some are eating only once a day and whatever they can find, some do it every other day; while the middle class has been less impacted, it is starting to feel the struggle, the rich keep building walls and gates and flying away, the clown at the top (i.e. “revolutionary government”) are scrambling to stay in power while tucking the last dollars away for when all falls apart. Riots and looting have caused the government to respond with a military presence in all cities, making things calm for now but far from solving the problem. The country is at the brink of collapse from a failed “revolution” that never took place. The peoples don’t know how to grow their own food, build their houses, sew their clothes, produce whatever they need. They can’t even find seeds…they have been drinking oil all these years, bringing food and even toilet paper from abroad, the middle class flying to Miami to buy their weddings and newborn stuff. As a result, crime and corruption have increased, local production has stalled and people got used to receive all for free or subsidized…
And I, who lived there for so many years, can’t do anything but watch…
We still have time, but the window is closing. I used to ask myself what window was that, because I thought it was a window of “time”…but it’s not. The window is made of place: the collapse is approaching, already swallowed other countries.
The “aliens” are us.
“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair
I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see
For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green
I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know
But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien