POCATELLO, ID – February is usually a cold and cruel month, although it teases us with a warm spell before zapping us again with a blizzard or deep frost. Out West the month is traditionally devoted to cabin fever, a crude and frightening form of yearning.
News reports of Pennsylvania’s Puxatawny Phil sets the tone on Ground Hog Day. Will we have an early or late spring? Will the greening of the Northern Hemisphere give us joy, or will the skull and crossbones of climate change undercut the pleasant return of the robins‘ chirps, the gurgle of sand hill cranes, apricot blossoms, and spring onions?
Regarding climate change, we do our part. Nobody can blame us? After all, we drive less. Many of us own electric cars and bicycles. We fill our blue recycle bins each week, compost our kitchen waste or feed it to the neighbor‘s chickens. We buy local, weave cloth and “throw” coffee mugs, and we filter our drinking water.
Besides assuaging personal guilt or blame for destruction of the planet, do these forms of “living responsibly” help at all?
What if these pseudo-sustainable lifestyle changes are just another scam for selling “organic, sustainable, GMO-free“ stuff? Perhaps these changes merely deprive us peons of the culture’s cream while providing more stuff for the billionaires to play with?
As we compost and plant backyard open-pollinated beans, are the rich laughing at us while downing species-endangered caviar?
Does any of our personal planet care even begin to add up to global industrial air and water pollution? Consider the acres and tons of used batteries dumped in landfills every year, an invisible poisonous by-product of our seductive telephone and computer technology that gives us a false impression of being harmlessly clean.
Are we merely stacking up mineral/chemical deposits for the mines of the future?
Eons ago did another failed civilization come and go shortly after it got as scientifically advanced as ours and is so old, so deeply buried that no one has yet found its remains, or perhaps we are mining it and merely repeating its rise and demise.
I see that Seattle is going to fine people for mixing food scraps in with other categories of garbage. One might think this is a planet-saving requirement, but when examined, we find it’s really about the city’s landfill budget. If food scraps are composted, either by a composting company or in a customer’s backyard, there’s less to bulldoze around the pits and fewer employees are needed to drive the bulldozers, another person without a job creating more visitors to the food banks.
Packaging is the problem. Every week, I’m shocked at how much packaging goes into my trash.
Many of us, me included, yearn for a kinder, saner world. But obviously, not all of us prefer a kinder saner world. Greed, religious fundamentalism, boredom and gun play, mental incapacity, lust for sex and power, continue to mess things up. I’m continually puzzled about why anyone would prefer a mine field when they could have a garden?
As you can tell, it’s February, and on these gray days, I sit on my couch staring off into space thinking. Some days I want my children to still be children, and I want to raise them all over again, rock them gently to sleep in the evenings, and this time not be so stressed out about money and time.
As I sit with coffee cup in hand, I’m prone to visions. Following are some of my “sofa visions” for my personal perfect world:
Vision One: Weekly “at home“ gatherings of artists, writers and thinkers, the quality of thinkers who will eventually save the world. These events occur in my mansion drawing room and library lined with hundreds of books, the great literature of the world. There is polite, but earnest conversation fueled by good wine and canapés. The house is decorated with fresh flowers I’ve cut from the gardens on the grounds. I get to wear a couture gown and am actually listened to when I talk.
Vision Two: A sunny morning in a large vegetable garden surrounded by a forest. It’s lunch time. We communal workers break to a covered area with handmade tables and chairs. Cooks serve up black bean soup in pottery bowls made on the farm and homemade wholegrain bread . It starts to rain, lovely warm spring rain. Joyful conversation.
Vision Three: I’m seated at my loom in a green leafy glen. I’m weaving fabric for clothing. I am overcome with joy, as if there is all the time in the world to get everything done that I want to get done. No pressure. No time constraints whatsoever. I stand up and part the tree branches and look out on a busy landscape of people dressed in Medieval-style clothing gleefully gardening and rolling huge wheels of cheese into a cave.
And there you have it, another eclectic glimpse into my private Pocatello.