AT THE BRINK..
Brinks can conjure up frightening thoughts or imaginings of something exciting. Either way, it makes us breathless as we stand and look into the abyss, wondering whether we’ll free fall or fly.
I stand outside my beehives in the bleak mid-winter, dead bees scattered at my feet. The temperatures plummet. This is the brink for a bee colony. If they are weakened by disease and mites, or don’t have enough food, they will die. I wonder which ones will be with me to welcome the warm greening— the ancient Spring renewal and return of the nectar flow.
According to the western calendar, we stand at the brink of a new year, not knowing what is ahead. Mercifully the darkness enshrouds us. We cannot see. Maybe you are one of those people who welcomes the challenges of the new year…you are hopeful. Or perhaps you are one who quakes inside at the thought of what might lie ahead.
I think of that saying, which I remember from my high school graduating class of 1980…”What lies ahead is small compared to what lies within.”
I have made resolutions in the past. These days, I leave such resolution making to those more resolute than myself. I want to be, rather, like the river, flowing effortlessly through the land. I pray to come to this half of my life with more faith, less resistance, more kindness. Let my one tiny life be used, like the creekbed or the stream, to help carve out the contours of a sustainable future for the next generation.
My ancestors who had gone before, left my generation with the gift of “enough”. We had land. We could grow our own food. We grew up knowing the expansiveness of summer night star shine, crayfish and willow lined streams, millions of fireflies twinkling over the cornfields, acreage of flora and fauna to roam. Life wasn’t idyllic, but it was enough. I was blessed to experience the intact beauty and grandeur of life on planet earth as I traveled and slept next to glaciers, in national parks. I roamed African grasslands, thick with zebras, ostrich and hyena— places of people and creatures not yet disappeared.
Yet, I and subsequent generations will not have access to land. We have moved to cities. We don’t have the financial wherewithal to preserve the land from development. Yet all is not lost. We can become the guardians of our own local habitat. Start small. The stream, that ditch, a piece of land, our yard, a tree, wild creatures, beehives in our rafters, wasps in old logs. All of these—our neighbors. These intimate places around us are threatened, eroded and destroyed daily. Pay attention. Take care.
We are at the brink of something that we haven’t faced before as humans. The population on planet earth surges. Hundreds of thousands of species are extinguished by generations of care-less fossil fuel guzzling lifestyles —pollinators are on the short list. Global Climate change is making the news daily. I grieve indigenous people and their homelands raped and plundered, even today, by mining and fossil fuel interests. I rage at those Big Ag interests that are industrializing and objectifying animal husbandry and destroying our precious soil and water with chemicals and GMO’s. I am sickened by roughshod development, destroying habitat for all creatures.
Still. We can all do our little part. Still. We can all hold close to our hearts all that is dear and sacred, all that is living and breathing in our time. Our loved ones can expand to include trees, coyotes, topsoil, beautiful rivers, butterflies and bees.
As I write this, I celebrate that my new non-profit has been birthed! Her name is “Think Like A Bee”. The mission is to advocate and educate for healthy bees and pollinator habitat— and this is not just for the birds (and bees), but for us humans to have healthier habitat as well. Food that is increasingly free from harmful stuff like GMO’s and chemicals. I leave you with a small story from my PeaceMaking Day by Day book(Erie PA: Pax Christi, 1985)…the source of this beautiful story is unknown.
God decided to become visible to a king and a peasant and sent an angel to inform them of the blessed event.
“O King”, the angel announced. “God has deigned to be revealed to you in whatever manner you wish. In what form do you want God to appear?”
Seated on his throne and surrounded by awestruck subjects, the King proclaimed, “How else would I wish to see God, save in Majesty and Power? Show God to us in the full glory of Power.”
God granted his wish and appeared as a bolt of lightning that instantly pulverized the King and his court. Nothing, not even a cinder, remained. The angel then manifested herself to a peasant saying; “God deigns to be revealed to you in whatever manner you desire. How do you wish to see God?”
Scratching his head and puzzling a long while, the peasant finally said, “I am a poor man and not worthy to see God face to face. But if it is God’s will to be revealed to me, let it be in those things with which I am familiar. Let me see God in the earth I plough, the water I drink, the food I eat. Let me see God in the faces of my family and neighbors.”
God granted the peasant his with and he lived a long and happy life. May God grant you the same!
Blessed New Year!