30 November 2018

four pictures

We are tired, we are in a flurry of activity, we are holding it together.
It is cold outside, the garden has suffered from neglect and frost. But the calendula is still flowering like there was no tomorrow.
The house is filling with bags and stacks and open suitcases. We are going on a journey.
(The baby has arrived.)

And now for something completely different.

I have saved these four pictures on my desktop in recent months and now they feel like baggage I must get rid off.

Picture one:

source: Dr. Andrea Kamphuis, https://autoimmunbuch.de
This is the so-called saw tooth image of autoimmune disease. Doesn't it look cute.
The area below the dotted line is referred to as the honeymoon period. All bliss after a few hickups. See how the little person is whisteling a merry tune while recovering. He thinks he's doing great, not a bother in sight. Little does he know etc. I am way off and above to the right, BTW. I am climbing mountains. If I accept this analogy of the disease course, my life is defined by steep climbs. One mountain top after another. I am excpecting the air to get thin eventually, altitude sickness any day now.

Picture two:

The real challenge at times. I am working on it. In fact, I need to learn to quit doing stuff that is stopping me from getting rest.

Picture three:

Probably politically incorrect.

Picture four:
Please just tell me with a yes or no if you know what this purple-pink thing is. Don't tell me and other readers what it is (ie. don't name it). I am doing a tiny survey. Just for fun.

27 November 2018

Thank you for all your comments on my last post about the twelve years ahead.

I could have written them myself, I share your feelings and opinions and despite the gloomy outlook I am so grateful to read them and to know that you are there. That there is a web spanning our planet, a web of goodwill and care and attention.

However, would we/you/ I write the same comments but replace every "us", "we", "humans", "people", "folk", "everybody" with "me" or "I"?

Maybe go back to your comments and try it. Read out your changed comment and tell me how it feels.

This exercise has been brought to my attention by a group of young people currently occupying a forest not too fat from us. In fact, it is the pityful rest of a formerly massive ancient forest which - together with several towns and villages - has been slowly erased by lignite surface mining. In recent months, R has spent some time with them, while I follow their activities on twitter.

More about the forest here.

We are still waiting for a baby being born. Any day minute second hour now.

23 November 2018

we only have a dozen years

This is what I read while I am waiting for a baby being born. While I am torn between excitement, wonder and terror. And, I admit that with shame, relief that in 12 years I may be long gone.

Yesterday, I was stuck for almost two hours in a traffic jam on my way home from work. At one point I contemplated leaving the car there and then and just walk away from it. I imagined a long line of abandoned cars while more and more people walked and skipped and danced along the roads and down to the river, laughing and holding hands.

"According to this new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have only twelve years to slash greenhouse gas emissions by forty to fifty percent. One dozen. That’s not much time when it’s already twelve midnight, and the ticking has grown loud. Do we hear it? Will we act in time?
. . .
History shows that humanity has the potential to mobilize masses to achieve success. But can we do this to heal the climate in a mere twelve years? Can we rally billions of people against something we cannot see, smell, or taste? Can we go after an enemy, even if that enemy is us? How much sacrifice can we inspire every person to make? Because this is what it will take, and more: Setting thermostats to a cool sixty degrees in winter and pulling on sweaters and hats indoors. Cutting industrial meat consumption in half. Ending food waste. Insulating all buildings. Slashing plastics production. Taking buses, bicycles, and the balls of our feet. And the big one: cutting our consumption of stuff by a whopping fifty percent, or more. Those who are most impacted by climate change are already living with very little. Now, it is our turn.
. . .
Yes, we will be cold at times. Yes, we will have to reuse almost everything. Yes, we will lose weight. Yes, we will make do with less. It will not be easy. It will seem impossible. But in the doing, we will also build community and share resources and strengthen our social fabric. We will make music and art. We will dance in the streets to stay warm. We will hold hands and stick together.
. . .
The babies born last week and this week and next week are waiting for us. And when they turn twelve – if we succeed – the world will be a better place. But we have only a dozen years. That fleeting window of time between birth and becoming a teen. One hundred and forty-odd full moons (more than one has already passed since the report was published). Twelve years. The pairs of ribs protecting our hearts and lungs. Take a breath. Now act."

Read the whole article by Gregg Kleiner here.

07 November 2018

Her voice flies like a swallow before the thunderstorm.
Someone said this on the radio about her today. Joni Mitchell is 75 today.

01 November 2018

Sometimes you want to see the forest and not the trees. Sometimes you find yourself starving for what’s true, and not about a person but about all people. This is how religion and fascism were born, but it’s also why music is the greatest of arts, and why stories matter, and why we all cannot help staring at fires and great waters.
Brian Doyle 

Earlier this week I was listening to a friend telling me of her recent research trip to the deepest forests in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Initially, she was listing the various diseases she encountered (leprosy is prevalent, breast cancer too) and the way the communities are coping, but soon enough, she showed me pictures of sacred objects, artifacts, tools, baskets, toys, made me listen to recordings of songs and chants, and gave me two small woven bags she had smuggled through customs. 

I am at a loss of words to describe all of that. Beautiful? Stunning? Strange? Unexpected - definitely - and there is the obvious risk of romanticising what clearly is beyond my understanding.

These are examples of a daily life, a daily struggle, a sense of community and of traditions - some bewilderingly violent - that are beyond my imagination, certainly beyond my physical ability, yet they feel utterly hopeful. Comforting. The desire of humanity to create, to transcend, to share. 

Later, when we talk about this over dinner, R tells me that evolution can only work in isolation, that species that share everything will cease to develop. I ask again, bewildered, and obviously, this applies not necessarily to humans but he has been thinking beyond the potential of human evolution far longer that I have dared to. 

And for a moment I allow myself the thought that we as a species still have the ability to change, to retreat, to transcend. A precious thought.