02 October 2019

It has rained for two days in a row. Not downpours or showers but that steady rain that goes on and on. The barrels and tanks are not quite full, there's a way to go yet, but now they say, this was it for the time being. They say, don't complain but don't rejoice either. This is not enough. They say that the winter could be wet and cold. There are models and statistics and meteorology has advanced in leaps and bounds, they say, but really, who knows.

And then there is the wind and the falling leaves which feels like November and we whisper to each other, strange, early.

My family has travelled and regrouped and some have returned to their far away home and others are walking across Tuscan hills and some are preparing for storms to arrive across the Atlantic. I wake in the night and check flight paths and departures and arrivals and storm maps.
Nobody is safe in this world of strangers and yet, wherever we are, we are surrounded by humans.

I have been back at work for two days showing my energetic cheerful self, or what remains of it, walking with a bounce along the corridors and calling out greetings here and there - as if.
This charade works for a couple of hours and when I arrive home, I fall asleep for a while and I wake feeling very old and stiff and not quite together.

My father's commanding voice informs me that to him I sound strong and healthy and then he quickly changes the subject. That's settled. We exchange our delight with his latest great grandchild and he briefly entertains the thought of flying for a visit to the other side of the planet, three stopovers in 35 hours. For a moment, I panic and then I tell him, no. There are too many steps up to their house, I say, you would find it too tedious with your walker and he relents.

And then there was that evening when I held my daughter in her arms, when she was sobbing and overcome with worry. When she asked me whether it was the biggest mistake of her life, bringing a child into this world and I told her that there was no answer but that children are not goods we exchange or replace and that I am counting on her to raise this child to become a guardian of our blue planet and all its life forms, that I am expecting her to teach this child about what matters and not to waste time and energy on useless stuff and gadgets and distraction. I told her about resilience and respect and the joys of being part of community and change and that we are all in this together shaping this child's challenging future to be amazing and fulfilling and worthwhile.

I read to her Joanna Macy:  
The most remarkable feature of this historical moment is not that we are on the way to destroying our world–we’ve actually been on the way quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millenia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves, and to each other.
I said all this this with all the conviction I could muster and in my calmest voice until I could feel her breath become more steady and she let me dry her tears. And then the grand child crawled across the hall and sat in front of us and clapped hands and of course, we could not help but laugh with delight.


  1. Everything today is so heavy on me and in me, too, but when I got to your last line here, a bit of that broke as tears welled in my eyes.
    Thank you.

  2. Hoo boy. It's hard to be encouraging to new parents and yet they NEED the hope.

  3. If I had a daughter and a grandchild, I would tell my daughter the same thing, and then the three of us would laugh and clap together with timeless and ageless delight, finding the balance.

    As the days shorten, the birds continue to sing here, and flowers are still blooming in my porch garden.
    Today is supposed to be the last sunny day before days of showers head. I'm fond of the flowers that bloom into October in your lush garden.

  4. My husband greeted me with horror on waking one morning, and said, how can we ask for future grandchildren with the world in flames, with our climate in death throes. Our grandchildren will be raised to be caretakers of our world, I told him, because selfishly, I did not want to imagine not having them. But I also meant it. I have had conversations with my children in exactly the way you have with your daughter. You're right. The children are the guardians, the ones who understand right from the start how to live on this planet. My children teach me, too.

  5. Having a child reminds of us of our mortality. I never though about death until my own son was born and I was quite sick after he was born. I realized that another human relied on my know. Your daughter has the added worry of our world edging towards disaster. I also think that bringing a child into the world is a act of hope. I'm glad she had you there to comfort her.

  6. every woman who is brave enough to bring a baby into this world at this point needs to raise that child and prepare that child for a deteriorating world. not just to be able to survive it but to know how to change it.

  7. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a parent now. I mean, it's hard at ANY time, but especially now. I like that quote -- certainly a hopeful voice amid all the doom-and-gloom.

    We're having a very wet couple of weeks, too.

  8. "I am expecting her to teach this child about what matters and not to waste time and energy on useless stuff and gadgets and distraction." That is a potent plan for changing the world for the better.

  9. I wonder as I watch my step-daughter preparing for the birth of her third child what will happen to these little ones in the future. I know she will teach them to be stewards of our beautiful earth. It is a difficult time, but there are young ones now who will grow up prepared. We clap our hands with them.