26 May 2024

the feeling

the rambling rose

It's been wet, so much rain, and the garden is exploding. This year, the three plum trees are so full - even after dropping some unripe fruit - it looks suspicious, as if the trees are giving it their final all.

the veg bed in mid May

There have been days when I felt I was losing the plot and on these days, I go through the motions with teeth clenched (not literally) and the thought that no, I am not going to stop doing what I want to do regardless of colicky pains and all the rest of it. I walk into the library, pick up my ordered books, move on to the whole food shop, sit down with a coffee, smile at everybody thinking, nobody knows. Surely, I must look healthy.

the tomatoes are meh this year

On the way home, checking the front gardens and greeting the cats, the feeling of dread surfaces. The dread has nothing to do with my health, it's much deeper, bigger. It has taken me some time to recognise that it has become a constant feeling, low down, watchful. It is a bit like the feeling you get when you are awake in bed, waiting for the sound of your teenage daughter's key in the door after the night bus has passed the stop down at the corner. Only bigger. Because, your daughter has grown up and can look after herself. In hindsight, it was such a tiny feeling of dread, for such a brief period. And what a relief to know it's over. Nothing compared to this big dread. Bigger even than the fear of war, of the madman in Russia. Of the fascists gaining ground in Europe again. Of the bird flu virus spreading to humans. Fiddlesticks.

And I look at the people I pass on my walks, greet and smile at, watch them in their gardens, on their patios, playing with their kids and grandchildren, walking their dogs, the two guys who empty our bins, the postman on his e-bike, the mad woman across the street as she carefully covers her front steps with old crockery to ward off evil spirits, the toddler next door to her learning to walk, the twin girls across our garden playing Elsa and Anna. And I wonder if any of them, all of them, feel it too, maybe not right now but some day to come, the feeling of dread for our planet's future. The dread we keep on pushing away. And I wonder what would happen if we could share it and make it go away.

The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love — whether we call it friendship, or family, or romance — is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light. Gentle work. Steadfast work. Life-saving work in those moments when life and shame and sorrow occlude our own light from our view, but there is still a clear-eyed loving person to beam it back. In our best moments, we are that person for another.

James Baldwin 


the pillows are in place


am said...

So grateful for your presence of mind and heart and soul, Sabine. Your pillows are works of art, works of love. Mandalas! Once again, it is a joy to see the garden you and R share.

That dread. That James Baldwin quote. That love. While walking in the woods a few days ago, I realized in my deepest self that although I have no children, I love the natural world as a mother loves a child. I feel pain when it is hurting.

"Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable"

(Mahatma Gandhi)

Ms. Moon said...

Climate anxiety? Climate panic is more like it, I suppose.
I wonder how many undiagnosed cases there are. I feel it most strongly when we go through long periods with no rain which is ridiculous. It is so much bigger than that but that's all I can grasp at one time.
Your pillows are beautiful.

Barbara Rogers said...

The underlying dread, walking with it, sitting with it, sometimes touching on sharing it with others...I'm beginning to think our time has given us this terrible emotion. Yes to love. Our Unitarian Universalist church is about to meet (US Assembly) via zoom and consider adding 'Love' to many of it's precepts. So great to have a nationwide congregation recognize its importance in connecting us to one another.

Pixie said...

I sometimes wonder how many of the worlds wars and power struggles are caused by old men feeling powerless, feeling that their lives had no meaning, or not enough meaning, and now they're facing their own mortality and it scares the shit out of them. They think if they have more power, more money, it will protect them, but it won't. We all die. I don't have any hope that humans will stop, or even ameliorate, climate change. We are dumb beasts at heart, even though we can read and think, we are not able to look very far ahead to see the results of our actions, or actively refuse to look ahead. We want what we want and we want it now, not so different from toddlers.

Existential dread. Is life essentially meaningless? All of our ancestors are dead and forgotten, even the old kings and knights. Nobody remembers us for long. We turn back to dust, reunite with the stars once again. Maybe that's enough.

And the earth? She will outlast us all, despite what we do. Her timeline is eons, not years or even generations. She will heal from us, she will survive long after we are all gone. She is the mother.

ellen abbott said...

it is already horribly hot and it is only May the cotton in the field, barely 12" high if that, looks terrible, sere. no rain for the foreseeable futre. my planet dread is not for me but for my grandkids and my great granddaughter, just 2 1/2.

the other dread which I never harbored before last week, is for me and my hidden time bomb. at least I know it's there or maybe I wish I didn't.

Colette said...

Oh yes, I know that dread.

Steve Reed said...

I think the answer is yes, at least among those with any degree of awareness.