I did not remember my dreams. A mixture of sunlight and anticipation woke me before my alarm. I pulled the curtain back and checked the time on the large clock face across the street. Just past 6:30. Good. I have ten more minutes to sink into my bed, to enjoy both morning and sleep.
It is now 3:00pm and I am sitting on a patio in Lower Manhattan. I landed hours ago, made my way into the city, enjoyed a leisurely brunch in Greenwich Village before crossing the west side highway at 14th street and settling under a tree along the Hudson River Greenway for a little rest. Now I am back in the city, somewhere near the convergence of West Village, Tribeca and SoHo. Somewhere I have not been before. It’s hot and humid and sticky, the first real day of summer, and the city is full of citizens coming out of hibernation to enjoy the warm weather nature has granted.
I look out and see the beauty that once was New York. Before cars and traffic and never-ending construction, before over-population and the seemingly permanent stink of garbage from over-consumption, there was a city of natural wealth and beauty and promise: majestic brownstones on quiet, tree-lined streets, hot summer days made bearable by the ocean breeze and cool, moist earth underfoot. Granite and marsh, and humans. Humans can play a positive role in shaping the earth. We can harness her strength, her resources and her power, and use them for our betterment. But there comes a tipping point between humans and Earth – the same tipping point that can occur in intra-human relationships – where the dominant party stops bringing out the best for the subject’s benefit as well, and instead start bringing out only what he wants to better himself.
Mother Earth is no different than an abused and mistreated woman, expected to give us everything she has and expect nothing in return. Our society tells mistreated women to stand up to her partner, fight back, take what is hers and leave him to fend for himself. We cannot fathom our most honourable and abused mother of all – Earth – doing any such thing, yet that is exactly what she is doing to us each and every day. She is asking us to treat her better. She is asking us to change our ways, to once again remember to consider her best interest along with hours. She is telling us what we need to do to reverse her revolt. What will it take for us to listen? When will we see the irony of the plastic flowers in our lawns, where real ones once grew so readily?
May 19, 2017