To all children of planet Earth I say, “May air be sweet for you, waters be pure. May you learn to heed rustling words of the forest and hold great stillness in your heart.”
At times in our lives we will become stymied. This is inevitable. In our current age, we almost constantly bump up against energy drains, inhospitable environmental conditions and seemingly insurmountable problems. It is well to remember that all species, even ours, have a genetic component that not only seeks to keep our individual bodies alive, but to guarantee the survival of our species.
My own children and grandchildren are the result of that drive. They also help to bring me out of my dark times, when inspiration or courage wavers in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. When my youngest daughter was a very young and precocious child, she would ask me nearly every time I added vegetable clippings to the compost “Wha’cha doin’?” Week after week, season after season, she would puzzle over my activity. My response to her query was always the same, “Makin’ dirt.” Then one day, after hearing my response perhaps a dozen times, she raced from the house when she saw me start out with the compost bucket. As I was adding the kitchen scraps to the bin, she commented. “You’re older than dirt.” At the time, in my vanity, I was not quite ready to hear those words and I was both curious about where she had heard the phrase and what she could possibly mean. Then, without hesitation, perhaps she could see curiosity flash across my face, she pointed to the base of the compost bin, where some rich black material had made it outside the heap, “You’re older than that dirt.” Then she scooted away, leaving me to ponder the truth of the matter.
Young people are perhaps our best window into the truth of many matters. They call things out for their silliness, their inherent fallacy and they seem to have no problem calling things the way they see them. Our choices today are constraining their futures and we need to slow down enough to recognize that threatening their ability to make a go of it is unconscionable.
At this time and in our present situation it is well to consider whether we want to leave them a steaming cinder, smeared with the residue and shit of our excesses, or an intact ecosystem that is able to provide them with clean air and water. We have the power and we have certainly proven that the richest among us will never have their greed sated, but how we integrate these truths into our daily lives will forever affect the choices that future generations will have. I pull up this picture from time to time just to remind myself of things that have inherent worth, where I want to go and what needs to be done to secure a better future for the generations that will follow ours.
Their image steels my resolve, sets my body in motion toward my goals and releases me from the grip of fear that can creep into our daily lives when we look critically into the direction that humanity is speeding. Instead of the future looking more and more like the predictions made in the movie Idiocracy, I am here to stand up to mediocrity, to strip away the lies upon which greed is based and to share the insights that I have received from my endless search for ways to live a higher standard of living at less ecological cost, less disruption of the natural world for the sake of “coming out ahead”. Determining needs, from wants. In the future, children will have to confront many of the same issues that I deal with daily, let us hope that they will have the resources, insight and drive they need to flourish when their time comes. The constraints I feel are profoundly greater than my own parents felt and they had fewer choices than their parents. Only by changing course can we end class warfare and regain a firm footing upon which to guarantee a better quality of life for future generations.