It is all together strange to be an American these days, with a news cycle unendingly replete in the details of events suggestively indicative of a rapid decline in our collective fortunes and safety. How can we most sensibly respond to such onslaughts of bad news, with no room to take a breath and find some way back to hopefulness?
About that hope: there is no other recourse for those who must face up to devastation. For my indigenous ancestors, thoughts of future generations of whom I am a member provided a small glimmer of hopefulness. That is why I take seriously the principles espoused in the stories and histories those past elders decided to share into the written world. They hoped the values and means that supported the bounties of balanced lifeways might someday be picked back up off the path. Slim indeed as that hope must have been in the extremity of their collective loss, nevertheless, there was enough of a shred to resist complete annihalation by way of silent expiration.
So what to do about mass killings, destructive storms, divided countrymen, and the always always continuing devastation of soil and water? Convince ourselves there is still hope. Declare and defend the existence of peace in the hearts and hopes of the many people of the world who keenly wish the best life for those who are young and still to come. Know that humility animates peace, and is ever capable of supporting moral victories through courageous action.
It will take much courage to change this sad script. Courage to give up the ease and convenience of the pre-packaged consumerism that would strip us of our independence and purpose. Courage to work with our hands to literally turn the composition of our surroundings around. To pick back up off the path our ability to perform the careful, nuanced work of survival. Perhaps we really could change it all to the better, once willing to pin our hopes upon the small truths of our thoroughly humbling dependence upon the suffering earth and all her current and future progeny.
As always, I envision a massively organized commitment to the revitalization of water, plants, soil, and air. It seems the only option remaining. How else do we hope to find true purpose in life? We could be pleasantly surprised by how quickly the living forces of the earth could recover. Maybe it is too late already, and we are but a few decades short of the ecological free fall. If so, it would still be preferable to spend the next 40 years trying, and hoping to heal. Our hearts are breaking under the current strain.