The other morning, I woke sobbing from a nightmare about the raging fire in Arizona. It has now become the largest fire in Arizona's history. It took me all day to get over the fear that had overwhelmed my sleep. And, as these things tend to do, images of the fire braided themselves into images of the flooding Missouri, images of drought in Australia, images of the Japanese tsunami....and a cord of anxiety began to wrap itself around my soul. Ashes to ashes...dust to dust. I've got a whopping case of climate blues.

I do not want to be de-sensitized to what is going on in our world. I want to keep connecting the dots; I am eager for the fresh insights of reporters, writers, philosophers, filmmakers, about the growing impact of climate disruption on our lives. I'm thinking about this daily in my work with Moms Clean Air Force.

But every once in a while, I want a break.

Not so easy.

At the end of a long day on trains and highways, I relished the thought of a quiet evening with a book or a movie. I opened the cheery red envelope from Netflix. Gasland. Uh-oh. I plan to watch that highly recommended film about the dangers of hydrofracking, but not tonight.

I glanced at my night table. I could finish reading Susan Freinkel's brilliant book, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, as I want to write about that for Slow Love Life readers. But not tonight.

I could wander through the Internet, looking for humor or light-hearted fun, though I've made a deal with myself not to turn on my computer after seven or eight. I find that being online is as stimulating as a shot of espresso. I've broken that promise many times. But not tonight.

I'm too fragile. Too worried about the perilous state of the planet. Too anxious about how far we're pushing our luck. Too tired to summon resilience.

There's still some daylight, so I venture out among the flowers. The crushing heat last week, followed by rain, has brought forth the peonies, even if they are beaten down. The roses are rotting, their fragrance powdery. I decide that I need to spend some time peering into the heart of a flower. No matter what state it is in--shredded, rotted, wilted, drooping--it is alive and beautiful. I like to think the flowers are waiting to be admired but of course they could care less. Mother Nature, as we imagine her, could care less whether or not we are in her garden.

But I could not care more. I want to hang on to those flowers for dear life.

While I am peering at the swelling carpels of a peony I notice that what I thought was a petal is actually a wisp of white feather. Is there a mangled bird nearby? Did a tiny creature fall afoul of a hawk, or a cat? Was there an act of violence, or is that a projection of my mood? Perhaps that feather floated serenely out of the sky, cast off a fleet wing, nothing more, nothing less.

It is about modulation, isn't it? The only cure for the climate blues--really, for any kind of heartsick blues--is to give yourself a good rest. Just long enough to remember that there are solutions. But not for too long: The price you pay for giving up on love (of people or planets) is way too high. Rest up, then get back in the game.

But not tonight.

Tonight, I want to retreat. Next in the pile of books by my bed? Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts. Not exactly the sort of light reading I had in mind....

...but I can't help myself. I stay up half the night, absorbed by the fascinating story of a slightly hapless, mild-mannered American Ambassador, William E. Dodd, in Berlin in 1933, watching helplessly as Hitler solidifies his terrifying hold on the German public and politics.

What rivets me in this history is the same question that perplexes me now: What took so long? Where was the leadership? Why didn't people see where things were going--even though the terrible evidence was piling up? Why didn't they do something before events became cataclysmic?

Why do we turn from difficult truths?

Some of the answers are obvious, some understandable, some perverse. But there remains something unfathomable about the way we behave, collectively, in the face of slowly gathering catastrophe.

Before heading in from the garden for the night, I had noticed how the evening light caught the edge of a peony petal so it glowed like a candle. As I watched the sky darken, the chords of heavenly choirs began pealing in my mind--what a gloriously gorgeous planet we inhabit. How lucky we are to be here. I want my children's children to partake of this blessing.

I watched a full moon climb through the sky, trailing embers.

We may always be mysterious to ourselves.

At the back of those shadowy blues I caught the glimmer of another intense, precious feeling. I felt just the gentlest nudge, as if from the moist twitching nose of the puzzled rabbit pulled out of a hat.

Who knows how it happens? But there is always hope. There has to be.


Warren said...

Wonderful post, Dominique. Reading the NYTs about lead poisoning in children in China reminds me how our governments play a role in such devastation. You would think that the deforestation of China under the Ming dynasty would serve as a warning for the havoc they are wreaking today. I told the girls we would probably see China descend into an environmental wasteland, aided by a farmer's revolution as their population ages.

It's moment like this that make us reach for calm as you did. Your photos helped me too. I need to go re-visit my peonies... Afterward I will read a few meditations in bed.

Tru Dillon said...

That was so encompassing. The photo's were so real I could smell the flowers. I too spend much time looking at my flowers and just spending time with them as I feel they have wisdom.

wmeribe said...

Do not waste your tears on the plight of the planet, Dominique ... it will remake itself as it has done countless times before. It is we who will not recover, for we will get what we deserve. Little solace ... unless your beliefs are bigger than life.

Dominique said...

China. I wonder when the people will rise up in revolution about the environmental degradation setting in, and poisoning them. Or will the government realize that poisoning their people is counterproductive?

I don't think tears for the planet are wasted, dear wmeribe. I agree, it will remake itself. I keep thinking about "what we deserve" and contrasting it to "they know not what they do." We didn't know, for a long time. And now that we do, we have a responsibility to change our ways. Because we want to recover our world for our children, and theirs.

Warren: tell us, if you don't mind, about your meditations. What are you reading?

Deana Sidney said...

We have known... for so long.

I just saw a bit of a 1932 Barbara Stanwyck film called So Big based on a 1924 Edna Ferber novel. In it the progressive Stanwyck tells her husband to replenish the soil that can only give so much before it needs something back... the farmer tells her no, this was good enough for his father it's good enough for him. That was 1924.

We take and take and expect our poor earth to keep on giving... like beating a dead plow horse to go on... this is where we stand. No wonder we can't sleep. The conservatives and mad religious zealots tell us God gave us the world to do with what we will... we will always live long and prosper here.

Global climate instability is showing the lie of that way of thinking. We were to be the respectful warders of paradise, not the careless greedy overlords. I worry that nature no longer has it in her power to forgive us that horrible hubris.

david terry said...

Dear Ms. Browning,

Not to start-off on a completely-wrong foot, but, having read your latest posting?.....how funny (both funny-strange AND funny-haha, as my canny webmistress says).

Just 12 or so days ago, I looked at the "to read" bedside stack of books-I-ordered-after-Terry-Gross-interviewed-the-author. The recently-arrived "Plastic: a Toxic Love Story" and "In the Garden of Beasts" were at the top of the pile. Below that were: "A Thousand Hills" (an account of the Rawandan genocide), "Pox Americana" (a history of smallpox's sociological effects), and "Left Neglected" (a novelistic account of traumatic brain-inury by a Harvard neuroscientist). I'll admit to having ordered all of them in my occasional fits of cultivating some sort of social awareness

To be frank?....all of these books seemed to be like certain friends (worthy, well-made, doubtlessly intelligent & earnest, etcetera) who would nonetheless be the LAST folks on earth with whom I'd commit myself to sharing a transcontinental flight.

I thought "I don't want to take the chance of getting stuck with any of THOSE on a 10 hour flight, just when I've had three drinks at 4000 feet and am trying to recover from crying like a baby over some Jennifer Anniston movie..."

Fortunately, my fat&happy Father had just sent my birthday present....a copy of the also-newly-published letters between Eudora Welty and her editor/decades-long-friend, William Maxwell (edited by the always-reliable Suzanne Marrs).

The title is taken from a letter from Maxwell to Miss Welty, written when both were in their eighties, and she'd expressed her sorrow that neither of them was able to correspond as regularly and fully as they once did.

He wrote "What there is to say, we have said."

I find that sentence unexpectedly comforting.

You'd like the book. Both Maxwell and Miss Welty were enterprisingly obsessive gardeners, by the way, and the letters forcefully remind us that, not so long ago, cultivating a "collection" required rather more than simply going online to snooty-boots White Flower Farms and charging everything-you-wanted to a credit card.

Level Best as Ever,

David Terry

Ronnie said...

Dominique, you should feel proud that you are not apathetically "turning from the truth" and waitng for the planet to catch on fire. I'm so admirable of the work you are doing with the EDF and the Moms Clean Air Force. Being proactive and advocating for what you believe in leaves me hopeful.

On another note...David Terry, your comments always make me smile.

Thanks to you both.

Judith Ross said...

This is an amazing post. Both the ideas and the photographs blew me away.

Why do we turn away from difficult truths?

I know tonight I will have nightmares brought on by the table some Lyndon Larouche supporters had set up in front of the post office in our little town. Their posters depicted Obama as Hitler.

Coupled with what has been going on in the Congress -- for example, science spending has been cut (a friend's son lost his first lab job at Stanford before he even started because the funding was rescinded.)

We no longer can afford to support scientific research? Not to mention all the other important programs that are on the chopping block right now.

We have to think about these things and do what we can to prevent and/or fix them. But we also need to take a mental break now and again.

The garden is the perfect place to find solace. I have been admiring the digitalis in mine, which are enormous this year, and thinking what a miracle they are.

After reading David Terry's response I wonder if this blog should include a book list! I would love to know what both he and Dominique are reading on a regular basis.

I have a button sitting here on my desk that reads, "Hope dies last." Agreed, we have to have hope.

Maery Rose said...

Beautifully written and love the accompanying photos. I used to read the newspaper every day, listen to public radio news on my drives, and participate in several civic action groups. Now I read blogs with pretty photos, listen to novels as I drive, live simply to have as little bad impact as I can and still participage in a couple groups that I'm most drawn to. For my own sanity, that's as much as I can handle right now.

profA said...

I think your photography is as eloquent as your writing, Dominique. Yes. That was some glorious moon last evening!
Yes. Gathering gloom and doom. Sometimes don't know what to make of it all. "Don't know much about history, don't know much biology..." but I do know that (according to my five year gardening diary) I am watering more and more each year. The water bill arrived yesterday and I am still in shock! Rain is promised (as it is today) and then it jumps right past us, as it did over the weekend, and I am back lugging the hoses. Something feels fundamentally different down here in the swamps of DC. It's the extremes in conditions world wide that I find so distressing at an enormous cost to the inhabitants and plant life of this beautiful creation.
A ray of hope on the China front came in Thomas Friedman's op-ed piece 2 days ago. Justice Goes Global which reports on the celebrity being enjoyed in Asia by Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel. His popularity is cited as the intersection of 3 trends: "One is the growth of online education, where students anywhere now can gain access to the best professors from everywhere. Another is the craving in Asia for a more creative, discussion-based style of teaching in order to produce more creative, innovative students. And the last is the hunger of young people to engage in moral reasoning and debates, rather than having their education confined to the dry technical aspects of economics, business or engineering."
This feels hopeful to me!

Heather Robinson said...

I was very touched by your post and thank you for it. I too am often caught up in the global warming blues and find it frightening that more folks don't even consider connecting the dots. If you think back to the warning that Al Gore gave in "An inconvenient truth", well, is it already too late?

I am not a paranoid person and believe in the grace of hope. Just ask Mr. Terry. Or don't because he will just as likely respond with a theory on physics!

Again a warm merci for the beauty of your words and images...

david terry said...

Dear "Judith ross";

I just read your comment "After reading David Terry's response I wonder if this blog should include a book list! I would love to know what both he and Dominique are reading on a regular basis."

My first response is: (1) Apparently, she and I are reading the same things at the same time. I happen to find that less than entirely encouraging, since the last thing I've ever wanted to know is a mirror.


(2) I'd recommend "Yours in Tearing Haste"... the newly-published (in this NYRB edition) collection of the letters between the Duchess of Devonshire (she's 90-something and published her own memoirs just this past year)) and Patrick Fermor. The editor's introductory comment (yes,...she's one of THOSE Mosleys, and the daugher-in-law of Diana Mitford/Guiness/Mosley) makes the purchase all worthwhile. It's a lovely statement (read below)....

As I wrote to/at Frances Mayes just a few days ago?....:

"Just yesterday, I was sitting on my back porch, opening several birthday presents that had arrived during the week (all preceded by emails forbidding me to open anything from Amazon until Saturday), when the telephone rang. The call was from a neighbor of yours, actually…an elderly Irishwoman who’s rather fantastically named “Martini Emmart-Niedbalski”.
She allowed as how I could open her present at that moment, so I did. It was a copy of the 2010 NYRB edition of “In Tearing Haste” (as you probably know…the letters between The Duchess of Devonshire & her longtime pal, Patrick Fermor).

My first reaction (I hadn’t known that the book existed, though I’ve long been an admirer of “A Time of Gifts”, etc) was to notice that Charlotte Mosley is the editor….thus proving that one can indeed spend thirty or so years digging the same hole in different ways.

I said “Oh, how wonderful….thank you”, and Martini was saying “Well, Fermor is just wonderf….” when I heard her large, usually quiet husband bellowing something in the background. She interrupted herself to say “..just wonderful, and Bob says he’s DEAD. This morning.”

I kid you not....

....Mosley wrote of him and Deborah Devonshire ““Much of the charm of the letters lies in their authors’ particular outlook on life. Both are acutely observant and clear-sighted about human failings, but their lack of cynicism and gift for looking on the bright side bear out the maxim that the world tends to treat you as you find it.”

Isn’t that a lovely phrase?…and don’t you hope that, like Fermor and Devonshire (who published her memoirs just this past year), you’re still happily/productively writing in your nineties?"

---david terry

(P.S> and, just for the record?... my reading for today includes going through three drafts of two different wills, before I meet with a lawyer to have them collated and mashed into some sort of reasonably coherent & enforceable document. So much for "pleasure reading" in this household, this afternoon.)



david terry said...

P.S.(2...and as an addition to my current "reading list"?)

Dear Heather (aka "Lost in Provence"),

I expect you won't disagree with me in considering, in accordance with me, that middle-aged bachelors who find themselves participating in/invited-to any lady's blog or party need to bear in mind that they are obliged to Sing for Their suppers.

Don't you agree with me, or don't you?

(for those who don't know?.. ..Heather's blog, "Lost in Arles" is a wonderful read each day. go to:

Along with Ms. Browning's blog,"Lost in Arles" is helping me to wean myself off the predictably boring, self-congratulatory horrors of Salon.com and its crudely-obvious nepotisms)

congratulations and thanks to both Ms. Browning and Ms.Robinson. There are, finally, some very good things that have come out of this "blogging" bidness. I'm regularly surprised at the good stuff I find when I start following these blogs.

Lengthily yours as ever,

David "MinimalismRnotUs" Terry,

(2010 Graduate, with honors, from Miss Dominique Browning's School of Toe & Tap)

VL said...

This post helped me crystallize something that’s been hovering at the periphery of my consciousness for a while, as I’ve been pondering the same question: why do we turn away from difficult truths?

I think the answer has to do with beauty. Beauty is not just something "out there," in the world, it calls us forth in a particular way. Beauty in any form (peony, opera aria, poem) draws us out of ourselves, toward the beautiful; we want to stare at it, savor it, replicate it (“I wish I could sing/draw/paint/dance/play like that”), even possess it. But ugliness (even mass-produced banality) makes us recoil, for we sense no resonance with our innermost being. I think this fundamental fact of human nature, that we turn toward beauty and goodness like heliotropes toward the sun, is what ennobled certain professions, such as medicine or the priesthood, whose practitioners by their own commitment had to turn toward, instead of away from, the deformed, the painful, the ugly in order to restore it. (And when restoration seemed impossible, there were asylums and prisons to help us hide the ugliness from our collective consciousness.) When we have hope and knowledge, we can bear the pain of looking at, feeling, smelling, sensing the ugly, the decaying, because we know it’s temporary, resolvable. But when there seems to be no hope, or when we are unsettled by feeling that a problem is beyond our ken, we turn away in self-defense—and toward something beautiful to restore wholeness to ourselves.

So it seems that in addition to regular doses of the beautiful, the true, and the good, we need to see the possibility of solutions to our present difficulties. Hopeful knowledge, knowledgeable hope... And a strong stomach for the pain of deep compassion.

Thea said...

I love reading Romance, especially after an excruciating, mind bending day. I find the challenge of delving into the ecological problems of China is impossible to comprehend or for just one person to affect solutions. But we can improve one garden at a time.

Judith Ross said...

Dear "David Terry,"

It is indeed a lovely phrase. And yes, I do hope I am able to write well into my 90s -- Perhaps by then I will ready and able to say what I mean and mean what I say.

My own writing assignments for today have included some rather dull business writing (for which I am paid), and a piece on a fascinating artist who grew up in South Africa (unpaid, but a much more enjoyable and rewarding task.)

You have twice mentioned your dislike of Salon.com and in defense of those of us who blog there (actually I'm on Open Salon), some of us are just sticking our toe in the blogging pond. Trust me, my own inner critic usually asks and answers the question, "Who cares?" (answer probably no one other than a few friends) before I post anything there. But I go ahead and dive into the pond anyway.

Thank you for the book recommendation!

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

I'm not sure I believe that there has to be hope, but I do think that we have to "make hope," sort of the way one makes love (which I always find a funny expression), to affirm and embody a passion. The alternative is despair, which tends to paralyze--and paralysis is the last thing we need. (BTW, your peony photos gave me a sudden shot of hopefulness.)

Sharen said...

I think you have expressed so well the fears of so many of us, Dominique. And maybe that is what gives us hope - "But there is always hope. There has to be." That so many do care and are trying to help has to be encouraging. As Thea says, "... we can improve one garden at a time." On days - and nights like you describe, I like to visit "The Eden Project" in Cornwall where they say, "We built the Eden Project in Cornwall in a disused clay mine, transforming it into a rich, global garden where people can learn about nature and get inspiration about the world around them." It is a wonderful place to visit for a heartening feeling of positivity about restoring nature - one step a a time, people from around the world ARE caring and trying to make a better world happen. You would love a real-life visit there!
Next to that, reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn made me reflect on 'our' place in nature... really reflect. "The world must live. We are only one species among billions. The gods don't love us any more than they love spiders or bears or whales or water lilies."

Thea said...

Oh, Lali - you expressed that so beautifully. tanx Speaking of peonies, have any of you heard the story about some guy who steals peonie stems including some unique varieties out of gardens in DC? No one knows who he is or has caught him, he just swoops into gardens early morning and cuts as many as he can carry. An odd yet, in its own way, heinous crime.

VL said...

Dear Eulalia, I would agree, we make hope. Didn't mean to imply we could go out and pluck it from the ground somewhere (though that might be nice if we were feeling a bit lacking some days). The question is how we make hope when things look grim, and I suspect it has to do with having experienced a grim situation before and seeing it be resolved, perhaps first by a loving parent when we were infants.

I also think we tend to forget that actions influence the way we feel--except for that funny expression you mention, to make love. To choose to act with love and gentleness (or restrain ourselves from the opposite) does alter the way we feel...

Anonymous said...

I can't say that global warming or even all the weather related catastrophes that have happened lately are causing me sleepless nites and nightmares.
What really gives me nightmares and a real sick to my stomach fear, would be the thought of the Tea Party getting into the White House! Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry all scare the hell out of me.

Warren said...

Dominique, meditations, you ask? In my dark-cave moments I find a way out by reading of folks who change the world quietly, with simple, powerful acts that they have the courage to repeat again and again.

Most of these people have a strong faith. Much stronger than mine. That’s why they qualify as saints and I clearly do not. Still, reading them pulls me out of my self-inflicted misery and restores that nudge of hope, you mention.

Presently I am reading ‘Mother Teresa – A Simple Path’ published by Ballantine Books. Mother Teresa was a teacher in a girls school, until at 36, she was ‘called’ and became the saint we know today. (BTW: I think your son would enjoy this book – it’s more about PATH than being Catholic, which I have become with a small ‘c'.)

Her ‘business card’ read:

The fruit of silence is

The fruit of prayer is

The fruit of prayer is

The fruit of love is

The fruit of service is

I think many of us find your photos moving because we discover that sense of HOPE in their bodacious beauty. The images remind me that this beautiful earth is no accident but a willful creation of some higher power.

Occasionally I can see this in my world. But then again it is oh so nice to find someone with the courage to share it as you do.

So, listen now,Dominique. During your moments of frustration with the rest of us for seemingly not caring as we should about the Earth, please know your pebbles are creating ripples.

ON ‘MOVING BACK IN WITH MOM’ Ram Dass once recounted how Mother Terese told one burned-out, American housewife who came searching to find herself in Calcutta that service was making breakfast for her kids. Enjoy all that mess.

Folks, I offer this discussion of faith because DOminique asked. I am not trying to change anyone's beliefs. Please no comments about mine or my motives, Peace.

Jane said...

Thanks for this lovely reflective piece - I relate, on many levels

Pilar Goldstein-Dea said...

What a gorgeous meditation on a shared melancholy... Thank you, I am grateful for it.

david terry said...

Dear Warren,

I was fourteen, I think, when I first read Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek".

A single phrase in that book stuck with me for years and years.

Having long-ago lost my copy of the book, I re-ordered "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek last year. Fortunately, it wound up in my suitcase, and I had it when I left a fancy Thanksgving-day party in Charlottesville that had suddenly turned surprisingly unpleasant & nasty. I excused myself and went back to the hotel in the late afternoon, wondering what I'd do with myself for the rest of that afternoon...and I productively went looking for that phrase of Dillard's that I recalled from 30 years ago.

I found it:

"I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck."

It's a lovely sentence just for and by itself. More importantly, though?...It's also an important and helpful thing to remember as regularly as one can.

Ms. Browning's writings, blog, and photographs remind me of that passage.

I expect she's already familiar with that passasge from Dillard's good book.

quite sincerely,

david Terry

c said...

well now, your moon trailing embers is now one of my screensavers. I have never, ever, seen the moon reflected in that way. I've watched many sunsets (over the Pacific), and all gorgeous but always different, but the moon? Fabulous! Thank you for posting it.

I think VL nailed it (we turn away from ugliness), which in my case is the reason I am recently more than apathetic when it comes to politics. Me. The political junkie. Can't stand to read or hear about any of our elected officials and their pursue of unadulterated power for its own sake. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

These same politicians who do have the power to do good for us mere mortals, choose instead to exert their power only to further their own agenda, attain more (money or fame, or infamy as the case may be) for themselves, with not much regard for the rest of us, and forgetting as soon as they are sworn in, why they were elected in the first place.

I think our environment is of such little concern to most, precisely beause we feel powerless to do much on our own. I do what I can, but I don't fool myself enough into believing I actually make a contribution by polluting less, recycling more, reducing my own consumption. Then again, one step ...

and yes, there is always hope.

tdm said...

Hi Dominique,
Having grown up on the West coast in a rural area, where keeping a garden is an exercise in frustration as the climate leeches the nutrients out of the soil as soon as you add them into the loam..now in an urban area, the neighbours are astonished to watch my labours as I enrich the soil of our small plot of land. Leaves, compost, manure (well rotted of course) and mulch results in luxurious flowering and vegetables of astounding taste. My spouse is aware of the efforts and has is thrilled with the results - admittedly not always picture perfect, and often in dire need of weeding. The neighbours constantly admit to sneaking in to our backyard to view the current state of the minute 'Back forty'.
We're just getting into an explosion of roses, such that I've rarely seen. The scent wafts toward you as you approach the house along the street - Quite astonishing in a city! A Haven in which to restore the spirit, even if the blooms are fragile and may only last a day - their memory last much, much longer.

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post --

I had a love affair going with peonies on my own blog a week or so ago -- and today I literally restrained myself from purchasing more because I knew I'd be waxing peony-love for another week!

Warren said...

I goofed on Mother Terese's biz-card (that was printed for her by a followerHer ‘business card’ read:

The fruit of silence is

The fruit of prayer is

The fruit of faith is

The fruit of love is

The fruit of service is

Cristina said...

Has the last photo in this piece also been taken by you? magical!
I liked your "Rest up, then get back in the game" instigation: that's what we all should do.

Deborah A said...

I have found that nitemares come from a few sources, if you are taking sleep medication or any other psychiatric medications, such as antidepresaants or antianxiety drugs. they can produce weird and troublsome dreams.
The other source would be reading books and watching movies that are mentioned in your story...these books are usually way over the top and written to produce outrage and horror. I have found when reading these books its best to go middle of the road, that is, take some of it with a grain of salt.
After all, like I said, these movies and books are made to sell and make money...what better way to grab the audiences attention then to scare them to death? Most of us are too fragile, when exposed to overzealous, sensational books and movies, that is why I'm very careful about what I expose myself to...even the evening news can be terrbly upsetting.
I certainly admire your fervent interest and commitment to clean air, a real viable concern...but clear headed thinking should always come into the picture. Reading and watching sensationl type material that is being produced more for money then concern of the environment is something to avoid.
Give your super intelligent brain a rest, otherwise you will burn out in so many ways.
I love your pictures, the garden and flowers are always so soothing, it was a great idea to just go outside and absorb the beauty of nature.
I beleive we will survive, I also believe we have good people in environmental jobs, working hard to make our enviroment safer. I believe our government will prevail for the good of the enviroment and its people.

david terry said...

Dear "Deborah A"...

What a smart/wise posting.

It was only about a week ago that I talked over the telephone with a longtime friend (she's 45, this year) and, having listened to her castigate herself about her own supposed inadequacies, told her that NO one (including herself) could "blame" her for not "caring" or doing "enough".

she does volunteer work for the beleaguered, local SPCA...she takes care of her aged, sick, and widowed mother (who lives in her house, actually)....she conscientiously recycles everything, pays attention to children with "special needs",...she cares about the environment, animals, she's an "informed" voter,etcetera.....and she ends up not feeling good about herself, because she feels she hasn't done "enough". WHAT???

I told her that this world/country unfortunately seems(at least in my experience) to be split between folks-who-don't-give-a-shit and folks who wear-out themselves and their happiness while trying to care about something other than their immediate selves and desires.

I advised her to concentrate on two things I KNOW she does really well (taking care of her mother and helping out with the desperate SPCA folks)...and to let herself feel good(just for once?) about considerably brightening at least two corners of what can seem a very dark world. That's more than most people do with their days on this earth.

Sorry to sound cynical, and thanks for your good posting.


david terry

Dominique said...

I'm afraid that I must disagree: nightmares can come from what is actually happening in the world: we need only click on the tube to see those fires raging in Arizona. And all the rest of it. We don't need psychotropics here.

I am very careful not to recommend any book that is sensationalistic. Sensational, yes. But bending and exaggerating the truth? Not if I can help it. It isn't necessary. There's fact. And there's fiction. One of our problems today is that we've lost track of the distinction, and we think scientists write fiction, things we need to "believe" in.

Thank you Warren for your meditation from Mother Teresa. Beautiful.

And I have just placed an order for Talking Slow and Tearing Haste. Thank you.

Not to worry, dear Rev, if we are mirrors, they are of the funhouse variety. I never know what's up next. Yours in cracked reflection. d

Deborah A said...

Well, actually I guess i would need a definition for "fact". Facts can be pretty much twisted into any direction the author (Scientist)wants to interpert them. Their are many reasons for this, personal recogntion, monatary gain, access to grant money, I could go on but you get the idea. Its the same concept that all these drug studies that gave us absolute evidence that a certain drug would not be harmful, only to find out that the researchers ( scientists) where dead wrong and actually caused more harm then good.
Look at the research a few years back on Vitamin E, everyone was advised by the media and their own doctors to take Vit E for good heart health...all discredited last year. I was not at all suggesting that the books you mentioned were fiction or not written by "experts".
I think that we should have all learned by now that the "experts" have many reasons to write about the facts in any way they seem fit to...and for many reasons.
Even "facts" should now be questioned, thought about and investigated and then as far as I'm concerned, questioned. When I start reading materials and taking them for face value because they were written by scientists or experts, then I know I'm in trouble.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Mr . Terry (even though I do not feel that I merit being mentioned in the same phrase as Ms. Browning at all).

VL, as inspiring as your writing is, it left me feeling very grateful that my hope does not need to be "made". It surprises me, even amidst the shadows. But I do definitely see how, in light of this brilliant post, sometimes, we need to push a little harder.

Sarah Faragher said...

Long-time lurker coming out of hiding briefly here, to second the recommendation for "In Tearing Haste." Anything of Leigh Fermor's is pure delight, to be savored and revisited when feeling particularly world-weary.

Deborah A said...

Oh my goodness, I really have to apologize for the spelling and grammar errors in my last posts. I find myself in bed recouping from a minor operation...slurping soup and ice cream all over myself. Using a borrowed laptop, that for some reason I cannot figure out at all...plus no spell check...oh the horrors!
I have just started reading Parades End on Dominique's recommendation, between that and reading great blogs the weekend should fly by. I too have read "In Tearing Haste" and loved it.

Dona Mara said...

Dominique...This post especially made me want to reach out and put a comforting arm around you to convey that you are not alone in your observations and caring. Keep talking out with words and pictures for your voice is powerful. Perhaps the lunar eclipse 6/15 was motivating you.

dana said...

You are such an insightful and articulate writer...You have given voice to my own fears and feelings of inconsequence, and described one of the best ways I comfort myself when they threaten to overwhelm me. I also very much enjoy the thoughtful comments of your readers. Thank you!