Meg Mott, in her latest post about this year’s presidential race, climate change, and the current American mindset, writes about a world view I’ve been embracing recently – if not in practice, then in theory and fantasy. “This new world of melting glaciers and rising sea levels requires a different sort of faith,” she says. “One that stresses adaptation and response instead of the imposition of will.”
To me, right now, adaptation is literal. The recent rainy season left my emotions soggy and my body weary; my floor still wears the weeks of dried mud tracked in and deposited as if my home were a riverbed. Every pair of shoes is caked in what used to be my front yard. I can’t get rid of the dust.
Now, the cold comes in bursts like thunder: two days of temps in the teens pushed us to patch the goat shed and bring the chicken water into our house to defrost overnight. This weekend, with whispers of fifty degrees Fahrenheit, I anticipate more mud, and fear my plans for hauling out the mop bucket tomorrow morning may be in vain. Will the bulbs start growing, thinking it’s already spring, just to freeze mid-shoot? Will the scraped hillside erode before we have enough warm weather for rye grass to take root? Will my Subi make it down our driveway before we can afford a load of gravel? And when will the snow come – in March or May, when I am planting my wedding flowers? When I am setting the foundation for my new bedroom and writing studio-nook?
Needless to say, I – like most other Americans – am not adapting well to the weather.
And all these nuisance crises. I seem to pull them towards me, like little shards of steel from a grinding machine to an ordinary kitchen magnet. These constant sinus bugs, these pulled muscles and financial collapses and workplace shootings and dog fights and dying mother-inlaws and fickle family disgruntlements. These stuck cars and loose goats and cracked wood stoves and eight crowing roosters at three in the morning. Okay, that last one was entirely preventable.
Needless to say, I – like so many others – am quick to find disaster everywhere, and to brew in it. Finding the peace and the joy and the rest is so much more difficult.
How does one learn to adapt?
I think we will learn. As food becomes more and more expensive, and our paychecks become more and more obsolete, we will learn to grow our own vegetables, fruits, bees, mushrooms, worms, grains, cows, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks. As transportation becomes more and more expensive as oil reserves continue to dwindle, we will understand the importance of community more wholeheartedly. We will learn the importance of family again, and the nuclear family will expand to contain those who used to live nearby – grandmothers and grandfathers and grown children and godparents and various adopted humans that make a family truly whole.
But what about me, just me? My brain isn’t adapting to the lack of sunshine this time of year; despite my reduction in coffee consumption, my increase in sleeptime, and my focus on that which is important to me, I am having trouble finding energy anywhere. I slug to work. I slump against my stool. I stagger home and stare at facebook for a while. I argue with my significant other for a while after that. I groan when the dog needs to pee. I fall into bed and pray for energy in the morning.
I am focusing on creating myself (as opposed to finding myself) and a goal is adaptation, but how do I do this? What concrete steps do I take to be a human being who remains alight in the face of change…and turmoil? Any lessons, anyone?