Falling Earth

Falling Earth

Who will save you,

little creatures?

Who will build the wall

to protect you, gracious trees?

Who will weave the net to catch

your falling earth?

Last night, in dreams,

I made contact with an off-earth race.

“I’m so sorry for what we’ve done,” I said.

So, we worked out a solution

to save the planet, in their interstellar boardroom.

Take away the humans, I said.

Do what you want with us.

Only remember, I pleaded,

we leave behind pets and plants

behind closed doors

with no way out.

Can you save them, too?

I woke with their dream promise in my mind

to wait in foolish hope

for their arrival.

All because I feel helpless

to change the human race.

For Love of Animals and Trees…

 

Professor X: [voiceover] Either way, it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. (X-Men 2)

As I get older (officially middle-aged, though it feels a lot older), I am plagued with this odd sort of remembrance. I am remembering a lot of things about my girl self that got shoved aside in hopes of becoming somebody loved, worthwhile, hire-able, successful, popular, pretty, rich–all of which, of course, never happened (yet, anyway). So I put away a lot of stuff that made me, me, because society taught me to be ashamed of who I was (and I believed them). Though it was always still sorta there, and it would escape from time to time, as I got involved in environmental causes and animal rights causes and human rights causes. I even majored in environmental science, once upon a time, even though I really wanted to be a marine biologist, but the school I ended up at didn’t offer it. But, math didn’t really come naturally to me, so I let that dissuade me from a career in science.

I was that girl who hated to see animals hurt, even in movies, where they (purportedly) said that the animals weren’t really hurt–it was all for show. I didn’t even like to kill bugs, and tried to fight against the use of pesticides even in my small world of the family home. Even though it was “Nature’s way”, I still had a hard time seeing animals hurt or eaten by other animals. I still feel guilty over the high school dissections I performed in the 80s. I try not to even kill bugs, and feel terrible if I accidentally kill bugs, or fall back into a certain callousness to insects just because I’m tired and it’s been a long day of struggling with too-vivid dreams and depression and anxiety and worry and stress and allergies and workplace hell and I just want to make dinner and go to bed.

The point is; I am realizing what’s really important to me, after all these years. I don’t want to live in a world without animals and trees and wildness in nature. It kills me that the price of having a comfortable life as a human is yet another species going extinct or getting on the endangered list. Animals losing their homes. Trees being murdered. Rampant, unchecked, local-politician-supported-against-all-protective-laws destroying my beloved swamps and ecosystems in my home state of Florida (for example). That the trafficking of endangered species is more widespread than I could even imagine. Just to end up on a dinner plate, for vanity (decoration) or to spend life in captivity as someone’s trophy pet.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade

https://www.fws.gov/international/wildlife-trafficking/

So, maybe it’s partial selfishness as I enter into this transition #437–trying to figure out who I am and what kind of life I want to lead going forward. Sometimes it feels frustratingly slow, especially for someone as proactive as I am, coupled with seeing the clock run down for so many non-human lifeforms that we share (or not share) this planet with. It kills me that I’m just sitting here while non-human lifeforms are suffering and dying all around the world, because of us humans.

The takeaway? Who wants to live on a world stripped of trees and plants and birds and snakes and bugs and all the other wonderful diversity of life? Do we really want that on our conscience that we were part of an entire world destruction just because we want our Starbucks coffee and our designer clothes and diamonds and furs so that we know we are loved. What about loving other lifeforms, instead? What about appreciating and protecting the beauty that we already have? Who cares how beautiful we look in the mirror if we live in an ugly, desolate, plastic-bubble, sterile world?

 

So, take steps today. Make choices for the planet and not just for ourselves. Give up meat, even dairy. Buy organic and non-GMO foods. Start an urban garden. Adopt animals from a shelter instead of buying (inbred/puppy mill) breed animals. have your pets spayed/and neutered and keep cats indoor-only. Have yourself (the human equivalent) of spay/neuter–the world has plenty of adoptable children who need homes, too, right here on U.S. soil. Don’t wear fur or leather. Volunteer for animal rights causes. Stop using harmful pesticides and Round-up–learn about xeriscaping instead. Downsize your possessions. Reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t buy new–shop at thrift stores and purchase/remodel an older home rather than a brand-new (cheaply built) home/residence (do you really need six bedrooms and five bathrooms?).

I know I don’t want an entire planetary destruction on my conscience. So, my life going forward will be finding more ways to save the planet, outside of my usual armchair activist activities. Because I don’t want to be alone with just other humans for company. Even though I’m just one person, I want to change. And make change happen.

 

 

 

It’s been a long way down…

Or maybe we never really rose up.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bleak television shows. (But, that’s not an apology, mind you.)

Coming off of watching The Killing, and now wrapping up the last of Torchwood.

Really hitting me about having to be human, especially looking around at the world.

I never really realised how I always felt like an outsider, but my awareness about being human has shifted over the past month or so. Or maybe just remembering how my awareness used to be when I was a kid.

Trees were amazingly vibrant friends.

Plants sang to me.

To recycle a phrase that’s probably grown cliche (or a borrowed quote from some other human somewhere), I felt their pain with all the “intensity of a thousand knives” hitting me all at once. When trees were being cut down, that pain that I felt was excruciating and unbearable. I wanted to scream with the agony I felt. Sure, you could probably chalk it up to just being an imaginative and sensitive kid, but it didn’t erase how I felt. Especially when I had to be the plant murderer (i.e. mow the grass, trim plants, etc. *wry laugh*). I would be standing there with a pair of hedge clippers just sobbing my little kid heart out. (Yep, I was a weird one!)

I tried. I tried to adopt that normal human insensitivity to non-human life forms. For a while, I succeeded in turning it off. In building up a fortress of protection. But the older I get, the more that fortress crumbles. And I’m back in a morass of emotion, and conflict. It’s like being a teenager, but even worse in some ways.

Animals look at me with souls of the ancients…tolerant, loving, inscrutable, and, sometimes, (rightfully!) angry and/or scared of me as a human that’s come bumbling into their midst. And I love them for it. Because they should be scared and angry.

Yesterday, I saw the article about the whales beaching themselves in Florida. And it was so unemotional. “Why,” I screamed. “How?” “What the f*ck are we doing about it?” And, the answer is nothing. There’s no change we can implement soon enough. Even if we did (and do) care, it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can do.

Because we are human.

And I have never been more ashamed of that fact than right now.

I don’t want to live on a planet without bees and birds and animals and trees and plants and water and oceans and fish and whales and everything else that is a non-human life form.

Akin my (faulty?) memory of Medea (from when I was in middle school), when she talks about being underwater and the fish eating the flesh from her bones until she is pure and white, that’s what I feel sometimes.

Like I want to strip off my human skin and transform into an animal. Or a bird. Or even the air, or an unknown fantastical elemental. Anything but a creature that’s linked biologically to the human race. Enough with cell phones and social media and television and money and stuffy stuff and banal work and being hated and being insulted and put down and being ignored and losing…everything.

And, yes, I know that’s not possible.

But that’s what I wish. have wished since I was a child. And that I could fix things. Help make people around me understand. Help make sure that evil doesn’t win. Like so many kids, maybe, I wanted to be a hero.

But now I just feel helpless.

I am a coward.

I am weak.

I am so very tired.

 

 

 

All my BFFs have been animals…or trees.

 

“I’ve always felt more like a wolf than a person.”–Karin Berquist, “Alpha”–The X-Files

I seem to get along better with animals than people, most times.

The other night, I was out in yard taking down the bird feeder, and my pant leg got caught on a weed. I reached down to pull it off, but luckily I had the flashlight, and it was the nightly skunk. She was pulling on my pant leg and looking up at me. I love animals, but I’m afraid I didn’t handle it too well. I kinda jumped and then hopped backwards. I thought she would spray  me in alarm, but she just went about her business of eating bugs or whatever else skunks eat. 

I’m trying not to encourage the wildlife anyway–getting them used to humans and all that is not good for wild animals, of course. But I think the person who lived in the unit before me was feeding the animals, my guess.. My first night in the unit, the same skunk came up to the door and was pawing at it. Still, the skunk is pretty cute…from a distance. (It’s baby season here for wildlife.)

But, I seem to attract animals…strays, wildlife, cats, dogs, insects, most everything, even birds, thought they kinda scare me. Something about their talons and my eyeballs. (Made being a wildlife rehabber interesting…). I like bird watching, though.

Once, I was on a date with this guy, and we took our bikes to the beach at night…along with his dog. It wasn’t intentional, just part of the moment, but his dog and I raced down the beach together, then we stopped and sat on the beach together, cuddling together and totally bonding. It was an amazing date, but I don’t think the guy enjoyed it too much. *laugh* Though, I did have a romantic interest that liked to treated like a cat. Food bowls and everything. That was interesting but short-lived, if I remember rightly.

I’ve always been really close to the cats I’ve adopted (or, who chose to live with me, in actuality)–more like best friends and roommates than human-defined “pets”. Or, in reality, I’m their slave. 🙂

I have one BFF left of the horde of 13–Cricket–and she’s about 18-20. Let’s hope she hangs in there…I might have to go out and get a people BFF otherwise–one who likes chaos, that is! 

But, then, there’s always my tree friends to talk to…

 

 

 

 

Sustainability of Self…

 

I’ve been having this incredibly detailed dreams. My dreams are usually pretty immersive, but, lately, they have been like living another life. Or three, or four, in one night.

Not sure what the (practical) explanation is. Or even what message they are trying to tell me. A few are more simple, but also just as confusing. Because they’re dreams, yet they seem to be building a connection with…something. And, my rational side is saying “They’re just dreams, you tw*t.” *laugh*

So, I woke up after another parallel dimension dream, and felt a bit blue. More than usual, anyway.

Wondering about the place of humans on this planet, when humans just seem to be destroying everything they touch. And where my place in all this madness is. I’ve always been sort of activist-orientated…outspoken, my actions geared towards fighting social injustice, saving animals by the truckloads, loving wild plants and trees that embody the spirit of kismet and serendipity that are perfect symbols of resistance against stereotypical human desire for order and control.

Can it be possible to pull ourselves and our world back from the brink? The geographical history of the planet says yes–because our time (humans, that is) on this planet will be but a blink in the eye of the earth’s life span.

I’ve sort of renewed small ways to reinvent my life…annoyingly slow baby steps for someone as aggressively proactive as myself…but (without seeming like I’m trying to get your pity)…this current life transition has been pretty intense, even for one well-used to chaotic shifts and subsequent rebuilding. And, I just feel like I’ve made so many mistakes–taken wrong paths, and made some not-so-right choices.

I’ve restarted the process of downsizing my books. I’m attempting to meditate. I’m taking  a good, hard look of where I got off track with my life (another way to look at it, is figuring out what path I need to be on.). I’m trying to get rid of a lot of inner baggage, and bring myself back in tune with the things that are important to me and to this planet–nature, animals, conservation, plants.

Arrgh, I’m not explaining this very well, because it’s still sort of emotion- and instinct-based and a little muddled up in my head.

Especially when it feels like the planet and its inhabitants doesn’t have time for me to be stuck in an egocentric/ego-gratifying pool of introspection. (Not that I think I’m going to be the sole person that’s going to save the world, mind you!)

But something does need to shift on a consciousness level within myself in order to help change the world. However small that change is. Whether it’s meditation, action, ass-kicking, healing, opening one’s self to the world around us–I’m still trying to rebuild my toolkit to restore balance in a self and a world that feels like it’s gone mad.

A poetic tweet that was posted from a public figure made all the difference in my little world this morning. They’re probably used to being in the spotlight, but I would feel awkward in posting the link here, but it really gave me a pick-up-me regarding unlimited possibilities of spirit and self. I’ll leave that post to serendipity’s magic for others to find.

Going to try this out in a bit, courtesy of the Forest and Crow blog I follow: https://forestandcrow.com/2016/07/23/20-things-to-be-grateful-for-a-written-meditation-for-restoration/

Now, go out, be mindful of all creatures and growy things (even “weeds”), and change yourselves, and the world, while you’re at it.

 

(Feel free to share mindfulness, consciousness-raising, and other mindfulness techniques in the comments below.)

Mish-Mash Thursday

So, I’m having trouble settling back into a routine. Not really a surprise, since I love chaos! Here’s what a great blogger says about routine (Florida needs more bloggers like Florida Life Minimalist.) Maybe we wouldn’t be losing wildlife areas and vintage homes to sprawling malls, gated communities, McMansions, and other features of overzealous development.

So, since I have expressed interest in volunteering as a freelance writer, covering women’s history sites, I figured that can count as my stand-in for #TBT.

In the meantime, I opted to unofficially jump in on blogger Steve Says “borrowed idea” blog chain (Check out his answers to the questions by clicking the aforementioned link). Just for fun. I feel like I need some lighthearted, silly fun in the Chaos Realm, lately.

Anyway, here’s my answers.

1. If you could go back in time and change one decision you’ve made, what would it be?

I wouldn’t have left Europe when I was over there. Or, I would have set up residency there somehow, and only come back to the U.S. only to pick up my cat.

2. What do you wish you had more time for?

Daydreaming.

3. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Talking to trees. Redheads (aka Gingers).

4. What’s your favourite smell?

The smell of the rain. (Kind of the same as Steve’s, actually)

5. Where do you want to be five years from now?

Living overseas, in Europe/Scotland. Again, like Steve, I want a vintage home with history/character.

6. If they would make a movie of your life, who would play you?

That’s hard. Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Poelher, or Sarah Silverman.

7. What would be your ultimate job?

Getting paid to read books all day.

8. Which goal should definitely be on your bucket list?

Exploring cenotes. Deep sea diving. Space travel, Star Trek/Star Wars style. Time Travel.

9. What have you wanted to do for a long time, but keep procrastinating about?

Save the planet from the human race.

10. Which achievement are you most proud of?

Even though I’m still jobless, money-less (fifteen & five years later, respectively) getting my BA and MA. It’s a a big FU to all the teachers in the Sarasota school system and everyone else who just dismissed me as a  “retarded, brainless, worthless airhead” growing up. I’m a real-life example of how you should NEVER listen to people who try to tell you you are garbage, and put you down. Fight back against limited-thinking a-holes! Prove the bastards wrong!

11. What would the autobiography of your life be called?

Love in the Asylum (poem by Dylan Thomas)

Dear Sarasota, Florida…

Dear Sarasota, Florida,

So, even though I have a love-hate relationship with you, and was born and raised here, and for some frickin’ reason (or circumstances beyond my control) I keep coming back and trying to build a life here, I am writing this letter to tell you we are breaking up for good. I should have done this a long time ago, because it’s clear that, no matter how much I love your swamps, your natural areas, your beautiful old oak trees, the human culture that resides here has made it clear, time and again, that I’m not welcome. You think I would have caught on after the tenth hundredth time I got dirty looks, rude treatment or followed around the store every time I went into a place of business, or even refused customer service outright. Or, getting fired because my fuchsia hair made me “a bad role model” for kids, or finding out my conservative clothes  I borrowed money to purchase and wore to a (finally!) job interview still “weren’t good enough to work in my office”, as I was told.

Still, I wish I could pass on my passion for the “Old Florida” as we long-term locals like to call it, but seeing more and more woodframe/older homes fall to the wrecking ball and replaced with McMansions, even in the neighbourhood I grew up in, I am hard-pressed to remain optimistic. I even had someone tell me that those McMansions did reflect “Old Florida” architecture style. *sigh*

So, here is the list of things that I wish you would preserve or change, as I leave here, and the latest wave of out-of-towners/out-of-staters/more-wealthy locals moves into Sarasota, and into my neighbourhood.

  1. PLEASE stop cutting down big, beautiful oak trees, and other wonderful trees that have been here since I was a little girl. It’s killing me that almost every day now, I hear the heart-wrenching whine of chain saws–I’ve tried so hard to protect the trees in any way that I can, but I can’t seem to fight the standard ruling of code enforcement or whomever is issuing these permits I had thought they were safe, based on code enforcement laws, but, according to an individual I recently had a conversation with, they told me they were able to get the/an arborist to say the tree was diseased, and were able to cut down a gorgeous old oak tree and this individual had been very angry that they did not have the right to cut down anything on their property (they had recently moved to this area, from out-of-state). So many animals and birds rely on those trees, especially since new development is swallowing up more and more of the natural Florida:  hawks, songbirds, owls, and many other forms of wildlife that rely on the tree cover to live. Please protect these trees, not cut them down.
  2. Please consider planting more eco-friendly lawns, and please don’t continue to spray/maintain your turf yards, public sidewalks, and driveways with Roundup and other chemicals, fertilizer, and pesticides. The almost year-round red tide and dead zone in the Gulf is not there by a whim of nature. Also, City of Sarasota/Sarasota County and other park areas, fairgrounds, local businesses, and eve nature reserves, please stop using Roundup to water the grass and maintain the landscaping/nature trails.
  3. Local officials and police: In my perspective, it has seemed that you are primarily catering to a specific demographic–developers, conservatives, gun aficionados, rich people, people in condos downtown complaining about the noise, leaving the rest of us that make up this community as well alienated and with no say in anything that stands in the way of your vision for Sarasota. Once, I even called the cops for men that were trespassing, and were even coming up the house and standing there watching me. I was told by the cops (true story) that instead of calling the cops, I should go outside, confront any trespassers, and if/when they attacked me, I should call 911. (And, if you say this is libel, well, just FYI, I even have the officer’s name and the date and time the incident occurred and the date and time when I spoke to the officer’s supervisor, or so they claimed to be.) I also remember reading in a local paper that a certain county official told the press that they implemented a ban on food trucks out at the Siesta Key Beach because they didn’t want to have the kind of people the food trucks would attract out at the Siesta Key beach. I have no idea what those kinds of people are, I just know that I am the “kind of people” they don’t want out on the Key, because I love food trucks.
  4. Implement a living wage. Stop exploiting underpaid, under-minimum wage workers to clean your megahomes and take care of your lawns and build said homes.  End modern-day slavery that exists in Florida.
  5. Fix your school system. It failed me, just like it’s continuing to fail thousands of kids since I was in school, and currently. Treating students like prison inmates, delaying them emergency medical care over something more trivial, and mentally, emotionally, and physically abusing the children in your care is UNACCEPTABLE. And, yes, I witnessed this firsthand.
  6. Address the systemic racism, classism and sexism that plagues the local community.
  7. Although it’s inevitable, because I simply have Florida can be so much more than a tropical, suburban, beach/golf playground for the rich. Again, please give the natural Florida a chance to work its allure. Stop overdevelopment, stop encroachiing on wildlife habitat to build unnecessary gated communities, stop cutting down the trees I loved as a child, stop killing/culling wildlife just because they are “inconvenient”, please stop clearing shorelines of natural mangroves. Please don’t fire firecrackers into a rookery of nesting birds (and their babies) just because you happened to move into a house that is near said rookery (they were here first, and supposedly protected by law.)
  8. Again, please, I beg you, look after the natural Florida–it’s rich, wonderful, atmospheric, and a treasure that I hope you will learn to love, and embrace all of Sarasota’s inhabitants, rich, poor, young, old, artistic, progressive, nature loving alike. And please stop feeding the raccoons, the Muscovy ducks, the alligators, and any of the other local wildlife. *wry laugh*

I hate giving up, myself, but even this ass-kicker (wanna-be?) is admitting defeat. Since I have no money, no social status, no income, no social connections (I’ve tried!), and, therefore, no worth, or voice, in anything that happens to Sarasota, I’m giving up. I wish I could buy huge swaths of land and wetlands, to save them from development. I feel so helpless. I know that, the way I feel right now, I can’t imagine ever coming back to Florida. I wish I could take all the trees and the wildlife with me. Dammit, I told myself I wouldn’t cry. Goodbye, Florida, I will miss you, and your trees, and your fecund swamps, and the way it gets so rich and atmospheric and vibrantly green right before the (rarer and rarer) torrential rains.

Sincerely,

A heartbroken A Chaos Fairy