Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Golden age

Hey farmer, farmer, put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees
Please.

The clusterfluke that is our government du jour aside, I believe we are living in a golden bubble.

By which I mean to say that I am. I am living in a golden bubble. I can speak only for myself.

And by golden bubble I mean that I have everything I need at this ten seconds of the universe's unfolding.

Moreover, I am living my life as I choose. I don't have to work for my living. I only have to live.

And I don't foresee this changing. Whatever time I have left on this planet, which I estimate to be another 20 to 30 years if all goes well, all I have to do is to keep living.

Keep getting up in the morning, filling my days with the things I love, going to bed at night, and doing it all again the next day. One day at a time.

For me, right this minute, that means I am typing this in my sunny bedroom office. I just finished making a round of beads. In a little while I will make another cup of coffee and crochet a few rows on my current work in progress. I will walk on the treadmill for 50 minutes and finish the Netflix series I am watching. Later Neil will read to me, we'll fix dinner, we'll watch another show or two, I'll crochet a bit more, then take a bath and read until it's time to go to sleep.

There's a bigger picture though.I really believe we are living in a golden age, and at the same time I believe we are killing our planet. The oceans are continuing to warm. Species are going extinct. Men continue to go to war with each other. People continue to procreate.

When I was born, the world's population was 2,724,302,468, give or take. Today it is 7,714,576,923 or thereabouts. You can do the math.

We're ravishing our resources. We're exhausting fossil fuels, while spending more money on space exploration than on alternative energy.

And don't tell me we will be building a colony in space. We can't even figure out how to live on our planet long-term, we don't deserve to screw up another world.

And look, if we don't engineer our own demise, geological history tells us that something eventually will. If it isn't a nuclear weapon, it might be an asteroid hitting earth, or the Yellowstone caldera erupting. There have been ice ages before, mass eradication of life such as it was, and I'd not take it for granted that there won't be another. Others.

I think how far we have come. Simple comforts such as indoor plumbing and lighting are mere zygotes in geologic time. We have antibiotics, miracle drugs to combat our ills, but we are spending little on research for alternatives while earthly bacteria grows more resistant. Why? Because the money isn't there. We're encouraged to minimize use of antibiotics, so the research money goes to long-term maintenance drugs, because that is where the profits lie.

Yet we are so lucky. We can get into our cars and drive where we choose. But cars have only been rolling off the lines for a century or so. Commercial air travel was a glint in someone's eye a century ago, yet now we can jet all over the globe. We can live where we choose and simply fly across the country to visit our families.

We carry computers in the form of smart phones wherever we go, we talk and text wirelessly over the miles, we are always in touch at the touch of a touchscreen.

Think about this in terms of the geologic clock analogy. The earth formed some 4.6 billion years ago and primitive life dates back about 3.9 billion years. Think about the age of the Earth as a clock, with formation at 12 am and today at midnight. Dinosaurs were around for about one hour - until just 20 minutes ago. Human-like beings date back only to the last two minutes, modern humans arrived in the last few seconds.

Think how long it took us homo sapiens to come as far as we've come. Think about how much of our progress has taken place in the past 100 years.

I personally don't think we'll be here to see much of the next geologic day. Enjoy it while you can, do what you can to act locally, but don't assume your great-grandkids will have the same privilege. They might, they might not.

If I was young today, I don't think I'd want to have children. Well, I would, in a selfish sense, because cute babies, but I don't like the direction the world is headed in.

And that has nothing or little to do with politics and politicians.

Anyway, I'll continue to be good for goodness' sake. I'll recycle plastics and try to minimize my carbon footprint. I'll love my children and grandchildren and hope for the best and try not to dwell on the worst. I'll live in the present and enjoy the hell out of every golden moment.

And I'll keep making art for art's sake and for the sake of anyone who has the chance to appreciate it. Just because life is transient doesn't mean it shouldn't be beautiful while it lasts.


They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot.


(Joni Mitchell © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz