And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, March 01, 2009

We Will Go On

It is not a bad thing to live smaller, to let the world be a bigger
place and to more fully inhabit our little piece of it. It is, in fact, a good
thing, a thing to be embraced, celebrated even.
Contrary Goddess

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Hopelessness is just not useful, though. And pointless. You dead, yet? Well,

"Something to keep firmly in mind - your ancestors survived
bad times- yes, as bad as any coming. Keep your wits about you- and your chances
are fine."

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I have had something rattling around in my barefoot little brain the last couple of months, and these two have summed it up perfectly.

See, I have known for a long time that the lifestyle we enjoy here in the good ol' U.S. of A. couldn't go on forever. I don't remember a time when I didn't know it on some level. The laws of physics make sure that our pattern of taking from the environment and not putting back, of growing without ever having a season of rest, just can not continue indefinitely. Any child who has witnessed the turning of the seasons can see it.

It seems that the economic and environmental issues facing our world have come to a head just as I am finally reaching the stage of adulthood when I am able to look past my own little corner of life and see what is happening around me.

I was frightened when I looked up from the grind of getting through each day to find that things were happening faster than I had thought. It was scary to look into the future and see such huge changes coming.

I admit it, I panicked a little.

And then I talked to my mom. I told her my fears of hyper-inflation. I spoke about food, and security, and whatarewegoingtodomomthewholeworldisfallingapart-andIdon'tknowhowtomakesurethateverythingwillbeokay

And then my mom said the wisest thing I think I have ever heard. She said simply "We will go on".

We will go on.

How simple it is, and yet how profound. And all my fears were eased. You see, my mom is right. We cannot predict where all this will take us. Will we be plunged into a pre-industrial world with no electricity, cars, refrigeration, etc? Maybe. Will the banks all fail, leaving many with no retirement? Maybe. Will homelessness and joblessness rise to never before seen heights in this country? Maybe. Will the US dollar become essentially worthless? Maybe.

But then, the earth might get hit by a gamma-ray burst, too. Or it might explode into 7 atomic fireballs. Or the SuperVolcano in Yellowstone might blow and make the economy the least of our worries. Or I might get hit by a bus tomorrow, in which case all of the above could happen without affecting me at all.

The thing is....we really can't predict how the future will turn out. We can make some educated guesses, we can try to do our best to make sure that our families are taken care of. But the bottom line is that we cannot provide for every possible outcome. No matter what measures we take to make sure that we will be prepared for the future, there is always the chance that something will happen that we didn't count on or plan for.

We can't waste the joy of today worrying about the borrowed sorrows of tomorrow.

We, as humans, are kind of like rats and cockroaches (HAH, I knew that would get your attention). We are survivors. Life and the world can change drastically, and yet life continues. We just deal with the changes and keep on living.

So I have noticed that stores are carrying fewer "luxury" type items, and I am continuing to do my best to ensure that my family will be able to endure hardships together. I ponder what life will be like in 5 years, or 10 years, and what changes will take place. But I am no longer afraid.

Because we will go on.


Lynne said...

Your Mom is wise. My Mom's favorite expression was
"What will be, will be"

I'll take your comment one step further. I do belive we will cary on, survive, but I also count on the human spririt to carry us forward. Call me a Pollyanna but I believe in the innate goodness of man. I believe we will help each other forward. Difficult times bring out the worst in people, but more so they bring out the BEST in people. We need to LOOK for opportunities to help each other along. I will be cautious in my decision making but NOT fearful. I refuse.

Finding Pam said...

I think Lynne said it best. We will be OK. Just take care of yourself.

forest wisdom said...

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold..." ~Yeats

There's nowhere to go but on we go....

Great post. Thanks.

The Rambling Taoist said...

I'm not going to go with the flow here. Yes, we may survive, but in what form? Then again, if we keep trampling on Mother Earth, we, as a species, may not survive at all.

For me, the real questions about the shape of the economic and environmental world of tomorrow has little to do with us today. When things get genuinely bad (because of our present irresponsibility), we will all be dead. It is our progeny and their progeny who will pay the ultimate price.

We need to live in a way today that offers others a chance to live in joy tomorrow.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

"We need to live in a way today that offers others a chance to live in joy tomorrow" wrote the Rambling Taoist...

Quite so... We will go on... and the world will be a different place!

In WW2 (sensibly I arrived at its end) the house opposite was hit by a bomb and some repairs to ours took until 1954 to be carried out. We had rationing, I never tasted butter until I was 7, we did not have central heating, a car, TV, fridge, phone or washing machine until I was in my teens and we survived... and we went on.

Ok, we have global warming and a financial crisis but even in the midst of this most of us are living in a way that my parents would not even have dreamed of.

They not only had dreams, they also had nightmares punctuated by air raid sirens and for years, nearly nightly sleep overs in the air raid shelters... and they went on.

Like my parents, we will work to make a better world and by 'better' I do not mean a consumer orientated buy one get one free world.

Quite so Barefoot my friend... we will go on!

barefoot gardener said...

I hope you are right. I would like to think that folks still have that basic goodness within them....they just don't seem to show it much....

And you take care of you and yours

Glad you liked it...great quote!

While we have the responsibility to do the best we can now to reduce the impact of our historical stupidity in regards to the environment, it does us no good to lose ourselves in despair and panic. We must do the best we can with each day we are given, and accept that it is all we can do. That was the point that I was making.

Exactly long as there is life, there is hope for a better tomorrow.

The Rambling Taoist said...

We must do the best we can with each day we are given, and accept that it is all we can do.

Agreed. My point, however, is that contemporary society is nowhere near doing our best; we're closer to the other end of the spectrum.

Consequently, phrases like "We will go on" scares me because a lot of people will take that to mean we can pass off the hard choices to future generations. We won't need to compromise our wants because, hey, life will go on.

I think a little panic is a good thing. Since we humans predominantly seem to act out of self-interest, if we think our current self-interests are dooming the planet, maybe we'll start making changes now...before it's too late.

forest wisdom said...

I didn't know you were such an optimist. ;)

Deb said...

The Hermit and i were just discussing a friend of his who is somewhat of a survivalist. He just bought a couple AK47's to have on hand. My thought was that if living comes down to eating survival rations and waiting with loaded gun to defend the supply, life would not be worth it. I hope "going on" means something more hopeful, more gentle, and more connected with the land.

Kati said...

No matter what, it IS always the fact that "life will go on", it just won't go on the way we've hoped it would for the last 30 years. Yeah, so any one of us could get hit by a bus (or hit a moose *wry smile*), but life, for the rest, will go on.

I'm more afraid for those who DON'T look around, whether deliberately (like my hubby) or out of true ignorance (like my daughter) and consider what they can do to make their lives worth living without all the electronic devices to keep them permanently distracted from reality. And then there are those who are purposefully giving up, not just for themselves, but their families. The murder-suicides that have been on the news with some increased frequency.

I'd rather be fully coherant, and scared, and busy as hell trying to make the best of it, than either of the other two options (murder/suicide or inadvertent/intentional ignorance to the situation). Scared but active trumps dead or dumb any day. *wry smile*

Keep on plugging, dear, and know that you're doing what's best for your family and every little bit of prep you make helps them and sets an example for those who are awake but unimaginitive to think of solutions on their own.

barefoot gardener said...

RT- I guess we are both right, just coming at this from different perspectives. I was not looking at my post as something that would influence folks to remain lazy and not make changes, but I can see what you are saying. By being so optimistic, I could be giving folks the wrong idea about our responsibility to the environment and our children.

*smile* Don't poke at RT, now. A little optimism never hurt anyone. Besides, he might just be saying that to spare my feelings, and I would hate for him to take it back.

I agree that some folks have taken the current situation into the darkest places possible. I know a couple of folks that have a similar mindset that seem to be "fragmenting" with the current crises. They get a little wilder every day, and are starting to worry me with their ranting about "sheeple/zombie hordes" coming to take what is ours, etc. They might be right, but I sure hope not. I don't want to live my life in such a defensive and distrustful way.

I think that is why my mom's words were so comforting. I was fast on the track of becoming one of those who intentionally gives up. I was too frightened, and could not see how anything could be okay "after". It is better to have a healthy and productive level of fear than a paralyzing one....