To quote the title of Barry Lopez' recent book of essays: Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World

“Nothing but a child can wash these tears away or guide a weary world into the light of day.” Steve Earle

It’s just different now. I don’t feel like I am living in the same world. It’s a hurting world. It’s a moaning world.

I just finished Sheila Heti’s book, PURE COLOR, and was moved by her repeated reference to a God who looked at this world now as a ‘rough draft’ with problems he/she will have to fix on the next iteration.  Yes, this does feel like a rough draft in many ways, if only the way people including myself have treated it. I haven’t always had such conviction, but I feel like I’m bent forward now, walking with my shoulders back and my head leveled, every footstep that I take is one of intention and attempted alignment.  What about you? Have you had the melting of the icecaps nipping at your heels?

I don’t have a whole lot of expendable income at this stage of my life as a fine artist, but I have decided to walk the talk on a couple of fronts. The first is to commit to having a series of solar panels installed on my studio roof.

new solar panels on studio roof

They came last week, 3 young guys crawling around on the peak and south slope, screwing into the rafters the rails that will hold the panels, dragging electric cables across and down to wire into a couple of boxes outside on the front wall. Inspector came twice and signed off on their handy-work and the electric department will come soon and put in the meter. When we ran the numbers on my history of electric power consumption, it worked out that 12 panels will give me an average of 97% burden. That means I can completely reduce use of use of fossil fuels in the house, have my gas cut off and sell that big noisy furnace in my cellar. I’ll even exchange my stove for a new and efficient electric one, that’s how important this is to me. And that was not an easy decision, considering how I like to cook. Oh well, everything has a price.

On another front, I am a passionate gardener, but I am letting my little patch of lawn go back to dirt and will perhaps next year, have some flagstones and a quiet fountain put in place where the green lawn lived and demanded water, and mowing.  My mower is electric, that’s great, but my water bill doesn’t care. The perennial beds will continue to thrive because of my commitment to our pollinators and to the beauty in life. That’s where I’m willing to spend money on water and muscle on weeding. It’s gloriously in the mid-summer garden now.

So, what can we do as individuals? First recommendation is to really come to grips with the reality of this changed and hurting ‘first draft’ of a world. (What more do you need to convince you these days?)
And once you really grasp that in your heart and mind, re-think your life style. Have what I call a come-to-Jesus session with yourself and your loved ones.  Embrace simplicity, embrace frugalness, embrace awareness. Embrace our planet, please. 

Leave a comment