Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thoughts after the Solstice

Of my solstice poem, posted here last week, my best friend and most useful critic (because she never lies just to be nice) said “I think the image of a dying sun gushing fire onto us is a little unsettling, but only a little.”
I agree; I find it unsettling, and meant it to be unsettling.
There are several ideas lying behind that poem which admittedly couldn’t be extracted from the text.
There was the thought of the Taurobolium, the sacrifice to the Great Mother made in old Rome in which the communicant stood under a perforated platform so that the blood of the sacrificed bull poured down upon him.
I also was thinking about Longleaf Pines, the huge pines that once dominated much of Georgia. Longleaf forests require fires: the mature trees survive the fires, and the seeds germinate only in fire-scorched soil.
But also though about global warming. I’ve been concerned about the greenhouse effect since I first read about it while preparing a sixth-grade science project, long before it was a popular topic of conversation.
In fact I think we – by “we” I mean our human “civilization” in the form it now exists – are screwed. The climate is destabilizing and at some point it will snap. The system will got out of control, and many bad things will happen before it reaches some new equilibrium – and it will reach that equilibrium, but by then the world will be a very different one in which humans have lived through our recorded history (an eyeblink in geological time.)
The disaster is upon us and I doubt that anything our great nation-states and corporations and leaders can do will stop it happening.
And maybe that means humans will get another chance, to start over again and maybe not screw up so bad. Which is the other thought behind the poem; that the head of the sun is burning off our botched civilization.
I wrote some of this thought to BF&MUC, who has heard me say such things before. She replied: “I'm not fond of the thought if ‘starting over’" means lots of pain and/or mortality for many humans. If it means we have a chance to avert such suffering by changing ourselves a bit, that's ok -- of course I realize that we might all have differing ideas about how we need to change.”
She’s right, of course. I don’t hope for the disaster; I just think it’s inevitable. The point to hope for, work for, strive a way of salvaging something from the disaster.

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