Upon Entering the Winter of 2021

I am sitting listening to a podcast, “the negative outcomes of fossil fuel are now declining our development.” This morning the coffee is strong, and the sky outside is overcast and building towards the next downpour. “There are other options to restart our evolution, but these are being ignored.” Another passage breaks through this morning’s calm. Our impending extinction is explicit, and the news is about free trade and travel. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but…”

The coffee grows cold. I gather to walk before the rain sets in. Moving between the grass and rounded rocks, I alter my pace toward the shoreline. An orange board and sail are pushed out of the rocky shore by a wet-suited man. I watch him paddle out into the impending storm, more concerned with his task than his comfort. There is an innate quality in us to take up the challenge individually, but we go toward comfort as a collective and build new pipelines?

I turned and moved through a narrow path brushing up against the snowberries as high as my shoulders. Winding down toward the beach, there the debris brought ashore by the cyclone bomb comes into view. There is a thick carpet of seaweed, kelp and logs between the sand and the storm barrier. A stream, dormant all summer, is cutting a new course out into the bay just beyond this debris, where the beach suddenly drops cut away by the storm. We attempt to insure ourselves against hardship rather than focus on solutions. In the distance, are our sea lanes ferrying our coal and fuel to those countries we criticize for burning it? I pause, then walk out onto the narrow band of sand exposed by the receding tide.

The following day under heavy skies, I head out, probability of rain 100 percent. The tide is in, and the waves are green with churning bits of seaweed. I follow the sand between the waves and logs thrown by the storm against the shore. “…gains from the enlightenment are declining and we are rushing back to barbarism, and it is not clear that we have the power to stop it.” I come up across a red hull thrown up by the cyclone bomb a new direct threat by the ecosystem in an attempt to stop us.

The rain begins to fall, the kayaks are coming ashore, and only a couple is with their child in the drizzle. They stop and watch as she marvels at the sand now slipping between her fingers. She must feel the interconnectivity, that we are part of it.

We live in an old chaos of the sun, 
Or old dependency of day and night, 
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free, 
Of that wide water, inescapable. 
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail 
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky, 
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink, 
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.