May Tricks

Superb blooming California flannel bush

Have we ever had a lovelier spring?

Probably. But for some reason, this year’s crop of beauty seems over the top, even by today’s standards. Sometimes I think we’ve been spoiled by all the digital manipulation of images into expecting nothing less than perfection from Reality. And, if the rising rate of devastating storms, floods, fires and other unnatural disasters world wide is any indication, Reality is not amused.

Just a few short weeks ago news outlets around the globe devoted a small portion of their precious air time to note the 50th annual celebration of Earth Day. Each year I try to tell myself that things are getting better. But then, I’m a great fan of fiction.

The truth is, Earth is heating up faster than ever, and all the recycling in the world won’t make a dent unless we can somehow put the brakes on our reckless consumption and toxic habits.

Easier said than done. Much easier to turn the page, find another channel, listen to some breezy music and assume things will somehow get better, because they always have in the past.

But really? The past, the real past, has been going on so much longer than humans have existed. Our measly 10,000 years or so of civilized behavior barely registers in the Big Picture. Of course, it’s hard for us to live our little lives, taking care of our families and burnishing our sense of our own importance in the scheme of things, while trying to bear in mind that we may not be the most marvelous creatures in the universe.

Those would be the Avengers.

Or not. How are we to know? All we can do is look around at the world in which we find ourselves and try to make some sense of it. Humans are born with a sense of narrative. We think of our lives as stories, with beginnings, middles and ends. But maybe that’s just another illusion.

Every spring the illusion of renewal and hope opens in the theater of my mind. Flowers bloom, bees hum, birds gotta fly, etc., and for a little while the very air seems filled with hope. Until you turn on the news and learn of the latest catastrophe.

Here and now, with our gadgets and conveniences, and our 24-7 diversion cycle, it’s too easy to forget the work that needs to be done in the Big Yard. I don’t want to live a simulated life. No Matrix for me. There’s trouble right here on planet Earth, but if we all pull together and stop fighting over petty stuff like kids on the playground, we’ve got a chance to keep this planet blooming for another millennium or two. What do you say guys?


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