Friday, 30 October 2009

give and take, and take, and take

As the Indian summer turns to a mellow autumn, there seems to be an intensification in the air of all good things. It gets to me every year, in small surprising bursts, like the sight of rose hips lit up by the low sun, or in whole blasts, like a walk past the autumn colours or watching the bees bring in loads of ivy pollen for their winter stores, like little bundles of late sunshine. And the more I’m out there, in nature, the stronger it gets: a harvest festival of the heart. Yesterday I spent a morning on the Landport allotment, moving compost to a new bed, raking it out and planting next year’s garlic and onion sets. It was a perfect confluence of elements: a couple of days before the full moon, on a root day, the sun was on my back and the earth was warm and moist. I moved through the soil with my bare hands, crumbling, smoothing, patting it, before sprinkling over a thin layer of straw mulch.

I worked slowly, savouring the moment. I had time to think about the things I’d read about the world, the previous day on the internet. Things are happening fast. Science and politics seem at last to agree that we’ve got a problem, or a great convergence of problems. Most still seem to think that technology and carbon agreements will get us through, though the pragmatists say: look folks, we’re already beyond the 350ppm tipping point. At 387ppm we in the West can only now look at radical reduction of consumption and conservation of forests, soils and oceans.I hope this isn’t the autumn of the human race, even though the external signs indicate that it is. I’d rather believe that we’re growing up at last. Mother Earth has given and given and we have taken and taken. I’d like to think we’re starting, one by one, on a very personal quest, in which we will learn to take personal responsibility, to become accountable. In the blessed absence of a judgemental God, we only have our own conscience, our sense of interdependence, our own mothering instinct, to be accountable to.

This video made me happy.


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

What a beautiful line, "a harvest festival of the heart".

Yes, at 387ppm the earth has passed the tipping point, but not (yet) passed the point where it is possible to slow down the effect and, hopefully, avoid the total disaster that will await us if radical steps are not soon taken.

adrienne campbell said...

You're right Peter; it's not too late and I will resist that thought till the last. There is always hope and room for change, and perhpas that's the place to work now, with people who do believe it's too late. Monbiot wrote an interesting column this week about this phenomenon.