The very last day of summer. There always seems to be a new last summers’ day these days. I am walking along the little river Linge, surrounded by orchards and trees on fertile soil, left behind from the times when it was still flooding the surrounding lands. It’s a friendly river now, we have tamed its’ wildness long ago, the way we tamed much of the water and the landscape here. Water is the source of all life. It feels like coming closer to that, walking here. Water can be clear and calm and inviting. It can also be frightful and destructive, as we can see in the images from Indonesia these days.
Things that are tamed have their energy controlled, lessened. I wonder, where does the original or excess energy go? Does it evaporate, does it disappear? Or does it go underground, to the shadows, as I’ve learned from my own taming in childhood. To come out with destructive force, when we least expect it. We have for so long been trying to tame this source of abundance. To rule and regulate. I recognize what it brings us, this taming; more prosperity, contentedness, longer lives. But does it also have a downside? Is it possible that we control largely out of fear for death and sickness, where they are part of life? I compare the flow of water with the flow love, also an energy that we have tamed by subjecting it to rules and regulations. If you take away the flow, you take away some of its’ original and unique qualities. It grows stale, like a pool of water that has no outlet.
This glorious autumn day also has an uneasiness about it. It scares me a bit how I almost take this for granted, this beauty and golden autumn, knowing full well that this is also a sign of things not going well. The ploughed lands are dry, grey from lack of moisture. It’s not how it should be, we know and are told daily in the news. The beauty of the day also makes me feel uneasily privileged. It’s always the ones in power that seem to escape the brutal facts of life, and it makes me one of them. How about the people affected by floods, earthquakes and hurricanes? It makes this day feel like the calm before a storm. What can one person do about this? Oh yes, I support in little ways. I hardly eat meat anymore, buy seasonal veggies, but they are still wrapped in plastic. I don’t buy vegetables from far away countries, but I do fly to the UK regularly for work and study. My heating is off most of the time (which is easy with this type of weather). If I can’t solve it for myself, I am also not going to criticise other people for doing what they do, but it’s a hard to solve dilemma and I know we are not doing enough to stop the storm.
It would seem like mother Earth is revolting against us. We have tamed too much, maybe. Maybe there is a price for taming and preserving. Christianity holds the belief that we are stewards of the earth, but we behave presumptiously like her masters. In the Andes, according to the ‘Pacha Mama’, people see us as her children. I like to think we are intrinsically part of her. Much like Goethe wrote: “Would the eye not have sun like quality, it would not be able to see the sun”. Or take our dreams, where our feelings are translated into images for us to understand. Maybe in the same way our senses experience the earth as a translation of the energy she and us essentially are. Mother earth will survive, I don’t doubt that at all. But will we? Will we still be here to admire her beauty, be fed by all she has to give and show us?
It’s not hard to imagine with the prospects of climate change that the Riders of the Apocalypse are near, according to some. Yet I would say they are not coming to us from the outside. They are inside us, coming out of us, like the untamed parts of ourselves. In contemporary language, their names might be righteousness, arrogance, contempt, and indifference. We all have parts of them inside us. You can’t fight them with their own weapons. All you can do is bring untamed softness and love into the world.
At the end of my walk, on a terrace in a small town, I treat myself to an icecream. It’s good to be kind to oneself as well 🙂