I spoke with a friend today who told me of a small struggle. She's longed to see the Grand Canyon, and now she has a chance, to go there, to travel it, down river, with friends. I want to go, I've always wanted to see it, she said, but I'd have to fly to get there. Knowing what I know about climate change, she said, I'm not sure that going is right.
She wasn't asking for advice, which was good, since I didn't have any to give, beyond noting the paradox -- that love of beauty and nature and this wondrous Earth leads those of us who can afford it to weaken the very thing we love, as we drive and fly to take in that beauty and be restored by it.
There's so much loss, my friend said. So much we are accustomed to that we are coming to understand cannot go on.
I agreed, thinking of all that I do that I know works against the future, thinking of all the habbits I'm trying to break.
What we might have to give up in response to climate change is one side of the coin, but there's another. On good days I can sense it, and today, was a good day. After my friend left, I walked, on the hillside above my home. The hemlocks were dark against the clear grey sky and the hills rolled out in blue waves beyond them. I stood still at the top of the hill, a quarter mile from home. Two ravens flew up the valley below me, calling deeply. In the birches a woodpecker cried, a few quiet flakes of snow drifted downwards.
That hillside is always there, above my house, and is never the same, from one day to the next. But days go by, weeks, without my dipping into the peace and beauty that are there, waiting.
I know that hemlocks against snow, and the black of ravens arcing across the sky are a different sort of beauty than the Grand Canyon, and not the same as the sands of Florida or the waters off Belize either.
But I also know that this one hillside has enough to notice - if one is prepared to notice – for a lifetime of walking. If changing to meet the demands of the climate means staying home more, seeking restoration by foot, and not by airplane, I know that assured restoration is there, on this simple, nearby hilltop, where it always has been.