October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: A Journal

Hurricane Sandy: A Journal
10/29 - 7:29 PM

I WALKED OUTSIDE JUST NOW IN BROOKLYN. Are the New Yorkers in the congregation yielding to this temptation? A woman was hurt by a flying tree limb. She was jogging a couple blocks from here. But it really is so beautiful, the rushing music in the trees, all the houses whistling and moaning. A lot of my neighbors are home, the lights on while there's power. I'm calling friends just because. With land-fall so soon, there is a special moment kind of feeling. Sandy lends a perspective. Whatever else I did with my life I have my family and the Stop Shopping community. So that's a warm feeling. Then an screaming gust of wind came over the rooftops, bending the trees back, making the street signs vibrate and the rain horizontal. I got a taste of the fury of this Sandy. I felt how many people are suffering and will continue to suffer. How the hurricanes will be coming farther north, the oceans rising, the extinct life silenced. You can hear in how media report Sandy. She is coming out of nowhere. She is glorious but meaningless. She is a running amuck queen a thousand miles wide and she is independent of anything human. The storms and fires and floods get worse and worse, but nothing we do can cause this to happen. I got a feeling of how much work there is to do. We have to be translators for Earth, unprecedented wind in our voices. Sandy, we're learning!

10/30 - 8:16 AM

8 AM. All around - in the windows of my house, exhausted trees, birds hesitantly looking around, as if to say "Something much bigger than us, a god, a planetary mood... came through here and it must have had a good reason to do this!" That's what I hear the living things saying this morning. And so what are we saying, we humans, we humans of the vaunted West - who excited Sandy to organize such an uprising, a thousand mile wide storm so vastly superior to our economy, our patriotism, our little gods? We are dissolving into our usual masturbatory scandals, reporters scrambling to make their careers, victims surrounded by sirens and blinking lights, the big bad storm momentarily filling in for Al Qaeda or thieving immigrants or whatever Evil is lately. Humans and especially New Yorkers are the ones who could learn the most from the exhaustion of the trees and birds this morning. There was a reason for this.

10/31 - 3:49 AM

The implications of Hurricane Sandy feel so much more important than the election. When we "get our power back" where will that juice flow from, what CO2 will rise into the air as our homes get cozy again? Romney's election attacks women and anybody who isn't white and straight, and so realpolitik intervenes. But the inability of either candidate to mention the Earth in their debates - it as if Sandy emphatically responded. An Earth culture person wouldn't hesitate to say "Earth's healing is working hard, washing itself with wind and water, trying to breathe." Something about our middle-class education, something about the presumptions of that "get our power back" leaves us unable to imagine that Earth is a living thing that has an immune system. Perhaps the planet has a personality? Earth has moods? The ancestors of the people we slaughtered and enslaved, the children of those slaves who kept living with Earth - tell us without hesitation that this is true. Earth lives and breathes. Earth needs some basic balances to do this. Earth needs life in its woods and coral and streams and wetlands. Extinction is painful to Earth. We'll get our power back, sure we will - for a while. Well return to to our shopping, one more time.