Monday, November 2, 2020

To counter the madness

By Beth Sullivan

As I write, it is Halloween.  We had a trick yesterday - snow and frigid temps - and a treat today when the sun came out and everything sparkled. The contrast of the colored leaves with the white snow and water droplets was really pretty.

Preserve our serene and inspiring places.


Am I scared this Halloween?

Yes.   I am scared about the situations we are in.   I cannot prioritize; each one of these issues is a crisis in and of itself, enough to rattle the brain of even the sanest. And that is not me!  

I worry about politics and policies and the election and what will happen afterwards.

I am angry and saddened by the disrespect for each other and intolerance of so many, the acceptance of lies and brutality and inhumane behavior towards others.  Racism.

I am scared of Covid: it is not going away; it is creeping closer to home. Being of a certain age, I am more vulnerable and am living in a situation where another in my household is immunocompromised.     We are being really careful.  I miss my grandchildren.

I am truly concerned about the youngest among us.  While they may be more able to rebound or resist in this health crisis, I worry that from social, emotional and educational perspectives, they will suffer more than we can imagine with long lasting effects.

I am frustrated and scared by the refusal of some leaders to see that the climate is changing, and not for the better. It’s one thing to see it on paper: heat indices rise; sea levels rise; ice melts; fires rage; hurricanes are record breaking; seasons are messed up.  But we can witness some of this in our own communities.  Flooding tides and record drought all in one town.

I am frightened and angry about the environmental abuse that is occurring. There have been changes in the regulations concerning clean water and air standards. There is less concern, or none at all, for endangered species and the chain of life, the interconnected webs that we ourselves are a part of.  I fear that the old forests and huge blocks of untouched wilderness will be opened and violated.  They will never recover their virgin state.  I worry about our soil and our oceans.  Can they sustain the next generations? 

Storms and higher tides flood our communities. Photograph by Rick Newton.

Our reservoirs run dry. Photograph by Rick Newton.

Listen for bird song. Photograph by Rick Newton.

Find stability in the ongoing cycle of seasons. Photograph by Al Bach.


To counter the madness

HOWEVER, I also work really hard to find the positive to overcome these fears.  The world is truly awesome.  The more I practice seeing the positive, seeing the beauty and focusing on what is good, the less fearful I can be.  Even if it is only for a short time, concentrating on something positive can break the anxiety.

We each have to find our own ways to do this.  For me, the best way is to be in nature.  There are so many beautiful places to let our eyes rest and our spirits be restored - places where we can let our minds quiet. We are blessed with an abundance of choices: oceans and beaches, forests and fields, flower gardens, and wild meadows.   Just looking at the snow and leaves this morning, in the sparking sun, gave me happiness.  For the last month or more, listening to the night noises in the woods was hypnotic.   This afternoon, the constant dripping of water from leaves in the woods was soothing.  We can listen to birds.  We can share these moments with a friend, a child or even a pet.  Sharing joy expands us.

In order to be able to ensure that these opportunities remain, to give us peace and to share with the youngest ones, we need to do our best to see that each one of us takes a stand.

 Each one of us must vote with our hearts, and souls and conscience, to protect what is at stake. From the smallest creature, and the smallest child, to biggest forest tracts and deepest oceans.

My one voice doesn’t count for a lot.  We have to believe that together all our voices will.   Mother Nature and Father Time can heal, but if we want to see results in our lifetime, we need to act together. Now. Use your voice to educate a child, spread your own peace. Make your voice heard in your community to help protect the birthright of our children and grandchildren.  Help teach them kindness and empathy.   The world will be a better place in their hands.

Find beauty in the cold.


Share the wonder. Photograph by Emily Sullivan.


My happiest place. Photograph by Emily Sullivan.

Photographs by Beth Sullivan, unless otherwise indicated.