This spring my life has felt like I’m strapped into a roller coaster ride without knowing that I got a ticket or actually got on board. Whoosh! Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, clickety-clack as I’m propelled up a steep incline where the view is spectacular and so many possibilities seem, well, possible. A brief pause at the peak where I’ve caught my breath and mistakenly thought I wasn’t on a ride at all.
Nope, I’m on even solid ground! This isn’t a ride, it’s the fruition of the long, tough hikes I’ve been taking regularly in my career, my spirituality, and the reclamation of my physical health. And then, the fantasy of my recent experiences being akin to a mountain hike abruptly disappears. The incredibly swift descent makes me grip onto things, people I love, my sense of balance while I struggle not to scream.
There have been the highs of presenting a mythological paper at ASWM; being invited by that group to attend an informal summer session; the treat of spending Mother’s Day with my daughter in Southern California; my friends’ birth of a lovely girl; the announcement of other dear friends’ pregnancy; working with new software designed to help organize my lengthy book projects; attending the most recent Free Herbalism Project by Mountain Rose Herbs; a dramatic improvement in a chronic ailment; and after his long diligent search, my son getting a job!
The lows have been the death of my aunt; witnessing, but not feeling that I’m really helping a friend who’s bravely dealing with her sister’s cancer on top of her husband’s surgery; the sudden death of my son’s dear friend; the chain-saw butchery inflicted on my neighbors’ redwood trees (which I adore); literally seeing (and feeling) the utter dying-off of plant life and drying-up of water in Southern California; reading about the point of no-return regarding the rapid melting of the polar ice caps; the escalations of war, violence, and crimes against women around the world; the knowledge that U.S. fracking, with the massive amounts of methane gas it releases as well as all the toxic chemicals it forces into the earth, waters, and air, is propelling us toward what seems to be toward a path of extinction.
I realize that I am blessed in countless ways. That I am privileged to be able to grow and eat organic food, to live in a region rich in beauty. That others’ struggles are more profound than mine. That my rewards may seem paltry in comparison to others’ bounty. All the same, this is the particular ride that I’ve been on lately. I’ve never much cared for roller coasters, ever. But, finally, I think I’m learning to breathe through the whole thing and remember that fear never made the ride end any quicker. And most of all, I’m trying to remember that we humans invented and built the roller coaster; we can dismantle the damn thing any time.