Dear Samuel, Willa, and Ben,
I love you all so much, my dear hearts. Whatever happens between now and 2050, that much is true. While we are here, and call this earth our home, I will delight in you every-day, and I will laugh and be silly and plan adventures with you. Because I know that you absorb my energy, and learn, above all, from my way of being in the world.
The year 2050 feels a long way off, and whether that year we see earth’s continued deterioration, or an earth healing, still beautiful yet changed, remains to be seen. I hope and believe it is the latter, and oh my, is there work to do! So lets get rolling.
While I dream that all of you enjoy a rich, full and beautiful life, there are no guarantees. So many mothers don’t have that luxury, and we participants in the fossil fuel economy play a role in that, if we care to follow the tracks to their uncomfortable conclusion. I will work my whole life to untangle myself from being someone who benefits at the expense of others in the human family.
The good news is that this “untangling” is not something to dread, but feels right and natural, as it goes alongside digging into place, fine tuning the art of community, and learning how to value connection over possession. It means answering the call to move closer to our people, whoever they are, away from our screens and out of our big, lonely houses, to gather by the fire come winter nights, and tell stories, sing, and gaze in awe at the flames, as humans have done for millennia. It means creating a life that is not always comfortable, but sparkles, with folk music, and dancing, shared gardens and nourishing foraged food. Together with family and friends, we live the question, what will be the regenerative story of our lives?
What do I commit to? What steps will I take to avoid the kind of denial or overwhelm that all the bad news coming in can trigger? How do I walk the line between paralysis and panic and keep a calm center as I engage on this matter of climate change?
-I will make my peace with death. I will pray. I will connect with my body’s innate wisdom. I will prioritize my own wellness and self-care, so that I may have the stamina to be an effective parent and citizen over the long term. I will go sit for stretches of time, leaning against a tree, rooted to the earth, to do nothing but drop into my body and breath, to pray, or mourn, and to let myself feel what I am really feeling.
– I will teach myself, and you, the indigenous histories of this land, and the real cost of the settler colonial project. I will connect with indigenous people with whom I share my home, and support their work. I will track down the bits and pieces of my ancestral and cultural story and heal the wounds of my past. I will find and tell the stories of those who love and protect and steward the earth.
-I will keep moving away from processed, packaged, imported food, towards seasonal, and local or regional food. All of us will be involved in food procurement and preparation-gardening, foraging, hunting, shopping, cooking- not just the women! I will be intentional as concerns travel by car and plane, and get creative about driving less via carpooling, bussing, walking, biking. I’ll dream about taking a passenger train across Montana or to CA one day with all of you.
-To the core of my being, and only through the power of community, I will honor the voices of the youth who are pleading, “Don’t burn my future.” Samuel, Willa, and Ben, your little voices I know, will join that chorus soon enough.
-Your father and I are committed to one another, and to being on this journey together as a family. You are the treasures of our lives, our 3 unique and beloved children, though we don’t think you are any more worthy of a good life than other children in other places. And we will figure out how to empower you, guide you, and, even as we grieve what is lost, we will overflow our own cup of healing and hope into your lives.