The frog was in one of the livestock watering bowls again this morning – which is not unusual at all. I’ve been seeing that same frog there morning after morning, since drought hit the West coast hard over a year ago. Same frog, about the size and shape of a hockey puck, this morning she squeaked as I helped her into the brush. She was nervous.
I’ve never found her there so late in the morning – at least an hour past sunrise. Surrounded by hens and turkeys, her imminent demise upon her (lizards and frogs are a delicacy worth fighting over in our flocks), water bowl was mostly empty, she hunkered down.
Amphibians have been hit harder than most species by the age of Anthropocene (aka the Age of Holocene Extinction). They often live between the worlds of water and land, have highly permeable absorbent skin, and are native to habitats know for their subtle fecundity. They are shapeshifters, and suffer for it in the modern world. They are disappearing faster than almost any other specie. The drought must be accelerating their demise – except for this one frog.
We are of course, busy accelerating our own demise. The transformation we all need to undergo to address global warming seems farther and farther away every day. I don’t think the challenges are scientific or technological, they are cultural. We seem to lack the culture to enable the change we all know we collectively need to make.
We’re also busy accelerating the collapse of a civilization based in cheap carbon – continuing destructive technologies, encouraging monetary practices that disable us all. The civilization ushering in an ecological catastrophe is simultaneously ushering in its own. Perhaps this frogs life will get a little easier!
As one world ends, another will be born. I think this frog is already living there. Its marsh may be gone, regular rains may be gone, but life has provided a bowl of water. Not a habitat, but a place to cool and replenish. I plan to build a pond soon, a new home for my friend.
I think thats the key in navigating the many changes that await us all. To acknowledge that the old way is dying, to grieve it and the many losses that go with it, but realize also that the new world is taking shape around us even as the old world dies. The new sprouts of that world are small (often hard to recognize), but they are there. There are a million little ways that a more vibrant, sustainable world is quietly coming into being.
When an old civilization is busy dying, choose to live in the new way being born when you can. Just makes sense. Choose to nourish that new world as it comes into your life. You don’t have to put great effort into abandoning the old world, just let it die. The new world will grow faster if you become a part of it.
The other night, while I was washing dishes, I had a thought about how to help us develop the kind of culture that can pull back from the ecological collapse likely at our current pace of global warming. The answer came easily: we need to empower womens voices globally. After all thats whats been missing from our voracious culture to balance it out: the voices of women. Maybe thats the real imbalance we need to address. Not cars (that will follow), not consumption (that will follow), not not not (you get the idea). We need to change how our cultures have been diminishing women for eons. Emma Watson had something to say about that to the world recently.
Maybe thats part of choosing to live in the new world, just release the old, allow it to go – RECEIVE the new. Be open to what is right in front of you. Learn to receive again from life instead of forcing and pushing, forcing and pushing – so many of us are trained that way. Its a regular meditation in my life. When I’m stuck I ask myself “what am I not receiving?” What have I not allowed in that life is giving me right now? Thats the presence of the feminine in action.
The other day I could feel my heart swelling with a new strength, a sureness of my way through the world, a sureness of my place in my family and my work there. I knew who I was and what was required of me. What a relief! All that came from receiving life, doing less, feeling more. I let myself be that frog in the water bowl, some greater hand lifted me up and showed me where to go. Divine.
Its not always easy to figure out what is part of the new world and what is part of the old. I thought I’d list a few ways I’m receiving in the new world thats emerging around us right now.
- Offering spirit doctoring/shamanic healing regardless of ability to pay (sometimes that flexibility is required by life). This method of healing and relating to the world can be very helpful, especially when modern technology fails you.
- Participating in non-traditional means of financial exchange (even paypal has its place).
- Developing skills that bring me closer to the functions of the earth (homesteading, cooking, gardening)
- Investing in real, whole food. Sometimes I think this is the answer to many of our problems: growing and cooking your own whole foods.
- Learning how to work with small scale livestock raising.
- Learning to mill my own flour, bake my own bread. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to share it with others.
- Investing deeply in the joys and challenges of family, a panacea for many things.
- Supporting other artists and healers working in the new world.
There’s much more to this topic than this frog can cover today. I’ve got a post coming up soon on some luminaries in this area, people who have a lot to offer us on our journey into and through this age of transformation. Look for it soon!
Image: Grumpy Toad by By Weemeeuw from Flickr, used under
a Creative Commons license