[An excerpt from the book Deep Creek, Finding Hope in the High Country, by Pam Houston]
How do I feel hope on a dying planet, and if there is no hope to be found, how do I live in its absence? In what state of being? Respect? Tenderness? Unmitigated love? The rich and sometimes deeply clarifying dreamscape of vast inconsolable grief?
….Even now, evidence of the earth’s ability to heal herself is all around us, a daily astonishment……This book has been an effort to write my way to understanding of how to be alive in the meantime, in the final days, if not of the earth, then at least of the earth as I’ve known her. Because it has only been in knowing her that I’ve come to know myself.
…..I want to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief without having to diminish one to accommodate the other. I want to be honest with myself about our condition, but also to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive.
……..I want to sit vigil with the earth……I want to write unironic odes to her beauty, which is still potent, if not completely intact. The language of wilderness is the most beautiful language we have and it is our job tossing it, until and even after it is gone, no matter how much it hurts………
….the earth doesn’t know how not to be beautiful.
The author has written my feelings exactly, loving earth’s beauty with all of my being, at the same time being fully aware of how she is struggling, along with all of her systems and creatures, to survive our wanton plundering of her bounty, leaving her wild creatures homeless, starving and dying.
The pain is unbearable, and just as strong as my love for and appreciation of her beauty – beauty enough to break my heart, now that I can no longer live in the erroneous belief that her bounty is infinite.
I do know that she can heal and that, one day, there will be far fewer of us, and then, finally, she will. I hope the creatures come back a-plenty, and that future humans will have learned how to share this earth with all of the wild, and with each other. As it was intended to be. As it has always been with the indigenous people of the earth.