Monday, January 17, 2022

Being Here Now



Photos by Christine Lowther

The tsunami missed us this time,
but swept away others.
Mother Earth's voice grows louder,
while leaders stay silent, responding
to crisis upon crisis, no time 
for addressing the fact
that we live in  a collapsing world.
Icebergs melt, huge cracks open in the earth,
floods and fire and storms batter,
one after another, so that crisis is
the order of the day, just
another bit of morning news.

Ram Dass was ahead of his time
with Be Here Now. I am here,
loving where I live, sadly watching
trees fall, more ecosystems being
cleared away for humans,
because we are too many.

We, who have voices,  are
the only possible agents of change
in this transapocalyptic world.
Let's demand that our leaders
act; with our dollars, refuse to support
corporate criminals and factory "farms".

The earth will force those who are left
to return to the Old Ways.
The indigenous people of the earth
will show us how.

Meanwhile, the 8th continent,
the forest canopy, is disappearing.
Where I live, in what is left
of the last of the old growth,
deforestation continues apace.

Some of us work to pass tree bylaws;
we bring to Council our dismay
at the forest falling; we fight to save what's left.
Every day we write a letter to Council,
pen a poem, visit a tree. We steadfastly love
the sea that one day will swallow us. 
We love where we live, while, every day,
its destruction is breaking our hearts.

The canopy as the 8th continent is  a premise discussed by Meg Lowman in the book The Arbornaut, in which she explores the kingdom at the tops of trees. A large portion of Tonquin forest is now gone. Already, they are talking of falling the rest, which they had said was not under threat. A group of us have been trying to get Council to pass a tree bylaw for years. We are now mobilizing to save the rest of Tonquin. So many wild creatures are being displaced and encroached upon. No government or corporate agencies think about them, and their right to a safe place to live. This "human first" attitude is what has destroyed so much of what was once bountiful enough for all (all but the greedy.)

Cutting old growth in an escalating climate crisis caused by a warming earth is insane. But leaders work for votes, not for what is best, or difficult. Easier to put in one's term, let "future" governmental agencies deal with the fallout. Except all of B.C.'s agencies are fully involved this year dealing with massive flooding, wildfires, heat domes,  collapsing infrastructure, and a pandemic. I think they have utterly lost control; the tipping point has been passed. One way or another, humans will  learn how to live on this earth. The way it looks, this may be after cataclysm. Meanwhile, we love where we live, we do what we can, we wish for enlightened leaders who rarely appear. 

for earthweal, where we are contemplating these transapocalyptic times, and how we are living through them.


  1. 'We steadfastly love
    the sea that one day will swallow us.'

    - like you said, I explored a similar idea in my poem. So tragic that the Tonquin forest is being destroyed. I appreciate the work you do to defend our planet, and the home you love!

  2. The concept of the 8th continent is very interesting. Your words should be a wake-up call.

  3. Destruction of old trees happens here too...It is downright wickedness and consequences will follow. We were spared the Tsunami too...although severe cyclones are predicted. My advice to everyone : when the birds stop singing and there is an eerie silence that is not the time to go for a walk on the beach...head for
    high ground immediately

  4. "We steadfastly love
    the sea that one day will swallow us."

    And the sad thing is that it's not even like the sea is "winning." It's only reflecting the damage we do to our entire biosphere.

  5. Yet again, your poem and your commentary echo each other--and thus you show us the work of the poet to record the present as we remember the past--and to write to those who MUST learn to listen. I agree with all you say and am swayed to keening by the poem: "We steadfastly love
    the sea that one day will swallow us."

  6. I agree with Susan, you present the living voice of poetry at this moment. It matters. The 8th continent is mostly a ghost now but still our empty companion. We can sing that.

  7. I share your opinion, Sherry. The only way that any change will come is through legislation, and legislation will only come because those with the most money see saving the planet as the only way to save their money. Our words and heartaching will change nothing. Only money and pleasure matter in this putrid world we've made for ourselves.

  8. Ram Das had a big influence on me during my twenties and then a few years ago I discovered his theories on aging and found them very helpful. What a beautiful soul he was.
    Your story of the trees of BC is really interesting. How strange that your big forest is called the Tonquin. In Tasmania there is a magnificent old growth forest called the Tarquin. Saving the forests in that region occupied many of us for many years.
    How awful that your forests are under threat again - 'It is only when the last tree has fallen that they will realize you can't eat money'. How sad, how incredibly sad.

  9. Whoa hold on -- it is not true to say half of Tonquin Forest is gone. It is accurate to say that a part of the section called District Lot 114 is gone. We want to protect the rest of DL114. And all of Tonquin Forest. Some of which is already a park. I'm going to try to attach the url address to our petition here.

  10. I had not heard of the 8th Continent, but that is quite apropos. The living world, it is. Or dying, given we short-sighed bipeds desires. Stupid apes, we are. "sapiens" is the most arrogant of appellations, I would offer. ~


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