The Slow Down

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What the what is going on?!

This week I learned that there is such a thing as a bomb cyclone, that entire trains can be blown off of their tracks by high wind, and what happens in the aftermath of a blizzard induced multi car pile-up in which, Thank God, loved ones were uninjured. And, just yesterday, I saw a car unexpectedly catch on fire, had to cut someone out of a coat in which they were stuck after the zipper broke, and later found myself in the orange barrel lane of an interstate that went down to one lane without warning (I was not alone in this predicament).

What is going on?!

As a lover of astrology I’d be inclined to blame it all on the current Mercury retrograde, but really? The Ides of March perhaps, that notoriously unlucky day on which Caesar was assassinated in the Senate, after he failed to Beware.

Coming on the heels of a week in which most of my circle, myself included, were sick with some version of cold, flu, or allergies, was this week simply another sign to slow down and take it easy? A reminder of how little we are in control of and of how quickly things can change from “normal” to chaotic and uncertain?

On March 14, 2009, I was putting clean sheets on the bed after getting home late from a party and as the rust colored fabric billowed in the air I thought, for no apparent reason, “tomorrow is the Ides of March, I wonder if anything weird will happen?” The next morning I received a call telling me that my former boyfriend had died in a car accident the night before, right around the time I was making that bed. I was devastated. Fifteen days before my 30th birthday, it set the tone for my thirties and what would be a strange decade. As I made the drive from LA to New Mexico for the Memorial Service, the Mojave Desert was carpeted in yellow flowers, something I’d never seen before  and haven’t seen since.

One year later, on March 15, 2010, I was caught in a blizzard driving to Las Vegas, New Mexico, for the first day of shooting the Coen Brother’s film “True Grit”. What should have been a one hour drive became four and, little did I know, they closed the Interstate just after I made it through. So, most of the crew was stuck in Santa Fe anyway and it didn’t matter that I’d made it past multiple accidents and to the motel, crying.

Is it just a crazy time of year, a time best spent by resetting and slowing down, before Spring’s warmth and greenery begin? Time to til the soil and prepare, before planting? A slowdown meant to recharge and ready us for Summertime trips, hikes, and projects?

After a few days of below average, freezing temperatures, today is gorgeous, sunny, and wind free. The energy is calmer. I spent the morning digging up old plants, getting my hands dirty, raking leaves, and preparing to plant seeds soon, once it’s warmer. Dirt always grounds me, no pun intended.

The past two weeks have been a needed reminder to slow down, notice the beauty, rest, prepare, heal, and take a moment to appreciate our precious and bizarre time and lives, never taking any of it for granted.

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Heat

It’s upwards of 110 degrees throughout much of Los Angeles county today and I have spent the day either in nearby businesses that have AC, reading in a bathtub of cold water, or in my apartment wearing a dress I keep wetting in the sink. The only solid foods I’ve eaten in two days are chips and guacamole, to go with my smoothies and ice cream; heat apparently turns me into a dietary child. I have at times had to work outside in similar temperatures and today I am grateful to be off but worried for all of the gardeners, construction, film, and road workers (among others) who are sweating it out outside. And, I can’t help but wonder, as each year gets hotter than the last and heat records continue to be shattered, how will we, as a species, cope? Already we are seeing mass migration due to war, violence, poverty, and climate change, but we are just at the beginning of the tipping point. Drought, wildfire, flooding, and famine will become more normal than they already are and the coming generations won’t know a time when they weren’t. Are these the good old days, the ones we are living in right now, at this moment? Are these the times we will reminisce about, back to when a 112 degree day made the news, because it was still abnormal? I think about my eight year old nephew and my friend’s three month old baby girl and wonder if they will experience and remember summer as a time for camping, slip and slides, and ice cream? Will there be snow to build snowmen or snowballs with in the winter? I wake in the middle of the night with a weight on my chest at the thought that these really could be the days we look back fondly upon. Where will billions of people go when their crops turn to dust or their neighborhoods disappear under several feet of water? The migration we see now will seem tiny in comparison, and as usual it will be those with the fewest resources who suffer the most and pay the biggest price. Today is Scott Pruitt’s (the pathetic head of the Environmental Protection Agency) last day and for now he will be replaced by the equally unqualified former energy lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler. How men who have children and grandchildren can deny climate change without giving it even the benefit of a doubt, I will never understand. Greed. Greed followed by willful ignorance. While visiting Amsterdam in 2014, I stumbled on a fantastic, huge, multi level bookstore of which almost one third seemed to be about, or in some way related to, climate change. With an average elevation of 2 meters, but with much of the city sitting below sea level, the Dutch are keenly aware of the precarious spot they occupy on earth. One might wonder why the people of New Orleans, Miami, and New York City don’t seem so worried, or why all Americans just seem to be going along, waiting, wondering if and when it will get worse. It’s overwhelming to realize that the beautiful planet that sustains and nourishes us on every level could cease to do so. And equally overwhelming to realize we have created this disaster and that our elected officials continue to perpetuate it. I don’t know what the answer is, other than to do what we can. Support local and small scale farmers, live in small, energy efficient homes, drive small gas efficient cars, resist the policies that take us closer to the tipping point of no return, support public transportation, bike, spend our dollars wisely, investigate, research, stop eating beef, support solar and wind energy, conserve water… it all makes a difference. I don’t want to look back on now as the good, old days. I want our kids and grandkids to have it even better than we did. I know you do too. Stay cool out there!If you enjoy these posts, please follow Smagik.com and please share and comment!