God lives here
God lives here; the setting sun knows it, as it lowers itself slowly into the sea, an orb of gold, shimmering with the memory of the treasures of my day, taking its last bow, closing the curtains on the dark thunder clouds of what might have been, bringing peace to 10,000 miles of ocean, turning its color from teal to steel, dressing each wave’s white horse mane with a glistening silver tip, as they ride their black arches in toward the shore with a power and certainty I wish I knew.
A brotherhood of gulls rises from the shore, pushing off from the wet sand; their footprint hieroglyphs tell me everything, then not, as a sliding pool of clear seawater gently washes over them, dissolving their messages. They travel east on the last of the breeze, just above the breaking waves, paralleling the shoreline, silhouetting themselves against the last glimmers of sun, creating a thousand glorious photographs not taken, for I am alone on the beach with my dog. Gulls streak by not noticing either of us, their focused-eye determination unwavering in their acrobatic flight home, to where I know not.
The tide is coming in, bringing with it the cool of evening, its waves washing gently over old pebble stones of gray that are never dirty and always clean, leaving them surrounded like momentary moated castles till the next wave baptizes them again as if they were perpetual sinners. The dog sees something that demands her immediate attention. She dashes, consumed by possibility, mightily galloping across the sand full of fun and excitement, chasing scurrying little chick-birds feasting at the water’s edge. They rush away in unison like hunter-gatherer washer-women who rise up together as one, flying frantically to find the last moments of the setting sun, still warming the dampened sand.
We turn toward home, the evening readies itself to descend, a chill in the air hastens itself around the dog and me. I know God lives here on the beach in Ventura and I must leave him now. It’s his secret but it’s safe with me.
An inconvenient truth
They’re calling Haiyan the most powerful typhoon to make landfall, ever. One survivor interviewed on the BBC said it was more like a tornado, the storm surge first driving him to his top floor and then the record-breaking winds pulling his roof off. Several small towns were completely destroyed and victims were left to fend for themselves amid the ruins. Unburied dead lay strewn about and people cried out for food and water.
At the concurrent U.N. Climate Conference in Warsaw, the Philippine’s representative, Yeb Sano, made an emotional appeal for meaningful progress in addressing climate change, even announcing a hunger strike until the goal is achieved.
You may not know there was such a conference. Many don’t. It attracted little attention in our media. Perhaps the climate crisis is stale news. More likely it remains a deeply “inconvenient truth” even now.
It is inconvenient to the political right’s cult of small government, for only a powerful government has any hope of addressing the consequences of climate change. Is it any wonder so much money from conservative sources goes into denying it?
Further, facing climate change is inimical to any concept of growth, economic growth or population growth. Growth, that black hole at the heart of capitalism, will only increase our use of the fossil fuels driving climate change.
Before we can even acknowledge the size of the threat, we must jettison some of our most cherished beliefs.
Hunger strike? Yeb Sano will get very skinny.