Where are we going?
Reunions with family and friends were fantastic!…but in between their glowing faces at weddings and stopovers, California felt much like a great noisy cage. The occasional glimpse of a television was terrifying, as were freeways, and the fact the Starbucks doesn’t even have a recycle bin?! The number of people still using plastic bags at stores shocked me. And is it just me or does anyone miss dirt? At the sight of dirt in a lot in the city, covered in weeds, a little lightness came over me.…
I absorbed it in stride as best possible, but after two months of ping ponging here and there, I hit my max…one afternoon, back at my parents place, I went out with the dog for a run by the bay. I missed Swell, the night sky, the clean, salt-laden air, sunset reflections, and the natural world all around me. Witnessing it from this side, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the state of the planet!? Military helicopters circled, cars raced by, and the earth was paved over and squared off everywhere I looked…The land seemed to be suffocating beneath our car tires, the air heavy with our exhaust fumes, and our oceans becoming gutters for the rest. But no one else seemed to notice? I just couldn’t comprehend the human race’s direction in that moment…it seemed impossible that millions of individual human lives had created all that was built up around me…but where, in fact, were we all going?
At the final stretch of the bay-front, an open drainpipe spilled into the dark green water. On the far end of it, stood a great blue heron. Its presence startled me from my gloomy thoughts. Slowing my approach, it turned its head and looked at me. I suddenly felt sad for the magnificent bird–left with nothing but a dirty run-off pipe as a perch. I felt as if I could relate: there I stood, ashamed and disillusioned to be perched on this planet where nobody cared!?! “We’re all just trying to get by,” the heron seemed to say…It was true. Everyone was just trying to make it through each day, doing what they know to be the right way by whomever they were taught and however their individual paths were paved… The only destination I could really contemplate, or change, was my own…I thanked the heron, turned, and kept running…
Thrash ReviewOctober 11, 2010
Liz! It’s great to see that you are alive and kicking! For those of us that consistently deal with the “The great noisy cage” you writing has been great source of inspiration and relief. Looking ford to reading about your new adventures as I plan my own.
JerryOctober 11, 2010
Liz, I know exactly what you are talking about. I spent 3 years in Asmara, at that time Ethiopia, now Eritrea. I was in the US Army. At the end of the 3 years I flew back into New York city. I was smacked in the face by the noise, people, smells, and pace of life. Ever since I have chosen to live in small towns.
JonOctober 11, 2010
I think some people notice, but those that do, as in myself, feel powerless to do anything about it. We’re trapped in a cage built by ourselves. It’s not right, but society as a whole has done nothing to change. And it will continue to be “business as usual” until something catastrophic happens to change the world. The more people there are, the less of a natural world will will have, as the planet becomes paved over.
emmaOctober 11, 2010
Thank you for contemplating the path the lies ahead of you and its impacts on the world around you. It is an inspiration to us all to really think about where we are going and why, and to struggle a little harder to make our dreams become reality.
BridgetOctober 11, 2010
I was beginning to wonder if you were going to update this thing again. I really enjoy reading about your adventures; they’re a nice escape for me when I’m feeling a little stuck.
steveOctober 12, 2010
Robert Browning suggested we “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” He was talking about his own mortality but the same advice should be offered here. Our planet needs help and I think even the small voices help. Yours is one of them and I applaud and thank you for your effort.
drewOctober 18, 2010
and in that contemplation you changed yourself, and in so doing you changed the world. shine your light liz, shine it bright! peace and love