Saturday, January 26, 2013

The end of the world

The subject of the end of the world, is a hard subject to get away from. There are many real events happening (globally) which cause substantial damage. Then there are the ongoing commentaries about how the world is going to end - imagined by the traditional schedule of ominous signs which precludes the end must be nigh.

When I took my blog break recently, I was also able to pay attention to what was happening around me (everything) and saw the world as something new. It's about an ongoing symphony of survival which disaster plays a part, but is not the final encore. While my garden had dried up from the extreme heat recently, and I saw some of the small trees we planted die - strangely, the cicadas were having an absolute ball in the heat.

New life was indeed emerging from the ground (cicada nymphs live in the ground and up to seven years later, emerge to complete their final moult) the life just wasn't emerging from all the places I had touched with my own hand.

I've been fortunate enough to live through a natural disaster (2011 Queensland floods - two, if you count Cyclone Tracy in 1974 as a baby) and I would have to say the "majority" of us do survive. We just don't always have the same world afterwards. We do see the "end" of many things in that regard, but are we also paying attention to what is beginning anew?

It has done me some personal good to have "disaster" touch my reality. There were things which really needed to end, so I could put my energy into areas of new growth. Our entire household has benefited from this brush with reality. It's a real knife's edge - you live or you die. It slices right down the middle, so there can be no ambiguity with "almost" the end or "almost" the beginning.

Yet so much of my reality lived before then, was fear of the beginning or the end.

The rain has recently set in again. There are predictions some areas could see rainfall totals, similar to that of the 2011 Queensland floods. We have a Severe Storm Warning for our area. As much as news like this, sets my hackles on edge, it also does me good to know that every day is a day I share with the symphony of survival. I shouldn't have to run away from it, dig in and build a fortress. There is nothing I could build that a natural disaster couldn't remove in a mere day anyway.

I've had minor stress about some areas around the house we haven't fortified yet, but only just recently, I was admiring our handiwork on the retaining wall out the back. So many millions of years went into each rock we laid by hand. Each rock has a story of their own to tell. The reason we came to lay them in the first place, was because of a natural disaster which hit our area. The rocks and our story, are intertwined now.

There are many reasons behind our actions on this property. Mainly because a system suddenly changed (our own systems, or nature's) but generally they are intertwined - like the beginning and the end. Perhaps that is our mortal destiny, to live or to die, along with everything else: so we may derive a purpose of being "beyond" that?

I can therefore find no joy in acknowledging the end of the world, for the sake of the end alone. An ominous sign is just something we noticed - it pays no heed to what we weren't paying attention to at the same time.

The more I work with our property, the more I come to realise there can be no "one" system to cater to all. We cannot have everything our way, it's about developing a relationship of compromise with everything else living around us. Some years we celebrate things working to our expectations, other years we accept the challenges presented, far exceeded our capabilities.

What matters, is that we don't waste time supposing the "end game" with all it's intricate details of destruction. We can easily get caught in details of ominous signs. The work by our hands though, that is what really makes us feel connected and engaged.

I choose to enjoy what work I have available today, even when that work involves a bit of failure or fear. It's not always about what we hope for, but also accepting what comes along. That is life happening as it must, and it's not always easy to embrace. But it is what it is.

I had hoped to post some new pictures of the retaining wall out back, but it seems the "weather" has conspired against me.  It hasn't of course, I'm just required to sit back and wait for another opportunity to take photos. The real business of life is falling in the form of rain today, and that's important too.

It's early in the morning, and I can hear the birds chirping outside. They are a welcome sound to a brand new day. Happy Australia Day, to my fellow patriots.


  1. This is a great post and I really have to agree with your attitude regarding End Days type of scenarios. As you know I tend to prepare a lot but after I got sick (an ultimate and unforeseen disaster), I re-evaluated that lifestyle because I also believe that in the end, "you are what you think" is very true for all of us.
    I still say its important to have that extra water and all the rest-its just logical to me, but to go beyond that is a very sad way to live and its with the intent to "force" things into being- to live in opposition to the natural order of things and to defy fate.

    Even though I have struggled through these lessons and have more to learn from one single illness-I would rather be in this struggle than living in a bubble of self content because I was ready.
    My grandmother used to tell me a story from our culture about "being ready". A kings infant son was predicted to die at a young age by a snake bite. The king so loved this boy that he built him an sealed underground shelter where the boy was to live for his entire natural life. A careless servant however left a door open and a snake got inside and bit the boy who was found dead.

    That story used to scare me to death as a child! Lol!

  2. Thanks for sharing that story from your gran. It's true. No matter where we set up life, if we're not engaging then we live in a prison, just passing time, waiting to die. We need to value what time we have, no matter how it ends. :)

    I bet everyone has a different way of viewing that story.

    I too think it's important to have a secure water supply and a small food stockpile. It's when the fear of running out determines every other choice in your life, that determines the "preparations" didn't really save you. I would feel like I'd already lost, if I couldn't find reasons to live outside "the end". Because in reality, no-one really knows when that will be.

    We might as well enjoy what time we have, by discovering what gifts we have. Life is an incredible gift. :)

    I will respond to your email in a few days. Thanks for writing.

  3. Well, even though I had things to survive with, I never agreed to reach a 1+ year supply ever for one reason....Someday we have to leave the runs out, gets stolen, wiped out by natural disaster, spoil. I always wanted more skills than cans of food. I always like to refer to our ancestors who lived off the land....their survival was from harvest to harvest. What they stored was to last the winter. I think this kept them engaged in community and life come what may.

  4. This is very true - storing food only for the winter, because without refrigeration or even a need to expand so much energy acquiring large stockpiles (which no-one could possibly eat before Spring anyway) many older civilisations lived for only one season ahead. The rest was given back to nature, to rot down or what have you. The people got to rest too. Makes sense!


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