The hope or promise, the basis for optimism, is that human beings will have the time to travel distances and inhabit other places. Humanity will continue, establishing in 5 billion years, or less, a new normal in a new solar system..
Earth Day, however, reminds us that we may not have that time. Instead, through human activity, the conditions on earth will radically change, incapable of sustaining life.
We are in a struggle – I suggest a form of The Actual Dance – to change the future and sustain humanity and therefore love and optimism for the future..
There is a metaphor within the metaphor. The Actual Dance is the play, the story, built on an analogy of the end of life. The play is about the struggle to be present and travel the journey as we may lose the one we love most in the world. The hope is the storyline, and she beats the odds. Susan, my wife, beats the odds and survives for a long, long, and beautiful life. We are together now 21 years after that moment and hopefully a number more.
Susan’s survival was unlikely, built on the gifts of science and medicine and gentle, loving care of many. It was also the result of her determination, explicit at the time, to do everything possible to overcome the odds. It doesn’t always happen, and so much is unknown in these struggles, yet science has shown that a positive attitude, physical exercise, and a good diet increase the odds of survival.
My point here is we did all those things. In the word “we,” I mean me, Susan, the doctors, and our extended family. We did what we had to do, notwithstanding long odds, and we are blessed with a positive outcome.
The metaphor today is this: The earth is sick. The data suggest that catastrophic weather changes and weather could end in massive, if not total, destruction. We are engaged in a ritual of facing the end of life as we know it and the possible loss of millions (billions) of lives.
It is a dance, a ritual Will we find the strength and capacity to do what we have to do to save the planet, and those lives, and those we love? Will we meet the moment?
The music plays every day. There is now an orchestra ready to play our final song. The musicians are in their seats and warming up. I don’t know if the orchestra has started playing the final song yet, and as the play itself points out, the music can suddenly stop at any moment. The diagnosis changes and the orchestra exits the stage, perhaps never to return, or waiting in the wings.
It is our choice. Unlike the play, where I’m the LovePartner and Susan the patient, we are all patients on earth. We need to model Susan’s determination to “fight this thing.” To save this earth.
There is a dance, a dance that one day each and every one of us will dance. The dance takes place in a grand ballroom with a fabulous orchestra.”
These are opening lines of the play, offering the metaphor for the journey with the one you love as they fight for survival.
Perhaps the metaphor for Earth Day can be these lines:
There is a dance, a dance that every day each and every one of us dance. The dance takes place on this grand globe, a ball turning in space that we seek to save.