Saturday, April 19, 2014

Love in the Time of Climate Change

--I feel like I should have more to say about the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I feel like I should have more to say about his work.

--But here's my guilty confession:  I haven't read the novels.  I do love teaching "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."  I want to think I will read the novels some day.  But each year brings more and more that I want to read.  Sigh.  Maybe in retirement.

--What am I reading instead?  This week it's Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction.  When I first got it from the library, I felt a bit of disappointment.  I want her to be discussing the current extinction, also known as the Holocene Extinction.  She is, but she's doing it in a round-about way, by talking about 13 species who have died, 13 species which have a larger symbolism.  It's a compelling book.

--It feels like a perfect book for Passover and Holy Week, those high holy days which celebrate events which must have felt like a visitation of end times.

--On my theology blog this morning, I wrote this post about my Lent of many cancers--none of them mine, thankfully.  Still, it's been quite a season of reminders of mortality.  I was sitting at Good Friday service, thinking of those metaphors for mortality, the dry bones, the ashes.  But modern mortality feels more like murderous cells running amok, swimming and sailing along the blood stream.  Modern mortality involves rising seas.  Modern images of mortality are very wet.

--I still have hopes that decades from now, my friend and I will be little old ladies rocking on a porch somewhere.  We'll look back to this time when she struggled with esophageal cancer as one of those times when we were afraid and weepy but it all turned out OK.
She'll mock me gently.  You'll say, "You worried about me, but you should have been worried about sea level rise and how stupid you were to buy a house that's so close to the beach!"
We'll raise a glass to all the houses that have been swallowed by the sea, and all the ones we've loved, those who are still with us, and those who have gone on ahead.
--Kolbert's book talks about background extinctions, the ones that are happening all the time, the ones that are too small for us to notice.  She contrasts these to mass extinctions.  There seems a sort of poetry in these ideas, a symbolism waiting to be mined.

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