Under the Weather

I am under the weather.

(For non-native English readers, this phrase is an idiom, meaning “a vague sense of ill health.” I am using it here as a double entendre—two meanings. )

Sunrise in smoke–my neighborhood, 1 Sept.

And so are you.

This is a lesson learned in Houston and along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey set a record breaking 50 inches (127 cm) of rain from one storm. This lesson was followed by Hurricane Irma destroying a string of Caribbean islands and then churning up Florida and Georgia… with more drastic weather on the way.

Image provided by National Weather Service of Irma

Out here, the West is on fire. On the first of September, 80 fires raged in western states, and western Canada is also ablaze. Where I live, it stopped raining mid-June, and barely spit for the next 83 days. Temperatures spiked into the 90sF (30sC) in a region where 70% of the homes and businesses do not have air conditioning—we’ve never needed it.

from http://cliffmass.blogspot.com

Globally, an estimated 41 million people are currently displaced by flooding, mudslides, smoke and fire, earthquake, volcano, drought—extreme weather and climate changes that are raising sea levels, melting glaciers and permafrost, creating conditions long predicted, long denied, and now consuming the life energies of people not in the power to change much, but whose lives have been disrupted along a scale from inconvenience to catastrophe.

The night that Irma was sweeping into Florida I went to my local theatre to see the documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. I was almost afraid to go, feeling so much the tension from storms and fires—but I’m glad I went. Yes the news is bad, and yes we keep losing time and momentum, but the documentary helped me focus on both immediate needs—to help people in trouble today—and long-term needs—to change systems and policies—that give us a future.

A livable climate must be our first global priority. And it is hinged to all our other priorities.

So— I’m IN for the Paris Accord. I’m IN for solving the problem! I’m IN for attention and activism for the rest of my life.

The science is IN, the technology is IN: other countries are already making the shift and their economies are discovering that alternative energy is profitable. Legislation is currently being offered in both houses of Congress. We citizens have to demand the right to another way of life.

It doesn’t matter whether or not a small portion of the people “believe” climate change is a real: the earth is proving the science. My dear colleague, anthropologist Dr. MK Sandford, has taken it on herself to have a similar discussion around creationism and evolution. She says, “People tell me they don’t believe in evolution, and I tell them, it doesn’t matter what you believe, because science is based on facts, not beliefs. Your belief system does not change the science, only research does that.”

Imagine this: you’re standing in the road. A large truck rounds the corner and aims right at you. You are loudly proclaiming, “Trucks are a hoax, a tool of the liberal, humanist, fake news, elite agenda.” And then it runs over you and keeps on going.

Some days I can barely withstand the tension, but I keep asking: What’s my relationship to this right now? Where is my point of empowerment?

For the people caught in these storms, the ones we see on TV and the ones we don’t, their job is personal rehabilitation of their lives and communities. Or their job is to move out of the path of the truck, and our job is to make a place for them to jump for safety.

For me, it’s building resilient, communicative, cooperative community now, that will help us stand strong together when the “truck” veers our way. It will veer our way–wherever we are, because we are all under the weather.

And for me, beyond activism, I also feel compelled to bring these conditions into my spiritual life. I send money: I send love. I dedicate the moments of respite and beauty in my daily life to the folks currently in the middle of the storm.

Putting away my dishes and getting into my own bed, I send out the prayer, “May daily routines, shelter and safety return to you in your life.”

Picking raspberries, I pray, “Today I send this sweetness and abundance into the chaos of your moment, a ripening on your tongue.” 

Taking a breath of fresh air, I pray, “May the rains fall on the fires that ravage our forests and our hearts; may they soften the earth and relieve our smokey misperceptions of one another.”

I don’t know, scientifically, if this helps, but I believe it does… and prayers of blessing are a good way to use a belief system.

We are one.


15 replies
  1. Linette Harriott
    Linette Harriott says:

    Yes Yes Yes. I live on a beach; a small coastal community on the South West Coast of Victoria, Australia. In the last few years I have seen the higher tides wear away the dunes that protect my home. It is irrefutable: whether one believes or not. The evidence is there, or in the case of the dunes, no longer there. I keep wondering how I can wake up our government. I stand with you. I’m looking for opportunities. Everything helps

    • C Baldwin
      C Baldwin says:

      We are a global tribe of those who are seeking opportunities and ways to engage… I am reading Naomi Klein’s book, NO is not enough. We are getting ready to stop, or at least steer, the truck because there are so many of us in the road we can bring the machines of destruction to a halt… learn to drive another way–turn the truck into a bus that will carry us to the future we need. Love to you, Linette, happy spring!

  2. Sara Harris
    Sara Harris says:

    Under the Weather, indeed. I love your prayers. One of the ancient mystics said that when one person finds true inner peace, a thousand receive benefit. Altho I have little hope of finding inner peace as any kind of permanent place to live from, your prayers point to moments of peace and awareness that can be offered.
    I’m IN too!
    Thanks for your writing, Christina!

    • C Baldwin
      C Baldwin says:

      My comment to Linette is to all of us–the tribe of increasingly fierce and loving mature women and men who are willing to get uncomfortable for the larger sake of the world. Blessings to us each and all.

  3. Nogie King
    Nogie King says:

    LOVE this approach. I have been grappling with how to have a dialogue with the friends that do not believe in climate change. This is helpful-to me at least. Who knows when they will wake up enough to see the truck coming at them.

  4. Jeanne Petrick
    Jeanne Petrick says:

    I’m IN too! I may be a fool but I do believe that every little bit of kindness and positive thought counts. I’m in for that thought until I am no longer on this earth! Thanks for your fiery inspiration!

  5. Meredith H. Jordan
    Meredith H. Jordan says:

    There is a Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Berry that you MUST see (on this issue), as well as a film you can live stream called “Tomorrow.” Both address climate issues in ways that are both honest and hopeful. THere are many very positive projects happening to offset some of the weather catastrophes we’re seeing right now, and it helps me deal with my fears and concerns to read as much about them as I do about climate change itself. Here in New England, our maple trees are in a disease or drought die-off; no one quite knows yet what’s causing it, but many of us are watching closely and waiting to respond in the best possible ways. Then there is “Trump Forest,” which is another brilliant idea put into action, one Ann would love. I do what I can to alert others to the climate angst that is appropriate (and to make sure all my FL lovies were safe), and then I look for ways to serve as what I call a “hopeful resister.”

    In other words, I’m in. And so are my East Coast groups of grannies.

    Much love!


    • C Baldwin
      C Baldwin says:

      I watched this interview and it is a gorgeous interaction–the humility of true leadership that is sourced from Source. Thank you Meredith for sending me/us there. Carry on “hopeful resister!

  6. Judy Todd
    Judy Todd says:

    Dear Christina,
    Thank you for your heart-centered message. May we all expand our lives to include more healing, love and sharing our best with one another! I am learning so much! And, I’m Still In!! Until my end days!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *