In 2012 we all survived another quote unquote apocalypse.
When I was a child, our church taught us the “rapture” could come any moment. I was reared on the ethic of being ready for the end of the world every second of every day. I would come home to an empty house some days after school, and fearing the rapture had taken everyone except me, I would call my mom’s work or my sister’s friends to make sure the world hadn’t ended and left me behind.
We were shown propaganda films at church about the bad people who pretended to be Christians and really weren’t. They were left behind to endure totalitarianism and torture. Even as a ten year old, I thought it was ironic that the totalitarians were accusing their opposition of the behavior and tactics they used themselves. I just didn’t know the word “irony” or what it meant. But I have learned.
When I turned twenty, I couldn’t believe I was still alive. I painted a memorial to my dead teenage self featuring Marc Almond and lots of flowers. The other art students thought it was funny. I was truly stunned that the world kept running, I kept breathing, and everything kept chugging along day after day after day.
I may never get used to the idea that the world isn’t ending. It’s good. It gives me an edge and urgency that many people lack in their lives. You don’t see or feel that edge when you hang out with me, but I am palpably aware that every moment, something in this world dies. Every day, someone’s world is ending.
It makes me an excellent counselor. It keeps my bullshit detector fully charged. It is one of the biggest reasons I love gardening. What could be better than being in this moment, in the sun, without fear for tomorrow or regret for the past? What is better than savouring Now, sinking into Now, salaciously surrendering to Now?
Every day, the world ends. Some species becomes extinct, someone’s mom or dad or child dies, someone’s heart gets irreparably broken by a small word said by a small person in a thoughtless moment. Every day, people’s lives flip upside down as they are diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis, et cetera et cetera.
None of us are immune. We all grow old.
2013 is the year of the snake, and it is also popularly “Eros” when the digits are reflected in a mirror. So this is snake wisdom and Eros wisdom: Love every moment. Bite your own tail. Fuck them and I mean fuck them heartily if they can’t take a joke. Live now. Tomorrow is only an illusion. And go ahead and try to save the world. Your garden may accomplish this!
Save a few bees. Save an old tree and let it die a long slow death that feeds a million creatures with its decay and shelter. Make your garden a habitat. Don’t use chemicals, despite the seduction of easy green lawns and effortless beauty; don’t use chemicals and you might be one of the lucky ones who escapes cancer or diabetes. Share some food with friends so they learn what real food tastes like. What is the point of eating plastic? Grow some food, or a least get it from the farmer’s market. Make a new year’s resolution to live like it’s the end of the world. Because when margarine is one molecule away from being plastic and the McRib contains inorganic compounds used to make shoes, I have to tell you, it almost is.