By Lisa Bland, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, The Green Gazette –
Now that fall is here, the desire to hold onto summer has slowly transformed into an appreciation for what the season brings. The wet Cariboo summer and fleeting hot, sunny days, although unusual, brought lush growth to the Earth and were a blessing in contrast to the uncertainty and worry of living through another catastrophic fire season.
At this time of year, gardens are harvested, flowers have gone to seed, and the beautiful golden aspen and cottonwoods of the countryside light our way for a little while. In fall, when the distraction and perfusion of life quiets down, everything seems to naturally downshift.
The origin and etymology of the word “fall” comes from the Old English “to drop from a height; fail, decay, die,” from Proto-Germanic fallanan and the root, pol- “to fall” (also of Armenian p’ul “downfall,” Old Prussian aupallai “finds,” “falls upon”). It’s meaning “come suddenly to the ground” is from late Old English. Of darkness, night, from c. 1600; of empires, governments, etc., from c. 1200. Meaning “die in battle” is from the 1570s.
In this light, not only externally, but within the self in moving with the season, fall may be a sobering time of letting go of what we reached for in summer as we transition closer to the long, cold winter. Letting go of excess possibilities, understanding what yielded fruit, and taking the harvest in for safekeeping—whether ideas or tangible resources, is all part of this season. Tuning in to what the Earth naturally dictates can put things into perspective at a time when world chaos is a constant hum in the background.
Externally, it feels like this is a time of battle for our living planet. Though we were mostly spared the intensity of local impacts this summer, the warming climate is here to stay. As the collective climate emergency heightens, world leaders such as Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, add fuel to the burning fires in the Amazon rainforest or are poised to rescind environmental protections for air, water, and species such as in the US by the Trump administration. Other leaders are pushing the Green New Deal along with a groundswell of activists, many of them the world’s youth, fighting for their future.
There’s little doubt now the accelerated warming is human caused, and in this time of reckoning, political systems reflect the fears and hopes on both sides of the spectrum and stand to impact our collective future. In our personal, social, and political choices, hanging on to the status quo or our comfort zones prevents us from seeing what is necessary to change. Laws recognizing and protecting earth, air, water, and other species seems the only way to de-accelerate many catastrophic changes, yet the corporate and government structures in power can easily flip the coin and at our base we’re all entwined with mass consumption and extraction of the Earth’s resources.
When it all seems too much to grasp, the Earth and children’s voices lead us back to the ground and the basics. The story in our bodies has been part of the Earth’s long history before we came to dominate and advance our interests over life-forms and ecosystems. The plants that surround us offer medicine and nourishment. We share over 90 per cent of our DNA with other animal species, and they show us an uncomplicated relationship with the natural world. Children and our animal companions bring us back into moment-to-moment gratitude and joy. The youth remind us what we live and fight for—a loving world. They see truth clearly and the compromises we’ve made along the way. Maybe it’s time to dismantle what we have and come quickly to the grounded realization that past models aren’t working and it’s time for them to die.
This fall, may you come back to the ground of your life’s harvest, savour the ways your life is rich without overconsumption, and stand behind the children and other species in their fight for a future when you head to the polls to cast your vote this October.