It’s my safe spot now. I don’t love the dark walnut wood, but I love memories of climbing in bed between my grandparents as a child. After grandpa died, Mom slept in this bed with Grandma Margaret for a few years. When Mom sold Grandma’s furniture thirty years ago, I asked for this bedroom set. Now I sleep in Grandma’s antique double bed with a high headboard and a baseboard rounded like a sleigh.
I’m hounded by anxiety. Part is physical as my brain struggles to process and interpret cochlear implant sound. With a hearing aid in one ear and a computerized cochlear implant substituting for the other ear, it’s a wonder this setup works at all in this electronic world. I’m grateful I hear better in person.
I’m scared by the state of my country and world. Many of us are, even if fear does little good. I notice fear in the eyes of those who pretend to be in charge. I see despair in their shoulders. They know we’re on to them now.
Every night, I wake up after midnight with a tight belly and pounding heart. My mind drifts to the record 100+ degrees inside the Arctic Circle and the record-sized Saharan dust storm sending a persistent plume of desert dust across the Atlantic Ocean to Texas.
Every summer, there are fewer insects in my fields and garden—except for unwanted ones like ticks and cucumber beetles. Remember insects splattered on the car windshield on a summer night? That doesn’t happen here anymore.
My body resonates with the Earth as it trembles and shifts. Our planetary home is in trouble and my body knows it. I’m not scared for myself—not yet—but I’m scared for the young ones and what they face. When the Arctic temperature soared, it barely registered in the news. I found it in an article by Bill McKibben, founder of the climate change group 350.org. “This scares me,” McKibben said and I imagine he isn’t scared by much. Later I found articles in The Washington Post and New York Times buried by racial justice protests, covid-19, and lies and scandals from the White House.
I feel the Earth screaming. When racial equality and voting rights, illegal political maneuvering, covid-19, and economic crisis demand our immediate attention, climate change slips low on our to-do list.
I lie in darkness on high alert before I shift my attention and imagine my bed as my grandmother’s lap. I exhale slowly to soothe the fight-or-flight reflex and feel the silence of the night. Out the window, fireflies sparkle and a cool breeze slides down the hill. Disco’s warm body nestles against my feet. Willow shifts on her bed on the floor. Tears drip on my pillow as I exhale.
In the cradle of Grandma’s bed, I ask, “Earth Mother, have we killed You? Is it too late?”
How do you provide self-comfort and deal with anxiety in this high crisis, uncertain world? For other posts about climate change, see Standing Up for Mother Earth. For another article about Grandma Margaret, see My Grandma’s Juicy Secret. (I’m getting a new computer this week, so may be slow in responding to comments. I have excellent computer support from my son David at Mansfield Computing Solutions. He accesses my machine remotely from North Carolina and sorts things out.)