Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thought Trails As a Baby Sleeps

The picture was taken through our front window. Miss Jane Doe, as we called her, was apparently dropped off by her mom very early in the morning and told to stay put while mom ran off to do a few deer-errands.

She can't be more than a week old - her body is just about the same size as our fat cat's, though her legs are impossibly long.

I watched her all day, compulsively checking on her through the window to be sure she was okay. We have coyotes here. In fact, the first week I lived here, before KB got here, I heard a deer being killed under the weeping cherry on the other side of the house. I have never heard anything so horrific, ever. I hope never to hear it again.

So my concern was legitimate, and I was fully prepared to go out and defend her with a baseball bat if necessary.

It wasn't.

She stayed curled up in a ball all day, occasionally waking to look around, once standing up and peeking out from her sheltered spot behind the flowers, then blinking and curling back up to sleep some more.

By ten pm, we were worried. She was still there. It was getting colder. I'd already gone online and saw that the number one rule with "abandoned" fawns is to stay away. But what if mom didn't come back?

It was a rough couple of hours - an attempt to distract myself with television led me to an insultingly simplified yet hope-crushing view of the future on some network. The gist was that climate change would be creating disaster, even with heroic attempts to address it, and things were going to be pretty damned grim even in my own children's lifetime. Thanks. That helps.

I've been fighting a sense of hopelessness for a while, and it's shaking my sense of myself as an optimist and an idealist. The issues are so huge and humans have such basic errors in their assumptions that solutions seem like an incredible longshot.

Take food, for example. Do we really understand the cost of what we eat? No, no, no, I'm not some holier than thou vegan fanatic. I should be vegan. I can't be holier than thou since I know the reasons why and I'm still not doing it.

But Jenny Stein and James LaVeck came over recently to show KB the nearly-final version of Tribe of Heart's new documentary, "Peaceable Kingdom". It tells the story of the transformation of three farm families who suddenly questioned the assumption that everything in the world is here to serve humanity.

What if Man isn't the crown of creation? What if we treat animals like sentient beings? Can we then even bear to think of what we do to them?

But challenging that assumption is massive - it goes against even what many religions have institutionalized: God put Man in charge and everything in it is here to serve his needs.

That's put us where we are. That removes us from the web of interconnectedness that is our ecosystem, and entitles us to exploit all resources for our own comfort and gain. Drill, baby, drill. Suck up all that oil so we can drive. Breed those animals so we can eat. Develop that land so we can shop. Test those toxins on animals so we're safe. Dump that waste someplace and to hell with the consequences because we NEED that nuclear energy, that chemical, that drug, that plastic, that road, that fuel.

And we DO need much of it. That's the problem. We have created an insatiable society and to step back into the environmental web and take our places as equals rather than rulers, we'd have to completely change how we live.

What are the odds of that? We are some of nature's most helpless creatures with a talent for technology and a massive sense of entitlement.

See why I'm discouraged? It feels to me today like society is hurtling toward its inevitable end while most of us are yelling "faster, faster!" It just doesn't make sense, but I guess that's what denial looks like.

So that's where my head's at and it's not pretty. But there is one bit of good news.

Miss Jane Doe, after worrying us for several hours, quietly disappeared sometime around midnight. I'm hoping that means Mom finally got home.

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