Here’s my sum-up of the world I wake up to this morning.
The Iranian reaction to the US assassignation of a top general (i.e.terrorist) was lobbing dozens of missiles at a US army base, giving them ample warning, and mostly missing the target, so there’s little damage and no one is hurt, but then, seemingly coincidentally, a civilian aircraft on its way to Ukraine crashes minutes after take off, killing 176, mostly Iranian citizens, also Canadians, Ukrainians. Iran tries to blame the airline, Boeing, the US but somehow, video footage of a missile hitting the aircraft, is obtained, so Iran admits its egregious error, that is, erroneously triggering a military reaction against this civilian jet taking off from its own airport. Meanwhile, mourners at the wildly chaotic anti US public funeral of said general are killed in a stampede, caused by “overcrowding,”, while today, protesters spill into the streets protesting their own government. And Trump issues statements ranging from “we will destroy your culture” to “the American people love you and want you to flourish,” (by tightening sanctions on an already suffering population.)
Also, in the side bars, in Australia, a droughty on-fire island, the uncontrolled and raging fires merge into one mega fire, the number of animal deaths rises into the billions, Puerto Rico is wracked by earthquakes and then a volcano erupts in the Philippines. And France, Venezuela, Brazil…
Poor Iran, bumbling, chaotic, medieval, incompetent; poor vulnerable, racist Australia with its white bread prime minister and volunteer fire departments – are you kidding? – poor, unlucky countries who can’t recover from one catastrophe before the next one hits. Taiwan, Venezuela, Brazil and everywhere else. Poor, poor America with its idiot thug and its diplomatic deafness.
And yet, just the act of living, of waking up and stretching, is joyous. Just living is a joy, and I can say this in spite of knowing in my heart that we are living in the end times, at least for my species. Despite the photo in today’s Guardian of that Koala wearing mittens on his paws recovering from burns in a laundry basket, we have not been good custodians of the animals. Philip Roth’s title, The Human Stain, has become my tag line for the Anthropsene. Total fuck ups on the way to apocalypse.
It is winter. Outside, the landscape is silent under layers of ice. I sit at my kitchen table cubing the shoulder of an animal who has spent its short life in a bucolic field eating grass and then dying, just for me. Two overweight elderly dogs lie romp-to-romp under the table. And yet, there is joy. Under the burning brush, new life — that sort of joy, although difficult to celebrate because, at the same time, we are the burning bush.