The Help

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago upon learning from a United Nations report that the expected methane release from global warming could push us pass the tipping point in climate change where there is no way to extract ourselves or our planet from the misery and destruction that will come about as the result of our neglect and inability to understand the needs of the planet Earth.  Writing this was somewhat cathartic, and gave me new resolve to work on doing whatever we can to undo the total mess we have created.  I hope you feel the same.

How long will our weather patterns hold?

Broken. Shattered like crystal dropped on a terracotta tile floor. My spirits are crushed with each message that we are killing our planet. And I feel alone. My heart feels vacant. An empty set of chambers through which blood only flows because it must.

Within the corners of my fractured heart I see that there are others who see the reality of what the human species has done. Each one of us feels marooned on an island of gluttony. The most horrific parts of this island is reserved for the very rich, the powerful, those that have what the rest of us do not. Most of us have supported their greed unknowingly. They told us we could all be like them. They told us we could be wealthy. They told us it was patriotic to consume. They told us that blind consumerism and unadulterated faith in “free enterprize” was good for the world.

They, those that hold the rigged deck of cards, lied. Plain and simple. They lied to get another dollar. They lied so that they could hide money in off shore banks. They lied so that they could have more while most of us, ultimately, had less. They had a party and we were all invited. We didn’t realize we were the help.

Those who were allowed to celebrate at the party, the bankers, the oil executives, the Wall Street money pimps, the whorish politicians, and worse, those that profit from the killing of women and children because they stand in the way of money, have had their fun. They have sipped their martinis brought on silver trays by the rest of us. They have smoked their big fat Cuban cigars served to them by the help. They have eaten their caviar and shown off their diamond necklaces without any acknowledgement that those who serve them are even in their midst. We are the people that gave them their pleasures and their wealth. Did we realize that we were giving them our flesh and blood?

Our invitation to this party must have been clever. “Come and join the fun! You can be just like us! You can have a big car, and a giant house! You can live large! Just like us! Won’t you please come to our party and learn how we became so rich?” And we did. Our servitude was unexpected by us and planned by them.

We cannot afford to risk the beauty of the natural world!

Many who drank the “Koolaid” worked their fingers to the bone for these riches that never would be. We did it for our families. We did it for their children. We did it so that future generations would never have to work this hard again. Many borrowed money for big homes and spent money heating and cooling them. Many borrowed money for monstrous SUV’s and they fed them gasoline. They drove to the mall in gas guzzling cars and bought jeweled necklaces. Some flew in giant airplanes to exotic places where they tried to look happy. Quite a few bought insurance and took their savings and entrusted it to men on Wall Street. We tried to be just like their masters. The men and women who are allowed to celebrate at the party.

But we were not like those who led us astray. The McMansion homes spewed carbon from 300 million years ago into the atmosphere. The SUV’s smothered the earth with blankets of gases. Many drove in circles, to the mall, to a soccer game, and to Grandma’s house, only to find they had not gone anywhere. A few took vacations to the Caribbean, to Thailand, and to South America only to find it brought a shallow smile to their faces. The smiles did not last. While chasing false dreams in foreign lands they had to witness abject poverty and the destititute conditions that much of the rest of the world lives in. And the money that was spent on insurance and on Wall Street investments? It might come in handy some day. Then again it might not. The Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, had been exposed in the Wall Street and banking crisis of 2008.

And while many drove around in big cars and hid behind tinted glass they failed to notice that our earth was changing. Summers went from warm to scorched. Rivers went from wet to dry. And then when we least expected it the rivers over ran their banks and destroyed what they held precious; our homes, our jobs, and our families. And there were storms! Storms in places where havoc had not been witnessed before. Storms of historic proportions.

Each sunrise is precious!

And when we buy our food each week, food that travels thousands of miles before it sits on our tables before it feeds our loved ones, we wonder why it cost so much more than last month, or last week, or yesterday. We blame it on those that grow the food. We blame it on the weather. And, legitimately, we blame it on agribusiness. But we forget to blame it on ourselves. We fail to recognize that we are complicit. The big houses. The bus sized SUV’s. All of the senseless driving that is done in search of happiness and never finding it. We are afraid to admit that we are the fuel that feeds the fire. A fire that will torch this planet. Not a burning Phoenix that rises into the sky, but a ground scorching fire that chars, scars, and leaves grim residue of our greed in its wake.

And yes, we were duped. Those bankers, those oil executives, those men and women on Wall Street and in those big insurance companies. They drink their Martinis. The smoke their big fat Cuban cigars. They eat their caviar and show off their diamonds. And, in truth, it is the rest of us who pay for their pleasures.

And those who were invited to the party to help. Many continue to serve the fat cats while on the horizon storms are brewing. Storms so large and so dark that they are afraid. Most are so fearful, in fact, that they pretend the storms are not there.

Broken. Shattered like crystal dropped on a terracotta tile floor. My spirit is empty. I was invited to the party. I went and stayed for a while. I noticed that I was different and I left.

But still I am complicit in these crimes. I did not speak loud enough. I watched and listened but I did not actively oppose the gluttony. I felt like it was none of my business when in fact, relative to me and my family, it was ONLY my business.

And although I tried to live my life differently I was silent. Silence can be as untruthful as the most outrageous lie.

I am alone.

My heart is vacant.

And I am responsible.

Like a drop of water waiting to fall our world is at peril and we need to act!

Written for in February 2012

  • Teresa evangeline

    Bill, This is beautifully written and an invaluable addition to the words that have been written about the most important matter of our time, the saving of this planet. I also sat for a along time and said nothing, and even now don’t say nearly enough. I have never felt at home at any party and always left feeling like I didn’t belong. Now I find that a reason to quietly celebrate… I am beyond grateful that there are few places I belong. I belong in the natural world and most people never spend time there, they have lost themselves, their way… I wish I could find a way to make my voice more heard… I would ask everyone to read this….

  • Wild_Bill

    Thank you. This piece was written during a short time where I was profoundly angry, profoundly sad, and profoundly confused. As far as the writing went it just kind fell off of the keyboard and into the form that you see it. Perhaps we should all think about how we can make our voices more resounding; getting the message out to more people outside of our individual and collective circles. There is little doubt that you could have a major impact. Your writing is straight from the heart. As I have said in the best you are a wonderful writer and more than that you have a very interesting, in fact, compelling way of looking at the universe. It just kind of all fits together when you write. Honestly, I don’t know how you do it.

    To all of my readers-if you haven’t read Teresa check her out, you’ll be glad that you did. See !

    Thank you Teresa. Let’s both think about how to get this message out. We can’t afford not to.

  • Nature Drunk

    Wow. Powerful piece, Bill. I am sending this link to friends. Your honesty with yourself and your readers is refreshing. Thank you.

  • Wendy

    Bravo! Bill. Your grief and outrage is exactly what we need to hear, what we all need to feel and to voice. It’s so painful I find I can go months without letting myself get close to it as tho my heart has gone numb, as tho the truth is so big my small emotions can’t even get near it. We need this kind of anger and grief now and again to wake us up to what is really happening and how we have played a role in it. Sometimes I think if we could all let ourselves feel the impact of what we as humans have done here, we would fall to our collective knees and weep. Together. If we can grief together, we can change things. But not, probably, till then. I, too, am passing this on. Thank you.

  • Teresa Evangeline

    Thank you, Bill. Yes, I will listen carefully for right action, right words…

  • Wild_Bill

    I am so humbled. Thank you so much.

  • Wild_Bill

    I hope this runs wide and deep. We have to, collectively, stop this madness in its tracks. We owe it to our planet. The Earth IS our mother.

  • Wild_Bill

    Hello everyone. The response to this writing post has been wonderful. I’ve had a lot of visitors. Please pass the message on. And understand, it has nothing to do with me or my writing. This is about all of us, collectively, saying enough is enough. We will take a stand. And as writers I ask all of you to write something in the next two weeks about this issue. I am fortunate to know many wonderful writers.

    They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well, let’s prove it. Please, please write something and spread the message. Our mother earth is counting on us. And, I for one, will no longer take no for an answer. Let’s fight back with our art, our talent, our words.

  • Paul Turnbull

    This speaks from the heart …. yours, mine, many …. with honest sincerity. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Wild_Bill

    You are most welcome Paul. This was a cathartic piece for me, just kind of spilled out. Hoping it rings true with others like yourself.

  • Jansen

    Thanks, Bill, for making me cry. I mean it! I share so much of these same feelings, and I too find myself all too often silent and/or doing nothing when I know that I’m a part of this. I fear that my son will live in a world in which he can’t help but blame his parents and ancestors for letting their ignorance and inaction make his reality so much more difficult to handle. Hence, I’ve decided that at the very least, I’m making it my quest to help him understand how this all came to be, his part in it, and how much beauty is still out there to behold. He may be only three, but I ain’t waiting to start! Hell, it’ll be a few years, but I think your blog here will be among his required readings. :-) And this is just my self-centered perspective on something so much greater than me and my little corner of the universe. In any case, please accept all of this as refills to your heart and spirit, that you are NOT alone, and it ain’t over.

  • Wild_Bill

    I haven’t given up Jansen. I see it as a steward’s responsibility to educate others. I believe you feel this too. We must begin by educating our children. They are so ripe to learn when they are young. Early impressions hold on. And what will the future hold. I simply don’t know. But I do think that it will be a little better if we all start to help change how we interact with out planet. It’s the only one we have.

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