Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love in other, stranger places

We're losing many things because we've lost the wisdom of how to love them. Our species gets wrapped up in itself, narrowing its perspective around times like Valentine's Day. We retreat into our "one couple = love," "my family = love" and beyond that, we withdraw our connection to the rest of what there is to love in the world. As if it mattered less, especially on this one day.

An addiction to corporate control decides where we put much of our love. We love convenience, cars and clutter, and so we buy, spray and land-fill corporate waste all over the planet. We aid in pumping polluting profits into the atmosphere, deluding ourselves that we deserve, earned that right, somehow. And waste hard-earned money on plastic bags, bottles and bargains that float their way into our oceans, as if loving how we live matters more than whether every place is livable.

Our lack of love is losing….

Monarch butterflies
Without them, how can we can teach children not to catch or injure them? Or teach them to let the monarchs fly free and, yes, chase them around gardens. Children need monarchs more than monarchs need them. Talk to a kid about not pulling the wings off a butterfly. And plant native milkweed everywhere. That would be love.

Fresh, clean snow-melt or rainfall heading for the oceans. Some of us older people can remember what that tasted like. The plastic flavor in bottled water, even from a French spring, is not the same. You must go into the wilderness for the old purity. Places that we're also not loving enough. For your sake, filter your home's piped-in water. And for the kids' sake, fight every polluting of the aquifers. That would be love.

That smells clean. Some rural people still breathe air that purifies our bloodstream and lungs, though even out there our lack of love sullies that purity. Air was not meant to give us asthma, coughs and more regulations. It was meant to circulate so we could love breathing it. Pull over on your next car trip and really smell the stuff. And think about what you could so your grandkids and theirs will have the chance to do more than read about it in ancient history books. That would be love.

It's called colony collapse disorder, but it's our collapsed love that's threatened, too. We can more imagine loving a music idol than a single bee or a hive of them. And more important than all the pollination that might no longer continue, will be all the buzzing of billions of insects that might disappear. Worse than how we'll starve without them will be how much lonelier we will feel in the universe without their presence. Put bee barns and hives in your garden. And put Roundup on your never-buy/use-again list. That would be love.

We've forgotten the ancients' love of grand trees. For the sake of softer paper wiping our tushes, stacked-up apartment buildings, and destructive development that we believe in when we cash out our homes, or so we can add to the politicians' discretionary money, we are losing our love of trees. Old growth pine, ancient redwoods, and rain forest giants falling under corporate saws. We let them because we believe that love of a tree is relevant only to children's fairy tales. Plant new trees. And also save an old one from a developer. That would be loving.

Group conversation
We love talking about ourselves, the latest movie we saw, CD we bought and trendy place we shredded our wallets at. Intimate, close-knit and family-oriented has replaced a love of groups, because we don't love the idiots at work, the road-ragers, corrupt politicians and mass shooters. Once upon a time we sat around campfires outside our cave homes and teepees and talked. Whatever we talked about apparently was meaningful enough for us to survive. Find a place and time to talk to more than one or two people, at length. And talk deeply, long enough to learn what they need help with. It might feel strange to revive a love of Man. And Woman.

Democratic decisions
Some of us love a leader because he's not white. Even if he's abusedly deported more dark people than any Anglo leader before him. And supported military intervention as much as any gun-lover ever. What little he's done that's within the realm of love, will be remembered. Forgetting that we should love democracy more than blindly follow leaders shouldn't be what we're remembered for. There are better legacies of our love. Like relearning how a meeting could operate democratically. Teaching ourselves that consensus makes us more loveable than idolatry. That would be a love refound.

Hands-on, manual labor, arts and crafts
We love our IPad, Pods and phones. So much, that rudely talking to them in front of others is accepted behavior. And we've become too civilized to stoop to manual labor, get ourselves dirty or create something with our hands, because we reached the technological superiority of 3-D printers. We lost our love of putting our love into a chunk of salvaged wood, drawing, painting and pasting. Stuff that we loved doing as children. Instead of electronics, gift a child a pen and pad. Better yet, pick some up in your hands, use them, until you start wondering why you ever gave them up. You could find more to love in yourself.

Whistling and singing
Our ability to make sounds like birds and put our words to music were acquired gifts few species could manipulate. Now, so many of us don't know how to whistle or ever sing aloud, alone, much less with a group. It's almost unimaginable, outside of being in an audience that we likely paid to be part of. Especially in this country, how much quieter it must seem to the other species that they only hear our songs coming from churches and elementary schools. Teach a kid to whistle to the dog, to get someone's attention, or to accompany their favorite song.

Better yet, have a drink, sit out on the patio and sing along with your favorite song or band. Your voice won't make the air any cleaner. The neighbors will think you're just drunk. But you might make the monarchs and bees wonder whether you're bringing us back from the brink. But a lot more bits of all these other kinds of love could clean up a planet. We'd all love for our kids to remember that.

That's my Valentine for you, hoy,
RudyG, a.k.a. Chicano fabulist mextasy author Rudy Ch. Garcia, looking for love in the stranger places

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