It’s late winter here and it’s cold, wet and windy. But elsewhere things are on fire. We humans are having a devastating impact. In the rapidly warming Arctic there are widespread fires on an unprecedented scale. They are releasing huge quantities of the very greenhouse gases which we are responsible for and which are causing the conditions that make fires more likely. And fires in the Amazon appear to be caused deliberately - to displace the indigenous peoples who live in and care for the forest, to prevent the implementation of conservation projects, and to enrich the people who take over the land. Vicious circles, greed, indifference, failures to act and brutal actions. So ugly.
When I see the magnolia flowers open up in the heavy weather, I am almost shocked by their beauty and resilience. How can they stay so lovely? I see that they might bruise, but they seem to hold on regardless.
So, you might ask, what’s that got to do with the climate ghastliness which is becoming impossible to deny?
We are faced with the enormity of the damage already in place. We are faced by obstinate attitudes of “business as usual” - continued and accelerated coal and oil extraction and use. We see deliberate refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation or to act to change the trajectory we are on. All this could be overwhelming, like the gales that batter the magnolia plants. I know that recently I’ve been feeling very disheartened.
But then I see the magnolias on the windblown hillside and I realise the importance of tenacity. People who care about stopping the accelerating climate damage which endangers life on earth can be like the magnolias which hold on and open up and show the beauty of their flowering. There is beauty in tenacity, in holding on, in caring for life here on Earth, and doing better.