My son saunters to the car, shoulders bent, hair dyed an audacious red. He opens the passenger door and climbs inside wearing a metal spiked collar and leather jacket in June alongside the "F*** you" attitude of adolescence. As we drive I make bumbling, parental attempts at connection..."How was the day love?""Don't therapize me mom.""What do you think about____?""I don't know mom."My chit-chat is met with a slow, silent stare. I sit back in my seat and drive, filling the car with a quiet love and untangling my tension one breath at a time. After several miles he turns to me, phone in hand, lips curled with disgust and says, "We will pass the threshold for global warming between 2027 and 2042. The point of no return. That's in this decade." He shakes his head and glares out the window at the grass laden hills rolling by.I feel his anger and the pain beneath it. I feel it now as his mother, a human caught in a web of social machinations distorting a spinning blue paradise with greed and delusion.I listen to the wind rushing past the car's window. There's more noise on the highway of course but it's quieter too. The song of the Great Plains has changed since I was a child. Half of the bird populations are gone. There are less bugs too. I don't have to clean my windshield because the total mass of insects disappears at a rate of 2.5% each year. When someone casually tosses a plastic bottle onto the road I know that same plastic fills our oceans at the rate of five full grocery bags for every foot of coastline on earth. Out of sight out of mind. And that's not even the tip of our melting iceberg.This is part of his inheritance. A society intent of division, on numbing and distraction, missing the beauty stored in a single moment, in every eye, in each blade of grass and drop of water.I look at my son. I am full of silent apologies for my species, for manifest destiny, for slavery, for holocausts, for extinctions, for greed, for comfort. I nod at his hardened eyes and the pain behind them and then I look out the window at the world I love, not as a child loves its mother, nor as a mother loves her child. I love this wild blue planet as a lover loves her beloved. With all the tenderness my mind, body and soul can muster. I feel each breeze like a soft breath rustling my hair, each verdant leaf a caress as birds sing sonnets along creeks rushing in welcome. I love it. All of it. And regardless of our misguided ideas we are nature. We are earth. And this is his inheritance too.Angry teenagers have a right to be pissed. Perhaps their fire may help to shake us from our stupor of more.We are called to stand, to see and to witness the cruelty we've inflicted on one another, on life. It's time to let our shadows catch up to us and feel the weight of all that has been tortured, sacrificed or trampled for our comfort. Only then will we have the capacity to cultivate a wise response to the unknown territories ahead. We can do it. We can.Silently I say, "May we be free from suffering and the roots of suffering. May we enjoy happiness and the ROOTS of happiness. May all beings be free." I say it for you. I say it for me. I say it for my children and for my Beloved blue planet.I park the car. My son opens the door and climbs out, then looks back at me. "I love you mom." I smile and nod, "I love you son." A bird sings from its perch amidst the heart shaped leaves of a catalpa tree bent over the road in an embrace.
My dad sat quietly on a chipped azure bench, blue eyes watching the tide like an old friend. Weathered hands tugged at the corners of a thread-worn, teal blanket wrapped securely around shoulders, once broad and strong, now narrowed and bent. White hair and a wayward beard blew like sea foam across his face, assaulting eyes with sand, salt and curls. My dad didn’t use to lounge on the park benches of tourist traveled beaches. No. He preferred unguarded waters and abandoned stretches of sand on which to rest his chronically tan and muscular body. At ninety, his feet no longer walked with their former ease on the unsteady shoreline, so he sat instead, listening to a distant surf with face tilted to the sun. I perched on the sand at his feet, grateful for a few hours together. Dad opened his eyes when a pigeon landed nearby with a flutter of wings and a soft, “pruuuu, prrruuu.” Dad watched the bird pecking at the sand. Soon more pigeons arrived and their chorus of “pruuuu, pruuuu,