In the fall, I took an environmental anthropology course at the university that challenged me to examine some of my lifelong beliefs about this thing we call nature. It’s not easy to suspend one’s worldview, to fully consider arguments that are so anathema to the truths one holds to be self-evident—in my case, trying to imagine that Earth is not simply going to hell in a handbasket as a result of human abuse (case study evidence: humans and the environment have been mutually shaping and reshaping each other since the origin of our species). Or trying to deconstruct the rhetoric of the Western environmentalist agenda, or trying to view human culture as inseparable from nature. Or entertaining the question: what if climate change isn’t such a bad thing? I respected and appreciated the instructor’s efforts to engage the class with both sides of every issue. For me, this attempt at temporarily abandoning my value system was at times uncomfortable, but also long overdue, as it only served to help deepen my understanding of the relationships between humans and the non-human world and to help me better articulate my views on the matter. Not “served,” but “serves,” present tense. It’s a process.
In honor of this exercise in the cross-examination of my own ethics, and in honor of this amazingly cute wee patch of spring that brought me great joy the other day, I offer the poem below. It’s also in response to NaPoWriMo’s prompt for Day Two (here, I’m interpreting “a poem that tells a lie” as “a poem that reflects the opposite of what I truly believe”—i.e., the opposite of the last poem I wrote!) as well as Day Five’s challenge to write a cinquain.
P.S. I’m not going to apologize for not writing thirty poems in thirty days; I consider it a success that I’ve managed two so far.
Life finds a way
despite the odds. Suppose
we stop this fight against our own