Take Me to Church 1/26/20: On Stilts

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Photo by Seth kane on Unsplash

Sometimes—only sometimes—I can see the flood coming.

The warming of our planet and the consequences of a great melt are obvious.  I can see the manifold deluges of climate change approaching; I (should) know its first victims will likely be those among us who are already uniquely vulnerable. I step back from the shore and up from the sand.  If nothing else, I build my own house on stilts, so I can stay safe and dry, so I can lift up others.

Anxiety wants to keep me at the edge of every flood.  Anxiety believes I can hold it back, somehow, even if the waves are lapping at my chin.  If I hold on a little longer, whispers a snarled configuration of genes and neurons and memories, I can stop it from coming.  I can’t possibly get out of the water.  All those people on the shore are depending on me.  I don’t imagine for a moment that I could drown.  I don’t recognize that all those people on the shore have already seen their individual powerlessness, that they are joining hands and raising up their houses.

Empire benefits from this feeling.  When I can’t step back from any particular flood, whether climatological or emotional, I am primed to consume, to blame, to isolate—all responses ripe for exploitation by rapacious corporations, by amoral politicians.

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