What to do in the face of death?


Last in the Race

Each day a life extinguished
Another species hold relinquished
To be forever vanquished
the Last in the Race

Yet headlines don’t record
The shrinkage of our world
As humans expand unchecked
All else recoils, contracts and falls.

Life slips away unnoticed
As we quicken the pace
‘Til its us that are
Last in the Race.

JJ Middleway

I wrote that poem over twenty years ago.

Not many people could see what was happening then. More can now; but it is still only a relative minority.

Its more than possible that we are already way past a crucial tipping point: Nonetheless, as a human being and as a Druid, it calls forth in me that which is noble and of value: That, which is virtuous and of service to the world, to my community – and to myself.

It would be, and at times is, all too easy to feel by turns, despondent, desperate and despising toward those who are ironically and comically termed ‘our leaders’, in relation to the awful harm being done towards our Mother – the Earth…. and us along with it.
So amongst all the death and carnage (not an exageration if one takes the wider view), where might there be seeds of hope? Where is there a glimmer of light?

We are living in “Lord of the Rings” times – not as fairytale but as reality. Where the evil overlord Sauron has many clones leading many nations. Take your pick of any one the tyrants leading their ‘orc armies’ in stripping the earth, in their pillage of mineral wealth (Fracking being synonymous with its four letter companion in the world of obscenities).

Of those same ‘orc armies’ destroying ancient forests at a rate too mindblowing to take on board rationally.

Of ‘Orc Fleets’ on the oceans of the world, hauling fish and whales and all marine life onto ships the size of towns to be processed with industrial efficiency; which amounts to the efficiency of nullness and naffness and ’nuffin’.

For those of us fortunate enough to have been born sixty to seventy years ago, there are memories of flocks of sparrows twittering and bickering in the hedges; Of tremendous swathes
of starlings, millions strong, murmurating over our cities; Of childhood adventures heading to Cornwall – a truly mythical and distant land in those times – with moths by the hundred splattering on the windscreen (it makes my stomach turn to think of it now). Of hedgehogs being commonplace in suburban gardens.

All gone….. or very nearly so!

Memories of Hobbiton, before much of this madness (already underway) became apparent – at least to those prepared to see.

So what to do?

Well I think the heroic tales tell us plainly – be that in Lord of the Rings, the Odyssy or The Wizard of Earthsea, the call and the inspiration, the infusion of life and the aspiration, is always to be found in reclaiming core values of common decency, ethical wholeness and moral compass. No wonder we flounder as a nation and as a species – where are our ethics, our morals and our compass? All broken.

So where to start? Read a book of heroic tales – be inspired.
Begining with the essential work on ‘myself’, or better still “thyself”, become the hero that the eternal inner wisdom has always, and will always, be calling us all towards.

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