Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Climate Chaos Within Our Own Hearts

On San Francisco's BART (Winter, 2016)

Arriving in Logan Airport (Winter, 2016)

UC Berkeley Campus in the rain (Winter, 2016)

Roads and Smog, Oakland, CA (Winter, 2016)

San Francisco in the dark (Winter, 2016)

I’ve been trying to find the words. No words as dawn lit the dry air outside my Tel Aviv window. No words hours later, as I passed under banners for the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics in Logan International Airport. No words during rains that grey-shimmered my first few days visiting Berkeley, California, once home to massive movements for fairness, justice, tolerance and compassion in human relations. Now with people living on her downtown sidewalks and "post-housing bubble" rentals with ginormous price tags.
Without words, I walked through the chill air because I needed to be near other people, even if we were just passing each other without a look. The streets ran with rain. My clothes were instantly soaked. The wind turned my umbrella inside-out fast. I decided to head for REI to buy sneakers, and found that the 2.5 mile trip to and from, by bus, would cost me four bus fares. No transfers are offered in the bus system here.
I continued to walk. I passed a bus shelter filled with homeless and shivering people. I was passed by empty buses. According to Urban Habitat, the transportation system that used to be here in the Bay Area “…was easy to use... 170 ferries landed every day in San Francisco, connecting to trolley lines leaving every 20 seconds. The trollies were faster than the roads... until auto companies bought the trolley system — and burned it down!”
I waded through flooded gutters. Down streets filled with glistening cars. There were so many gas stations and the gas seemed cheap, about $2.49 a gallon. I was starting to understand why Trump nominated a gas corporation CEO for Secretary of State.
Still no words. I thought about the American Electoral College delegates who are trying to vote with their consciences. I thought of the brave men and women who fight modern slavery (trying to help the millions who are sex/labored trafficked - the novel I just finished writing is about a person trapped in that hell.) I thought about the compassion which still exists in every place and in so many souls though sometimes it feels like every form of kindness is about to blink out. The many people helping the homeless in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Some Arabs welcoming homeless Israeli Jews (made homeless because of the Arab arson-intifada) into their homes. Israeli organizations bringing wounded Syrians into Israel to give them shelter and healing. And many people, in many homes worldwide, trying to help animals that have been abandoned and brutalized.
The storm was starting to make sense too. The climate chaos that mirrors the conflicts within our own troubled hearts.