If This Goes On Has Been Released
Updated: Jan 13
Including my story, "A Gardener's Guide to the Apocalypse."
After the 2016 US Presidential election, I spent weeks nearly overwhelmed by despondency and anger. It felt as if the country I loved had deliberately turned its back on progress - as if hate and divisive politics would now be our future. I didn't know how to overcome the feeling that nothing I did made any difference anymore, that we were headed into an abyss from which we might never emerge.
When I was growing up in the late 70's and 80's, the threat of nuclear annihilation was real. The fear of it was everywhere--people talked about the bomb shelters they had built, and television shows gave us the grim details of the after-effects we had to look forward to. Hell, even movies reminded us that we were one smart teenager away from all being blown to bits. I came of age during a time when the threat of nuclear war wasn't so much of an "if" as a "when."
Toward the end of the 80's, however, when the US and the USSR began to sign nuclear disarmament treaties, and the Berlin Wall came down, it seemed as if we'd turned a corner somehow, as if we had walked up to the abyss, stood on its edge, and then, very slowly, stepped back. It felt like the worst was over, like things were going to get better from then on. Were things perfect? Of course not. But it seemed like we were moving in the right direction.
And then came the rise of the far right, and we jumped right back to where we were before, except that now hate could walk the streets proud and loud.
After the 2016 election, I kind of drew back into myself. I stopped writing anything, for a time. I focused on my family, and threw myself into working in my garden in my spare time. It may sound hippy-dippy, but I found that in connecting with the Earth, in growing my own food and coming into tune with the turn of the seasons, I healed myself in many ways. I found the strength to reach out and get involved in local politics, to forge new friendships and, as Mr. Rogers advised, to "look to the helpers." I realized that there will always be voices of protest, good people who will stand up to hate and division. I started to listen, and sure enough, they were there to guide me.
All these emotions went into the writing of "A Gardener's Guide." It's a story of devastation, to be sure, but it's also a story of hope. There will always be people who love the world we live in. No matter what we manage to do to our planet, it will find a way to heal itself. When the world seems doomed, and the problems we face seem overwhelming, we can do one thing--we can carry on, we can work on our own tiny patch of earth, no matter how small, and we can trust that there will be voices out there in the dark, connecting us to the good that's left in the world.
We just have to listen.