The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

Now that’s a sentence I haven’t uttered since childhood. Sadly, though, it’s true. The world is going to hell, and I genuinely wish I were a little closer to dying peacefully of old age after having led a full life that was full of love and abundance. I really don’t enjoy witnessing us circling the drain.

Megadroughts. Floods, Wildfires. Unrelenting heat, horrific storms, and deadly winters. This is just the beginning of our downward spiral. I am terrified for my grandnephews, who will experience the stuff of nightmares at the rate we’re going. Mass extinctions. Food and water shortages and the wars they will cause. The die off of pollinators, and the permanent die off of many crops.

Another thing I’d rather not stick around for is the justified recriminations that younger generations will direct at us for having brought all this on ourselves. Make no mistake, we’ve all had a hand in this.

Our primary crime is that we’ve done nothing about the abuses of big corporations, which continue to do 70 percent of the global warming damage. If we could bring them all to heel, like, tomorrow, we might still stand a chance. But we all know that’s not going to happen, don’t we? Greed will kill us in the end.

If future generations want to know how I felt as we crossed the point of no return, I can say I felt frustrated, helpless, angry, and terrified. I feel like we’re all being pushed toward a cliff, and I don’t know what to do. It will no longer be possible for this pilotless cruise ship to avoid the iceberg, but we can still mitigate some of the damage. It can be done. We could still be okay. But no one seems to be doing enough. Recycling is nice, but it isn’t going to cut it. We need leadership with a backbone.

Soon, certain foods will become a faint memory for my nephews. Berries, and their related pies and jams and juices. Berries are already withering from the heat and becoming scarce as I write this.

We will also stop growing luxury crops that are not essential for human survival, because there will not be enough water for them. Say goodbye to coffee, tea, and tobacco. Chocolate and sugar will be a thing of the past. And no more beef. Adios to almonds, pistachios, and wine. We might actually be healthier due to many of these losses, but our diets will be bland.

It breaks my heart to watch all of this go. It scares me to look into the future. It makes me weep to think of the way children today will be forced to redefine and ratchet downward their quality of life.

We could have stopped this. We didn’t. We just didn’t. Our ignorance, greed and selfishness are how we will be remembered.

10 thoughts on “I Wish I Were Older

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    The resourceful ones will win through. I say that to my mom whenever she starts gloom-and-dooming, which she is good at. Yes, I get scared too, but I remind myself that all is not lost until one gives up. Can’t think of any better things to say right now, but it might be a good idea to think about what we can do, not what we can’t.

    1. That makes perfect sense. But this post is born from a complete feeling of personal helplessness. I have good days and bad days.

  2. Carole says:

    Word for word ripped from my sporadic dreams. At 78+, I only sleep a couple of hours and wander around the wee hours going through a lifetime of papers, mementos, and a ton of crap. Hoping to install order out of chaos. Begging forgiveness to all that will listen. I’ve given LIFE my best shot. I’m over it. Come and get me Lord… preferably when I’m sleeping.

    1. I’d say you’ve conquered life and emerged victorious, my friend.

  3. Lyn says:

    I share both Angi’s and Carole’s perspectives. Been bouncing back and forth between hopeful resistance and full surrender since the 70’s when my scientifically curious brain first accepted the possibility of our self induced extinction. I always considered it a slow form of mass suicide. Tried enlightening people to it, but rarely made a dent in their thick skulls. Been living with your sense of terror and despair, Barb, all these years as I watched some finally wake, only to see fear grip the rest and spin them into a whirlwind of denial that daily engulfs much of the progress made. I’m exhausted, but my one last hope is that the innovative, brave children we’ve raised with awareness, will find better solutions to finish what we began. This was always going to be a war that spanned generations, so some of us raised and armed our children to be the warriors we could pass the torch to. I go to my grave knowing I’ve done what I, as one single soldier, could. Now it’s up to our resilient offspring and their peers to win this war. I hope you are still here helping them long after Carol and I are gone. Be an elder that leads them and they will remember you for your sacrifice, honesty, wisdom and selfless support, not your guilt.

    1. Okay, you made me cry. Thanks for the reminder that there’s hope.

  4. Lyn says:

    Hope is easier to hold if you remain actively engaged, but even the strongest warriors experience fear and doubt when they’re exhausted. It’s okay to take a breather and shed your tears. You’ve earned some R&R soldier.

  5. Admirer says:

    Oh mighty bridgetender how wise you are. I am in the same mind, but the author above has given a sliver of hope. I have armed my son with tools and I KNOW his generation is awake, I just pray it’s not too late.

    1. I’ll add my prayers to yours. Much strength to your son.

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