The Pursuit of Harmony in 2022
Plus an urban firestorm, New Year's tone setters, and news from the ghost town
Dance, cry, laugh, cringe, howl, panic or just keep plodding along, whether we like it or not, here we go 2022. Welcome to this moment.
Being immersed in the moment is one of my 2022 goals. Last year skittered by too quickly. Time to slow it down. Time to be fully present, because this free-flowing moment is the only reality we have. Time to honor it. Revel in it. Despite looming planetary doom and the impending fall of democracy, my present days are otherwise spectacularly rich with food, safety, health, nature, mountains, family and love. I am infinitely thankful. I am infinitely lucky. And I want to be more conscious of all of the good that surrounds us everyday.
Some people pick a word and make it their personal theme for the year. This year I’m going for harmony.
Inner harmony, aligning spirit, body, mind, emotions, and intuitions. In these complex times, thoughts are scattered like honeybees in a field. Time to bring them all home to the hive, where they can regroup, nourish, rest, and start working in concert, with clearer focus.
Outer harmony, finding kindness and empathy for all beings. Being thankful for my distant sisters, who picked my bounty of vegetables. Being aware of how my energy ties into the universal flow, and how my smile might change a stranger’s day for the better.
Existential harmony, acting with urgency toward our nature crises, while refraining from spending constant energy and conversation on worry and sorrow.
Time harmony, better balancing work with all of the things that are most important: nature, Steve, family, health. Ah, health! I can’t tell you how many years I’ve written down my goals of yoga, meditation, workouts and healthy eats, looked at it daily, yet still failed to act on it.
Harmony as a chorus of our voices, weaving a audio tapestry of peace and compassion, singing for the world that we want to manifest. Harmony in community will help us be resilient, to weather those times ahead that will not be so peaceful and easy.
Honor this moment, because all we know is that it’s impermanent.
After a lazy holiday week in Boulder, Steve and I drove back to the San Luis Valley on Dec. 30. It was a wildly windy day, which had taken out my mom’s electricity earlier in the morning. By the time we hit the road, we were being sandblasted with 100-m.p.h. gusts and dust devils.
Minutes from Boulder, we drove through downtown Superior’s web of box store shopping centers and seas of pavement. Up the hill, where businesses give way to a landscape of densely packed cookie-cutter homes on the east and a dry patchwork of open space grasses on the west, I said something to Steve, like, ugh, can you imagine if a fire broke out in this wind?
“IF YOU SEE FIRE, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.”
We weren’t an hour down the road before this first evacuation alert lit up the phone. Superior was ablaze.
By now, you’ve probably heard the rest of the story: A thousand homes burned, many with dogs and cats inside, their humans dashing from work, desperately driving into the apocalyptic smoke, trying to find ways around the roadblocks to rescue them. Two people are still missing.
2021 roared to a close with a new disaster phrase, “urban firestorm.” I hope this isn’t the doom term that defines 2022. I hope the numerous tales of community banding together through hardship are longer lasting than those of the grief.
In a twist of irony, that evening brought the first snowstorm of the year. Fluffy flakes floating down upon burning embers. Usually we celebrate the first snow, but this year it didn’t feel very comforting, especially since it should have first accumulated in September or October. And this wasn’t just a wildfire. It was something more troubling, which now has fire behaviorists diving into a new branch of research. To understand it better, this is the best article I’ve seen, with David Wallace-Wells interviewing Boulder climate scientist Daniel Swain.
But on to other tales: Apologies are in order
It’s been far too long since the last newsletter. What happened was that I got a regular freelance gig with familyhandyman.com, a DIY publication with roots back to the 1950s. That, combined with a road trip to Florida and some other projects (like this newsletter for the Florida Keys Wildlife Society), took up my time. But, the upside is that I’m getting to infuse all sorts of ways to help nature into stories that traditionally don’t include much of that, while myself learning about interesting topics from living walls to sunflower seeds.
But I’ve missed writing this newsletter. This newsletter is about to enter its second year, and I intend to keep it going. But because of this new gig, my brain power is limited, and at least for a while, my posts will not be as frequent as last year (trying for that harmony of time idea). As such, I am discontinuing the paid subscription option. But if you win the lottery and want to make a donation, I certainly won’t turn it down. You can do that here at BuyMeACoffee.com.
Four things to help set the tone for 2022
Just a few odds and ends, to help us dance gracefully into the future.
Amanda Gorman’s new year poem “New Day’s.” One line that particularly resonates, “So let us not return to what is normal, but reach toward what is next.”
Don’t Look Up. The new movie is all the talk in climate circles. I heard that they made it specifically to give some cathartic laughter to climate scientists. It’s on Netflix.
Buy Nothing Project. If you’re giving away your old vacuum or or need a vegetable steamer, try this circular economy sharing program. They split from facebook and started their own app, and are in need of people to facilitate local groups.
100 Ways to Improve Your Life Without Really Trying. Just a fun, helpful, light-hearted article from the Guardian.
News From the Valley of the Cool Sunshine
As many readers know, for the last year we’ve been turning an abandoned house in rural Colorado back into a livable home. This fall, Steve ran all of the gas lines and we passed inspection. Just as we were leaving for Florida, we lucked into finding a rental propane tank. They are in short supply, but Steve’s diligence in calling every supply house in Denver paid off, when one ended up having a buddy in the Valley who gave us an insider connection.
Steve also built the furnace plenum and ducted the house, which was no small task.
The furnace got up and running just before the first heavy freeze, making it an official house, with all systems online.
Steve also installed new siding on the back, and is a good way through constructing the back deck. Meanwhile, Karuna writes and writes, and tries to offer as much moral support as possible.
A Parting Thought
Oh yeah, and the reasons we went to Florida were to pick up our beloved Ed’s Boat, when the person who bought it from us told us she didn’t want it anymore; and to caretake Ballast Key. Ballast Key is 9 miles southeast of Key West. It’s an idyllic island with at least five habitats, which is a lot for a small island. It was bequeathed to the Nature Conservancy and the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges by Key West developer and arts patron David Wolkowsky when he died in 2018. I can’t say too much about it yet, besides that it was one of those experiences where time slows down, and the place forever infuses itself within one’s soul. I’ll be writing more about it in the not-to-distant future.
Sorry, I can’t yet figure out how to get rid of the pricing, as this newsletter is now free for all, but if you hit the subscribe button, just choose the free option. And if you’re in the mood, donations are welcome through this link. Happy 2022! Let’s make this a year to remember.