There’s a lot being said lately about the end of the world as we know it. We all feel it – from the economy to the Antarctic, a world on the edge of meltdown.
It’s almost reassuring to flirt with the idea that the Mayans might be right about The End. How good would that be? No Christmas, no New Year’s resolutions to be broken, no more difficult life changing decisions to be made. Most importantly, no more fear, uncertainty or guilt.
I wonder. What is it about doomsday prophecies that find us a little unhinged?
Near where I live, there’s a place I like to go and walk. In many ways, it’s an unremarkable beach in what was once a working class village on the ‘wrong’ side of town.
But at a certain spot, it’s possible to pause and look across the bay, and imagine you are standing on the edge of the world.
No people in sight.
It’s like your brain opens up, and all of a sudden, you can breathe again.
In those moments, when it’s all stripped back and there’s nothing but you and the swans who’ve come to nurse their young, you remember.
This tired earth on which we stand – it all comes back to her.
Earth. Water. Fire. Air.
In the flurry of our busy, elaborate lives, sometimes we forget how much we are in need of her.
Need is not a word we like to use. It connotes weakness. Dependency. Responsibility. It frightens us.
It means there’s a chance we could get hurt.
But it’s also the moment when we acknowledge we can no longer take her for granted.
When we see we have a role to play.
When change and renewal can begin.
Doomsday prophecies offer freedom. But they also suggest things may be out of balance, and perhaps we are to blame. In the words of Buffy’s sister, Dawn…
“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
– (Once More with Feeling, 2001).
As we approach holiday season, and if life as we know it doesn’t end on 21 December, this is the perfect time to begin anew.
To remember the loved ones whom we take for granted.
To breathe in the air, and thank the earth for what she gives.
To see ourselves as one among the elements. And remember our steps in this dance we call Life.
Do you have any plans to get away this Christmas? What will you be doing to recharge?