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Monday, April 18, 2011

Population Woahs Revisited

  In consideration of the populace and the continuance of all populations...

          As time moves, I find myself trying to keep pace with it. However, as Einstein first spoke and others since have elucidated--time is relative. Time is not moving at any one particular rate. So, what is it that I am trying to keep pace with? Myself? My desires and longings? The Living--as a way to try and cheat myself out of death, to trick death or defy death? I think that it may be when death is contemplated the desire for new life emerges and is then cogitated. The biological capability to bear children, procreate or, to speak more scientifically, to perpetuate the species is something remarkable and precious. However, it is imperative that the creation of new life be taken seriously and not taken for granted. To bring new life into the world is to birth creation and destruction. Choosing to perpetuate our species, along with other life forms who reproductively succeed, is to perpetuate and announce new breath and new death. At times, I long to give my blood, flesh and genes to new blood, flesh and genes, but I hesitate. I hesitate for a myriad of reasons, some personal and some global. As many women discover in their lives mothering does not necessarily insist that one has reproduced and given birth to a child of one's own, nor does it imply the same for men in terms of fatherhood. Men do not have to shoot semen toward an ovum to be fatherly or father figures in their lives. For both men and women, the process of creation be found in ways other than having children, and parenting can happen through the love and care taking of other lives, both human and non-human.Author, Terry Tempest Williams, remarks on creation, children and family in her book, RED Passion and Patience in the Desert:
        "As a woman of forty-four years, I will not bear children. My husband and I will not be parents. We have chosen to define family another way.
             I look across the sweep of slickrock stretching in all different directions... The tracks of coyote are everywhere.
            Would you believe me when I tell you this is family...
           And this is enough for me, more than enough. I trace my genealogy back to the land. Human and wild, I can see myself whole, not isolated but integrated in time and place. Our genetic makeup is not so different form the collared lizard, the canyon wren now calling, or the great horned owl... Is not the tissue of family always a movement between harmony and distance?
           Perhaps this is what dwells in the heart of our nation--choice--to choose creation of a different sort, the freedom to choose what we want our lives to be, the freedom to choose what heart line to follow.
           ...These remnants of the wild, biologically intact, are precious few. We are losing ground. No matter how much we choose to preserve the pristine through our passion, photography, or politics, we cannot forget the simple truth: There are too many of us.
           Let me tease another word from the heart of the nation: sacrifice. Not to bear children may be its own form of sacrifice. How do I explain my love of children, yet our decision not to give birth to a child? Perhaps it is about sharing. I recall watching my niece...eye to eye with a lizard... In the sweetness of that moment, I felt the curvature of my heart become the curvature of Earth, the circle of family complete...
          Must the act of birth be seen only as a replacement for ourselves? Can we not also conceive of birth as an act of the imagination, giving body to a new way of seeing? Do children need to be our own to be loved as our own?
          We can give birth to creation."

          Terry Tempest William's words may work their way into your heart and mind until they nestle there, as you begin to understand and internalize the ideas and feelings she expresses. On the other hand, you may disagree wholly or partially, and choose to bear both children and creation or choose to leave creation to those whose choice it has been to make the creative process their offspring and their progeny. Either way, as we move on, what needs birthing the most is a change in the mentality of the general populous and a shift of social, political and industrial paradigms. If birthing children contributes to more hands helping to shape a new vision and relationship to Earth, so be it. All creation--breath and death--will ebb and flow. If we can change the forces of our human destruction than perhaps we will create ways to support and sustain all lives born on the blue planet, until death recycles us back into the soil and air of creation.

~Melanie Olsen

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