I’ve always felt, haven’t you, that springtime, especially in the midst of an apocalypse, is a wonderful opportunity to try something new. One world crumbles as another one rises. Perhaps we could skip that whole intermediate period of barbaric anarchy, though. Either way, I thought we might do a little revamping and refreshing.
For example, I think we could do with a new form of currency with which to measure our wealth. Walks in the park, pomegranates, feathers, and memories might be as good denominations as any. Or, comings and goings through magnificent doorways, seawater cupped in the palms of our hands, unexpected laughter. If it must be paper, let it be origami swans floating away down a river, or poems written upon vallum. If it has to be gold, let it be the sunlight that lazy dogs fall asleep in. If silver, let it be shafts of moonlight slanting through stained glass windows. Let’s spend it all now, in one drunken binge. If we play our cards right, there’s always more where that stuff came from.
While we are at it, how about a new way of reckoning the meaning of individual success. Instead of evaluating it upon, in comparison to our peers, the number of real estate properties we own, the level of prestige our careers command, the degrees and possessions we’ve attained, or the checklist of braggable experiences we’ve managed to cross off our bucket lists, what if we gauged it by the degree to which our personal reservoirs of hope, curiosity, wonder, and love have stubbornly renewed themselves, refusing to be permanently depleted despite all the travails and vicissitudes that have inevitable been visited upon us?
As an added step, perhaps we could use this wild, anxiety-inducing epoch as an invitation to reconsider our priorities in countless other ways, including our responsibilities to ourselves, to others around us, to society, and to the planet itself. We’ve traveled quite a long road with our current consciousness, values, and approaches to life. I think many of us would agree that it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, results-wise. We’ve had some shining moments, for sure. The Renaissance, for instance. We’ve produced some real treasures along the way, including hollandaise sauce, romantic poetry, space travel, and soul music, just to name a few.
Still, with global society lurching towards deepening levels of intolerance and upheaval, and our poor natural world teetering on the brink of complete exhaustion and collapse, there’s no time like the present to begin to explore new ways. If we begin in time, there may be countless more adventures and rebirths awaiting our odd, inventive, often short-sighted species. On the other hand, if we keep just killing time, we may find out that time is immortal, but we are not. A perfect point in history, then, to reflect upon our past, and expand our vision of what the future could be. As my great grandfather used to say, “never let a perfectly good gotterdammerung go to waste.” He was a hundred years old at the time, and completely crazy, but I think he made some sense. To paraphrase one of our own informal poet laureates, Gord Downie, bring on a brand new renaissance. I think I’m ready.