Sunday, August 29, 2010

Requiem for a fish...or is it for us all?

A dream image
I don’t usually remember my dreams but here I go again, another dream about fish. This dream was a very vivid image of a rotund fish the size of a small whale, stranded on a tiny sliver of sand bar; the fish somehow was still barely alive even though its body was disintegrating and most of its skeleton exposed. Standing behind the fish, as though he was giving last rites, was a Native American medicine man.

That’s the whole dream: the fish and the indigenous person alone on a tiny sand spit at sunset on what looks like a Cape Cod beach at that magical time when ocean and sky start merging as they sweep off toward eternity.

The emotional tone of the dream was neutral:  No grieving or sadness or wishing for what might have been. The message, if any, was matter of fact: It is what it is.

The tone was similar to the message of Bill McKibbin’s new book, Eaarth: Don’t mourn for the past: it’s over with. Gone. What we are experiencing now is the new normal. Get used to it.

That message resonates with me in terms of interpreting my dream: Yes, it may be a requiem for many indigenous peoples and the life forms associated with them, but–no matter how great our grief– we can’t drown in our sadness.

We just don’t have time for that.

Instead, we must pull ourselves together, stand up, and start instituting the change necessary to bring ourselves, our community and our world into harmony, learning at last how to coexist peacefully together within the great, interconnecting Web of Nature.

We have no choice. 

Otherwise, sooner than we dare think, it will be a requiem not just for what western civilization considers lower life forms like organisms that creep and crawl, fins who swim, wings who fly, and four-legged animals who run but us two-legged creatures as well––it will be a requiem for us all.
photo credits: The background photograph is from a photograph I took on Head of the Meadow beach on Cape Cod this summer while on vacation. The original image of the Native American Medicine man, before I altered it in photoshop, is of a figurine sold by BaliFurnish.Com.  The head of my fish came from copying the head off an image of a fang fish found on and then modifying it in photoshop while also adding a skeleton.
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