When cows go floating down a brown engorged river, when people's houses tip and fall into the river, when our elderly wonder how they will get their meds when all roads in and out have disappeared, we might ask: What's Mother Earth up to?
Or should we be asking, how have we contributed to increasing the temperatures, not to mention the levels, of our planet's oceans? Our own Middlebury College's Bill McKibben said recently, "Irene's middle name is Global Warming."
My husband and I are safe. Our neighbors are fine. Having to deal with a washed out driveway and a few hours of blackout time, is nothing compared to what we are witnessing first hand, listening to on the radio and watching on TV.
Vermont is hurting. Vermont's people, like many on the East Coast right now, are stressed, scared, angry and demoralized. How can all this damage (as the people in Joplin and Alabama and around the country are also asking) be put "right" again--assuming we even know what's "right." Where will the funding come from? What's next?
In a time when some political figures say all this destruction is God's will, I find myself asking, "What is our planet thinking right now?" I'm reading David Spangler's latest book Apprenticed to Spirit and in it he speaks of a "Gaian paradigm"--a way of tuning in to our planet, thinking like our planet, appreciating our interconnectedness and beginning to see whole patterns. "When your intelligence becomes aligned with the deep primal intelligence that creates wholes and connections, then you are thinking like a planet."
When I remind myself that the cosmos intends us to be whole, I am able to put fractured roads and broken yellow lines in perspective. There is much, much more afoot here and we're fortunate to be a part of the healing that will come of all of heartache. It will lead, I am most certain, to a deeper understanding of what is truly important.
On page 253 Spangler says, "Through love, God takes the form you most need in the moment for your well-being and your growth. God can be as personal as the most intimate lover or the most trusted and helpful friend and as vast and distant as the most impersonal blowing, like wind through the corridors of the stars."
Or as helpful as Sherry, the waitress at our local diner (close enough to the main freeway to still get supplies) who, over the past several days, has listened to people coming in who have lost everything and is able to say, "I'm sorry." She can give them a cup of hot coffee but she can't fix their lives. Only they can do that, perhaps with some help from the Red Cross, FEMA or their neighbors.
When we're as broken as this Vermont highway with the fractured yellow line, we need to remember there's a larger force than a tropical storm at work--one bigger and more loving and more solid than anything we can imagine.