This July I lay floating in the Bay of Biscay where it touches the Vendée coastline. I have done this dozens of times now over the years, lying flat, quiet and cool with the sun beaming down. It is very peaceful and I feel at one with the elements.
It was not really any different this year except that the heatwave was intense and on one day it was too hot to walk across the sand to the sea. It was the same weather in Britain and when we returned our garden was shrivelled to a crisp. When the rain eventually came we had a second spring in autumn. We had roses in December but they disappeared in the freezing weeks we have just had. Now it is raining and we are thinking, will it ever stop?
It is easy in these circumstances to think of nature going wrong somehow, being against us, punishing us somehow. We are culpable of course in that it is our civilization that has released all that carbon dioxide that has led us to global warming. If it is a punishment it seems less fair to some than to others – if you are a farmer in Pakistan and it is hot enough to kill you then it really is unfair. How we react individually to the changing climate will depend on our personal circumstances, our awareness and our consciences. It’s a catastrophe but here in Europe weather is still more interesting than lethal most of the time.
We can and should react to these changes in God’s world; we may become activists attempting to prevent further damage. We may try to mitigate the worst effects and try to protect future generations, wildlife and biodiversity. We may put our heads in the sand – beware, it’s hot! We may lament what we collectively have done however inadvertent it was. Or we may be grateful that we are alive at any time – what a miracle that is – and rejoice in whatever is sent to us.
These are feelings and being human we want to express them and share them with God, both by having a say, a grumble even, as is traditional with weather, but also to listen with attention and emotion to what God is saying to us. There are no answers without his guidance and he may speak to us in unusual ways. To some it will be through poetry or painting and if that is the case please share it with us at Green Christian.
This week we are posting some new work, an extended poem from George Dow and a painting and a poem from me. It’s a conversation so do comment on what you see and read and be inspired to express your feelings to share with us.
Graham Norman December 2022
Previous: Hope is the sister of Despair.