Wil and I were extremely lucky. We were together for 10 years before we finally decided to have a baby, and once we did it was a quick 4 months before I woke up one morning with what I thought was the flu.
But many of the families we know with children around Revel’s age didn’t have it so easy. In our playgroups there are many mamas and papas with strange and beautiful stories of doctor’s offices, injections, frozen embryos, and miracles.
When I sit with a woman who longs for a child and can’t have one, a woman with a womb aching to hold new life,
Or read about new desert where there used to be trees,
Or hear about endless drought where there used to be rain,
it is all too clear to me what we are in the midst of,
That we are witnessing the end of fertility.
But there was a time, in the long- long- ago, and in the not-so-long-ago, that our ancestors understood, and loved, and worshipped, the endless creation power of the earth and all her creatures.
The ancient understanding that fertility is tenuous and that in order to support life, the planet, and our bodies must be cared for in the most careful and specific ways.
And that even the tiniest soil microbes must be fed, and tended, and watered, and sheltered, and respected, because they are alive, and are the very building blocks upon which life is built.
But we pour poisons upon the ground, and fill our oceans with chemicals. Our water is not safe to drink, and the air blackens the very lungs it feeds.
When I teach women and couples how to take care of themselves naturally, how to promote fertility,
I always tell them that the reproductive system is the first to go,
Meaning, that if the human body is under stress, it will “shut down” the reproductive system first in order to conserve energy, and calories, and nutrients that our other body systems need more. Our big brains must run at all costs, and our hearts, and our lungs, in order of importance, so on down the line.
So in times of famine, or great stress or illness,
or complete environmental collapse
it becomes very difficult, or impossible, to get pregnant,
And reproductive systems get all out of whack,
and lose their proper rhythm.
Scientists estimate that human fertility levels have dropped by at least one third in the last decade.
And I suspect it’s much higher than that.
Because we’ve forgotten that the balance here is delicate,
That the ingredients needed to create new life require constant tending,
And I just want to tell these beautiful women with empty wombs that,
it’s not their fault that the pregnancy doesn’t come easily.
That their sorrow is shared by all of us,
who are being forced to watch Greed and Progress slowly strip
the earth of her seductive beauty.
And I want to tell my sisters,
That there are babies wanting to come here,
but that they’re waiting in the spirit world,
watching to see,
if conditions here improve.
Watching to see if we remember,
the right way to live here.
And I just want you to know, from my heart to yours, that this is a grief we all carry, an endless mourning,
for the end of fertility.
Thank you for listening,
Michelle, thank you greatly for this amazing guest piece tonight. Your words and your photos strike a chord. I love you.
We Are Not the Radicals
Wil told this story a long time ago when I first began learning from him. It stuck with me from that moment- and sparked something that led to many more discussions and learning opportunities. Are we planning for the future that is beyond our lifetime?
Founded in 1379, New College, Oxford is one of the oldest Oxford colleges. It has a great dining hall with huge oak beams across the top, as large as two feet square, and forty-five feet long each.
A century ago, some busy entomologist went up into the roof of the dining hall with a penknife and poked at the beams and found that they were full of beetles. This was reported to the College Council, which met the news with some dismay. Beams this large were now very hard, if not impossible to come by. “Where will we get beams of that caliber?” they worried.
One of the Junior Fellows stuck his neck out and suggested that there might be some worthy oaks on the College lands. These colleges are endowed with pieces of land scattered across the country which are run by a college Forester. They called in the College Forester and asked him if there were any oaks for possible use.
It was discovered that when the College was founded, a grove of oaks had been planted to replace the beams in the dining hall when they became beetly, because oak beams always become beetly in the end. This plan had been passed down from one Forester to the next for over five hundred years saying “You don’t cut them oaks. Them’s for the College Hall.”
photo by Michelle J.
The Foresters thought 500 years into the future. Five hundred years!!! When is the last time people of today planned for something that wouldn’t even happen in their lifetime or their childrens’ lifetimes? We make plans a day in advance for lunch. A month to grow seedlings. Maybe a year in advance for vacation. We think about the education of our children in 18 years. But we are not planning for the earth’s future.
What will it take?
What do we have to lose before people start paying attention? Does it have to be all at once? Maybe it would make an impact if headlines read, “Today every last tiger has died.” Instead of this, beautiful things slip away slowly until we forget they were ever there.
So what will it take? It seemed to garner little reaction when the articles screamed “COLONY COLLAPSE- 3 MILLION BEES DEAD”, when bee populations dwindled drastically in size, or, “Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops”. These are the crucial pollinators who help our food grow! Killing weeds now means killing bees. Still we do nothing except engage in collective, deliberate amnesia. In 1984 they called it “doublethink”.
photo by Michelle J.
What if you woke up and read “The last fertile woman has died”? Studies are showing a fertility decline in every single ethnicity in the US, every year, for years. It is partly because we REFUSE to stop poisoning the planet with pesticides, which interfere with the natural hormonal balance in the human body, and insecticides, and even fungicides. Use of these certainly explains the tremendous loss of bee life and explains many of the adverse health effects felt by humans. These chemicals are strong enough to affect your metabolism, behavior and mood, reproductive organs, and even provoke cancer. And certainly fossil fuel extraction industries are adding their own toxins that have already radically altered the chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere!
And so our mindset must be: I am repairing my planet now because it will need to outlast humanity’s fixation on progress and destruction.
That fixation will outlast my lifetime. So must our work here outlast our lifetimes.
Therefore we must also pass the importance of this on to as many people as can possibly listen, stop what they are doing and LISTEN, and actually HEAR, that we are causing the death of our beautiful home. . We who want to save the planet are not the radicals– it is those intent on destroying it that are engaging in truly radical acts. As Tasha said in another post, we can no longer claim innocence or ignorance, and it’s time, it’s time, IT’S TIME to stop ignoring that.
photo by Michelle J.