Dear Earth, this morning I was woken by death.On 10th November 2019 by Satya
He came in the form of our cat Fatty, yelling for his breakfast. He gained his silly nickname almost two decades ago when the vet told us he was a bit too pudgy. It’s become ironic, as he’s a bag of bones. He’s on three kinds of medication. He’s completely deaf, his back legs are splayed, and his long hair mats so we shave clumps of it from him, leaving untidy white patches of skin.
I feel a faint sense of unease when I stroke him. I don’t like that I can count every bone along his back. I am too aware of the end he’s carrying, like a pregnancy. How many days does he have? How will it happen?
Last night we hosted a talk about your health here at the temple, dear Earth, and Fatty joined us. As I listened to the horror story for the third time, I felt more grief than I’ve felt before. My ears wanted to close up before the stories of suffering. I baulked at contemplating our dark future.
You will die one day too, of course, beloved Earth. Whether we’ll cause our own extinction or not isn’t your main preoccupation, as you’ve been here for a long time before we arrived and you’ll be around for a long time after. With death ahead of us, as a planet, as a species and as individuals, how should we live?
I want to live. I want to feel the grief as well as the joy. I want to recognise the parts of me that shy away from Fatty’s bony back, and from hearing the reality about the climate and ecological crisis. I want to be kind to these parts of me, and give them a hug. There will be dying, there will be dying, and here is a whole day ahead of me. Outside the pale green catkins are bobbing in the breeze next to the spent anemones, with their branching bobble-tipped seed heads. There are bright splashes of tangerine nasturtiums in the wrecked vegetable patch. What abundance!
Towards the end of the talk I left my chair to sit on the ground next to Fatty. I rubbed his cheeks and stroked his head, and he purred and purred.
With so much aching love, Satya <3