The bees are making paths only they can see in my mandarin tree. Flower to flower, gathering pollen on their legs like old ladies carrying shopping bags. They dance in the sun to sound only they can hear, move back and forth in steps older than time; they are ancient.
I watch from my laundry room, washing my hands in the sink.
I think of the age of bees. The age of gathering pollen and passing pollen and making the flowers bloom and the act of bringing life, and I know that I don't understand it all. But it is beautiful.
I watch the bees and think of the planet, dying. Dying at our hands, dying if we do nothing. The science reports everywhere agree; news and pictures call chaos from all their corners. And I wash my hands in the sink and feel outraged and heartbroken because 7 billion of us aren't marching in the streets. We aren't all singing the land and sea back to health, tending, caring, mending. We aren't saving the earth together, standing with our hands outstretched.
I think of Ghandi. I think of civil disobedience. I think of the power of a collective Us. What if we all stopped? Refused to do anything else until the planet was safe?
What if we lay down in front of every choice that demeaned and starved and spoiled the earth and said, No More Please.
Would we ever be so brave?
Civil disobedience—Ghandi practiced it. Rosa Parks too. The guy in Tianamen Square. All it takes is a steadfast and polite refusal to accept what is, a refusal to accept what other people say cannot be changed. What if we practiced that kind of refusal without retribution, anger, vitriol? What if we said No without shouting, without fists in the air or punches thrown? What if we all said No, repeatedly, spoke the type of No where people might actually listen.
Could we do that?
Could we lie down together, a sea of us, side by side, tips of fingers touching? Walk the road together, miles of us, shoulder to shoulder, in peace? Speak together, our voices one long, collective song? Sit down in simple, massive barricades and refuse point blank to accept the kind of destruction that makes us weep, the kind that could leave us with no planet left to protect?
Could we be so united?
Could we be so calm?
Could we be so wise?
I see, so clearly, the path we could follow. The song we could all hear, the one we could all move our feet to, the steps we could take. All of us, dancing or still. All of us making a difference. It is far, far simpler than we choose to believe.