Obey gravity. It’s the law.

May 18, 2014 § 6 Comments

Defying gravity with Marc Chagall.As kids we thought that with a little magic, like  pinning a super-cape (a.k.a. a towel) around our shoulders, the law of gravity became negotiable.

My sister Claudia, pumping hard, launched her tricycle off our high brick stoop.

At seven, my future husband nailed two boards together, straddled his airplane and took flight from the barn loft.

In both cases, gravity applied.

Humans are magical thinkers.

We choose what is real, as if in order for something to exist, we have to believe in it. As if, without our belief a law becomes a suggestion, something without force or consequence.

We are capable of denying the existence of the elephant in the room even if it is as big as the Holocaust or evolution.

Our wishful thinking turns us away from things that require us to take action. It renders us deaf, dumb and blind.

Want to know a train is coming? Put an ear to the rail. Hear a hum, and somewhere down the track is a whole lot of steel headed your way.

You can get used to the drone note as that train approaches, attribute it to something else, or ignore it, but if you fail to lift your head you’re dead whether you believed in the train or not.

We are about to be hit by the predictable outcome of the collective activities of human beings on this closed biosphere that is our planet. Among those outcomes is climate change.

Our meadow.

But wait–the jury is still out on that, isn’t it?


We are in an era in which magical thinking is given equal time with hard science under the guise of being “fair and balanced.”

The representative of the 97% of scientists who assert that climate change is reaching the tipping point speaks opposite the representative of the 3% who still have doubts, one voice for each side.

We can go with the doubters, pin our super-capes to our shoulders and jump–but the laws of the natural world still apply.

Go ahead, stamp your foot–this is so not fair!

We’re taking the rap for the choices and actions of all the conveniently dead who messed up before us.

But the train is so close, so close. and if we go on with our fanciful doubts and our willful inaction the human generations that come after us, and all the races not human, who did nothing to get us into this will pay.

What do we do? What do we do? (As I write this I see Henny Penny running in circles declaring that the sky is falling).

Sadly, folks, it is.

Significant help can only come from scientific breakthroughs and courageous public policy, but that doesn’t exempt us from doing something. You and I can live smaller. Conserve. Plant a garden. Drive less. We can demand that those who spin the news treat us like adults.

What is cannot be changed by denial or Fox News. The train is coming.

Maybe we begin by accepting that truth. Like gravity, it applies to all of us, whether we believe in it or not. And then we roll up our sleeves.

Note: Thank you for reading this post–now, go outside. Breathe deep. Stare up into the trees, then look down at the beetle walking in the grass–life going about its business. Such a beautiful planet. 

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§ 6 Responses to Obey gravity. It’s the law.

  • craig reeder says:

    I am going to print this out and mail it to Marco Rubio!


  • KM Huber says:

    I do feel like Henny Penny a lot these days but when the world of people is “too much with me,” I, too, take to nature to get as far away from “us” as possible. It is as if I am flooding my memory with the days before the sky fell. Maybe I am. And with that thought, I am out the door for another moment to enjoy life “going about its business.”


    • I don’t know why, but for me if I walk the neighborhood looking up into the trees, watching the patches of sky through leaves and branches a surreal calm comes over me–and I have yet to fall over anything, although it is always a possibility.


  • April D Penton says:

    Wow! Fabulous and so right on- We must each do something- but the train is still coming and I fear too many heads are down on that track.


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