I’m resigning. I no longer want to be a climate change warrior. The weight is too heavy. It makes my shoulders sag and my heart hurt. I can’t get enough people to listen and take action. The storms keep intensifying, the fires burn hotter and still people turn away. I want to turn away! I want to dig my feet into the sand and get lost in a five-hundred page novel.
I’m inclined to blame my change of heart on my sister’s death. It would be easy enough to do. For much of the last four months I slept on a thin foam pad on the floor of her home-office turned bedroom. I watched her skin turn yellow and her spirit dwindle. I didn’t listen to the news once. We were too busy, not being busy. We sat together on her couch and stared at the snow-covered pines. We made chocolate chip cookies with extra chocolate chips. I lived in a cocoon and forgot about the mean-spirited world and the immensity of suffering.
I had one thing on my mind. My sister. Her last days. Our time together. I cooked for her, vacuumed her living room and shoveled the snow off the stairs. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we didn’t. In the evenings, we crawled into her bed and watched This Is Us. On her last day, surrounded by family, I held the cup up to her mouth as she drank the potion that ferried her into another world. The days and weeks changed me. I don’t know how. I just know they did.
But the truth is, even before my sister got sick, I started to wrestle with the self-imposed moniker, Climate Change Warrior. Her death was an accelerant. Like a strong wind on smoldering embers.
They say, ‘don’t quit your job, move out of the country or join the circus after your sister dies.’ Wait at least a year. But I’m not going to wait.
I’m resigning. I don’t want to call myself a climate change warrior anymore.
I don’t know what’s next.
But I do know I want to keep writing. I want to write about my sister and how hard it was for her to be on this earth. I want to write about the painted ladies flying North, purple lupine on the hillside and the scarlet hummingbird outside my window. I want to write about how hard it is to quiet my mind in the jangle of this city. I want to write about everyday stuff.
Like climate change.