by Joke Debaere
I came home after a 3 month journey through South Africa. It was snowing. Friends told me it had been snowing for months – way too long, seen from the average point of view, which made people feel … hungry. For more. Hungry for sun. Spring. And for joy, I guess. Which made me feel … hungry too. For the sun, indeed. But also for a clear answer in our environmental quest.
Is our world now going down to the drain, due to our ‘civilized’ habits, or not? I heard, from several people, that the movements in and on the Pacific Ocean are going slower, due to environmental changes. This would cause the downfall in temperatures, in places like Belgium. Such a sad thing, realizing humans are causing this … I sometimes feel overwhelmed by this kind of information. Then I feel insecure, whether it would still make sense, for instance, to procreate. Knowing we already have too many human beings on this planet, not living in a responsible way …
Or I feel paralyzed, sitting behind my poems and drawings, wondering whether they can really make a difference, seen from the point of vi ew of our most urgent quest: the quest for healing the world. At any rate, whatever the case, I came home, and the snow had covered the heap of paper I had left outside, in my garden. I should have put it in front of my house, before flying to South Africa, so that the garbage service could have taken it with them. But I forgot to do so …
Lucky me! Because now.. the snow.. and the wind.. and the rains.. had turned the handmade postcards I was not happy with and wanted to throw away … into something beautiful. The quality of the paper had survived the storms, which surprised me. The colours I was not happy with, the lines I did not like, they had become old. Almost worn out. And all of the sudden, I did like them. I did !! The first thing I read on one of them, was : “to feel, to look, to find.” On the second one was written “reaching destination” . How all of this seemed to strike a deep chord in me. “To feel, to look, to find.. equals reaching destination.”
It resonated in me like the tones of a majestic crescendo at the end of a beautiful symphony. A friend of me teased me some days ago. He told me : “Ha, Joke! Always looking for an abstract higher order to unite things, aren’t you?” I had to think of that remark, writing all of this down. Yes, maybe my joy, experiencing this ‘postcard process’ has something to do with my deep longing for meaning. To find something which unites all of us. To make sense of all our dark sides, my own shadows included, in a world which often seems so devoid of unifying strengths.
Am I being pessimistic now? Or too melodramatic? I don’t know … Whatever the case. Whatever my motivations may have been, or are. I was happy with the way the postcards looked, after all those months, in the cold and bitter snow. Maybe there is only a metaphor to be found in all of this, for all those who long for such a thing. Maybe it is all relative, indeed, ‘though I don’t think Mother Nature can be treated any longer as if her possibilities are endlessly relative. At a certain point, she will strike back.
Last year, it was 20 degrees in Belgium on this very day. Now maximum temperature raises to 4. It’s up to us … to look, to feel and to find.