My husband mocks me, but I love the 90s sci-fi series Babylon 5. To me, it had this amazing thread of a story through all the episodes and adventures.
There were these two warring alien races. They had a phrase…a verbal motif. One said:
Who are you?
The other said:
What do you want?
The show was winding up just as my first marriage was crashing and burning. I was reeling to find myself in an existence that I had never imagined. I was 26 years old, staring in the mirror to say:
“Who are you? What do you want?”
I hear a lot of talk about how we need to protect the earth. Look at this horrifying list of endangered species! And those are just the ones we know about. There are probably dozens or hundreds of creatures that are undiscovered that we are already killing!
I remember learning in grade school about a climax ecosystem. That the earth had the possibility of making plants and supporting animal life to a certain level. All these nutrient resources—water, sunlight, soil, etc.—would combine to create the area’s ecosystem. And the most intense or climactic ecosystem would be a forest, but an area with few resources would be a desert.
We got the idea that the desert could be restored to being a rich jungle ecosystem if we could get the right resources to it. We lived near forest; deserts were not part of my Alaskan landscape.
But it was a concept that there is one end, the super-awesomest, or the existence that there is a best, an ultimate to strive for and achieve.
Like the center stone of the labyrinth.
I feel like the tone of ecology has that same goal. The ‘THAT’ we need to achieve. Save the condors! Save the bugs and weeds and donate and
Keep it the way it was, and spend lots of lots of effort and money and time to keep it or restore it.
Because we know it and love it and respect it. THAT IS WHO THE EARTH IS.
But what does the ecosystem want?
Like the chaos theorist in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”
Life is so destructive, and so diverse. The life that I know best—my own—I know so little of. I am a mess, and I am different every day, even different from morning to night.
Just like everybody else.
As I discovered when I was 26, I better have a lighter grasp of what I am trying to preserve. As much as I wanted to stay in the same story of me being married to the same man my whole life, I realized to preserve that marriage was to destroy me.
My computer has this cool back-up system called Time Machine. It’s great, because if my computer crashes, I can go back to yesterday and grab EVERYTHING that I had saved on my computer that day.
I can pluck a moment of all the work I do on my computer, and call that forward. Maybe my book will have a chapter that I edit and hack at in a horrible way, and when I realize how wrong I was, I can GO BACK IN TIME to the moment before I made my horrible mistake.
It’s a nice safety net.
But my art is not written in stone. You know what? The best is yet to come.
I still don’t know who I am, but there is a lot of stuff I like about me. There is also a lot of stuff I wish I could stop doing. I am becoming and I want to keep on becoming long after I die. If my art and my relationship with the people I love stays on the hearts and minds, I will change and grow forever.
That’s what I want.