Crowded beaches

We were nervous about going to the beach. All that noise about Bournemouth and crowds , the parking, the litter. And yet, here we were, at our regular dog walking spot and lots of space.

There’s something uplifting about the sea as it meets the beach. The grandeur, the colours, the space, all add to the experience and lift our spirits. They lift mine anyway. A little like standing on the summit of a Lake District peak – Blencathra perhaps – but with less of a sense of accomplishment.

I’m very conscious of how lucky I am to be able to access the sea so easily, and the Downs, and, in normal times, the Lakes and Dales. When the world is in a mess and those in charge seem incapable of appropriate action – unsuited, in some cases, for any kind of public office – standing here is a reminder of good fortune but also of the threats which face us. Threats which are in danger of getting lost in the immediacy of the current crisis. A timely reminder, for me at least, that we can’t afford to ignore the longer term, but much bigger, threat posed by the climate emergency.

As lockdown eases, then tightens, and uncertainties abound, my summer resolution is to keep the longer term firmly in mind. It matters.

The thing is

The thing is
it’s getting hotter – not only that but there’s a lot 
of storms and floods and forest fires.

The thing is
we need to understand, 
stop burying our heads in desert sand 
where once were trees.
The thing is, 
pay some attention.

The ‘thing’
too frightening for a word or phrase – 
call it extinction, call it disaster.
We’ve gone too far for sticking plaster 
and we need some positive thinking, 
so while the polar ice is shrinking 
and islands beneath the sea are sinking 
solutions must be found; 
not only that
to save the planet before we’re fried,
to save the guillemot, and the frog, 
the creatures of the marsh and bog, 
the file fish, the dolphin, the polar bear, 
the giraffe, the monarch butterfly, 
their habitats, their food supply.

The thing. Is.
Is the crux on which our future rests
Is the time to show us at our best
Is the throw of the dice we cannot lose
Is the road less travelled we need to choose
Is the narrow bridge across the abyss
Is the choice to make now
for this
is the moment that determines our fate
when we have to act
before it’s too late.

The thing is

Tony Earnshaw

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