Climate Change

My Heart said ‘Most Certainly’

The last few weeks had me walking on eggshells. I found myself confronted by some old demons and my resilience put to the test. I was edgy and irascible. Frankly speaking, I was giving leeway to my irrational self. My irrational self is a pessimist and a hopeless case.
18 Jun 2022 21:58
My Heart said ‘Most Certainly’
A rare Morning Glory found on the park’s beach front.

The last few weeks had me walking on eggshells.  I found myself confronted by some old demons and my resilience put to the test. I was edgy and irascible. Frankly speaking, I was giving leeway to my irrational self. My irrational self is a pessimist and a hopeless case.

I was burdened by worries and one that particularly gnawed at me was economics, the destructive and industrialised version of it. Capitalism was knocking at the park’s door again, coupled with a sudden management change in our organisation. It’s the capitalism bit that had me worried, because like us, the park too is subjected to the laws (and whims) of man.

The ranger team have been pressured too, by recurring human irresponsibility and its flow-on effects. It seemed to have gotten worse and the daily reports really got me irked. I could almost taste the frustrations off the rangers. It’s times like these, I sometimes wish I had a magic red button.

And to add more salt to the wound, our furry mammalian residents haven’t return to the park for over a month now. Where the hell have our bats gone? It’s a serious matter and puts into question our care of the park and everything that it represents.

We had rough seas after rough seas. I noticed a few of our beach tepees coming undone by the unusually big waves that made their way to shore, right past the high tide mark. Our foredunes took lashings after lashings. Their injuries carved deeply into the sand as escarpments.

I found clumps of bird feathers with residues of dry blood, on two of our forest tracks. Good evidence of predation. The culprit, a feral cat because one has been seen in the area. I recalled a story shared by a New Zealand ranger a few years ago, about how a cat had devastated a whole forest ecosystem. This one was a headache, but in time, I know it will become a severe migraine if left unchecked.

I wasn’t in a good head space these last few weeks. The monkeypox virus, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, our upcoming election, the higher prices of goods and services now, the forecasted recession in the US, the unfair treatment of fruit pickers in Australia, the new workload for myself and the rangers, my family’s recent scare with Covid-19 and some personal life drama, they wreaked havoc in my head.

I felt like a mole in water trying to burrow but finding no grip. Maybe this affliction affects people like me, sensitive to the world around us. I love the empathetic part about myself as it helps me connect to people and places. But this time around my sensitivity- normally my superpower- got me into some trouble. I lost touch with reality momentarily.

The world was suddenly a scary place. I felt its whole weight on my shoulders. I wanted to run away. I told myself I could simply walk away and live a quieter life. A life where I don’t have to chase stray animals, deal with annoying humans, fight climate change, save our dunes and constantly, remind everyone to live in harmony with Mother Nature. I almost did walk away.

Ancient pottery sherds exposed on the big dunes.

Ancient pottery sherds exposed on the big dunes.

Back Into The Light

However, Mother Nature was not ready to let me go. In her quiet and nurturing way, she gently nudged me back into the light. And all she had to do was get me to walk around the park. So, I walked and as I walked, I reflected.

I started as always from the stable portion of the dunes, covered in grasslands and patches of shrubbery and forests. As I navigated the familiar tracks, I was reminded of the multitude of lives that call the dunes home. The lives that depend on the rangers and I doing our job. A responsibility not for the faint of heart. I touched my heart and asked if this was what it really wanted. My heart said, ‘most certainly’.

I walked on. This time leaving the stable dunes and climbing onto the big, undulating dunes. This part has always been otherworldly for me. I wondered if the many people who treaded on the dunes had similar thoughts. My eyes were reminded of how imposing and beautiful the dunes were, but also how fragile it is.

It’s why we must protect the dunes. A responsibility not for the faint of heart. I touched my heart and asked if this was what it really wanted. My heart said, ‘most certainly’.

I left the big dunes and its panoramic views behind and headed down towards the shore. As I walked, I treaded careful because I was approaching ancient ground, evidenced by the many shattered pottery sherds on the surface. People once lived here. I picked up one of the sherds and in my mind, conjured a possible history of its maker.

As I returned the sherd, I was reminded that we are where we are today, because these people existed. Therefore, our history must be preserved. A responsibility not for the faint of heart. I touched my heart and asked if this was what it really wanted. My heart said, ‘most certainly’.

As I headed back to base along the shore, I watched with earnest as the waves crashed onto the shore. No two waves were the same. Each one had an impact but lost its power soon after and returned to the sea. I was reminded that the work we do at the park has its many challenges, each one like the waves that run ashore.

They test our resilience. The work we do requires some serious grit. A responsibility not for the faint of heart. I touched my heart and asked if this was what it really wanted. My heart said, ‘most certainly’.

As I exited the beach, I looked backed upon the many driftwood tepees and admired their tenacity. They were made by many hands. And the tepees, as far as I could see, were serving their purpose well. They demonstrated our adaptability.

I was reminded that the future ahead is not smooth sailing and would need some risk taking.  A responsibility not for the faint of heart. I touched my heart and asked if this was what it really wanted. My heart said, ‘most certainly’.

And as I turned and faced the dunes again, I knew my worries were just that, worries. And what tomorrow has in store, we don’t know but that shouldn’t limit us.

I believe with some grit, heart, and mindfulness we can get through anything. A good friend once said to me, ‘Dunes are like sponges – they remember us, our intentions, and our hopes and dreams. We respond to the Dunes and the Dunes respond to us.’

I most certainly got a response!

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