Alternate Histories: 5/24, 4/12


[Small girls to whom I gave a snapping turtle card and a blue cohosh card yesterday]

Can we use your chalk?


 [They take it into the park and start drawing. Later they’re joined by 2 other girls, around the same age. Later still, girls and chalk are nowhere to be seen. I mentally bid farewell to chalk. A man comes up and we start talking.]

I don’t know that there’s anything we can do to help. We try to think as human beings that we have control over certain things, but we really don’t.

I think we’re talking about different things. I’m talking about like, if there was bad flooding, would you give someone a ride in your car?

No. I’d like to say I’d like to help all these people, but I think when it’s in complete survival mode, it gets to be every man for himself.

So you don’t think people depend on each other.

No, I do think people depend on each other … It’s something that needs looking into, and we’re not doing enough about it. There’s enough methane on the ocean floor–you know about this? What happens when the ocean warms up and releases that methane into the atmosphere? It’ll be a global catastrophe that–[he looks over and sees the girls drawing within earshot]–we’ll all be in trouble.

[About an hour later, one of the original girls brings the box back, chalk sticks well used.]



It is the responsibility of adults not to frighten children.

We talk about the ocean floor, like it’s the floor of a house, but it’s a field.

Around the methane vents deep in the sea, the methanophilic bacteria are at pasture, transforming what’s available to them into what they need.

The floor of a house is also a field, shared, full of inhabitants.

A human can’t throw his body in front of a methane vent, between a pair of children and a methane vent. If R throws his body between a pair of children and, say, a prime minister, who’ll be wise enough to see the line between them, to calculate the trajectory, to understand what he intersects, what he wants to interrupt?

What kind of present do you want for your children?

The methanophilic bacteria would be so happy, fat and full if the methane in the oceans emerged. It would be a rich time for them. Sometimes you have to choose who will get what they want.

Those children weren’t even R’s children, but he wanted something for them.

The best way to not scare someone is to get rid of the things that scare them.

Yes, and while we’re doing that, we can also teach them how to be scared. To be while scared. To not be frozen.


One thought on “Alternate Histories: 5/24, 4/12

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: Reflections on Week 4 | climateanxietycounseling

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