Sunday, February 19, 2012

Letter #2 to my unborn son

Darling boy,

We are in week 26 of our journey together, the start of the third trimester, and you will arrive in 12 to 13 weeks.  For silly reasons of my own I am hoping that you arrive after May 20th, though that may change as you grow larger and the rigors of pregnancy take their toll.

In the past three weeks my body has changed significantly. I definitely have a belly now, and I notice it most when I'm out for a walk. I have to ask your father to slow down now, because when I try to keep up with him I get a cramp :) As each day goes by I am able to exert myself less without cramps or aches. I notice it most when I'm working in the garden. Even with tools I'm having to take things easy, and I can't assume that I'll be able to do as much from one day to the next. I'm staying as active as I can without risking our safety.

Most days it feels like Spring, which is good, because I'm not feeling as chilled as I was just a few weeks ago. The primroses I planted last year are re-blooming, and the red cyclamen are still growing strong. They are the same color of red as the front door. I've noticed that the wisteria has dozens of flower buds that seem to be swelling a little bit every day. The jasmine are really growing, and the scented rose is leafing out. The plum tree in back is just starting to show it's white blossoms, and in a few weeks, so will the peach tree. The lemon verbena is putting out some leaves now. I'd feared it died in last month's unusual chill. I love the lemon smell and once it is strong again, I'll transplant it into the same flower bed as the rosemary and lavender bushes. I've also got a bird-of-paradise plant to put in between the bottle-brush tree and the mandarin tree at the edge of the patio. In a few years it's orange and red and blue flowers will tie-in the colors of the two trees, and fill the space between them with beautiful foliage. I hope you'll inherit my love of plants, and help me in the garden as you grow.

Hopefully by the end of February the work at the front of the house will be done. We're putting in irrigation and replacing the 60 year old lawn. When that work is done I'll be planting hostas, ferns and astilbe in the flowerbed under the living room windows, and the weeping cherry blossom trees will be planted at the yard's edge, near the sidewalk. In late March your grandfather on your father's side will be coming to stay for a bit, and we'll work on the side yard together. The gravel that was put in by the previous owners is black with sharp edges--pretty enough, but it's not safe for you--and we'll replace it with pavers, thus extending the patio area into a space that will be cool and shady on warm summer afternoons.

Sleeping is becoming more of a challenge, which isn't unexpected. It's a struggle to sleep on my side. I'm constantly waking up on my back with tingly nerve feelings in my legs. I am grateful for the tempurpedic bed, because otherwise I'd be sore and sleepless most of the time.

I'm trying not to obsess too much about the world you're being born into, and I'm trying not to let the sadness, anger, and despair I sometimes feel stick around for too long. I know that the biochemical soup you're swimming in can be affected by my stress, and thus affects you.

The world is in a sorry state, though. Carbon dioxide emissions have jumped tremendously, beyond the worst-case scenarios of many scientists. The oceans are acidifying because of carbon dioxide build-up, and the glaciers and polar ice are melting far more rapidly than predicted. When the rest of the world appears to be in agreement that we all need to limit CO2 emissions and wean off oil, the US, dominated as it is by oil-company-interests and lobbyists, seems determined to believe that we're the smart ones and the rest of the world has been suckered by a hoax (roll eyes). Here in the States we've picked up the pace of natural gas extraction using techniques called "fracking", techniques that pump millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground to liberate the gas. The problem is, it's polluting ground-water, and drinking water is already in short supply world-wide. How terribly short-sighted of us.

Southern Europe is in a financial crises, and seeing as Italy accounts for nearly 20% of the GDP for the EU, it cannot be allowed to fail. However, the corrupt politicians and even more corrupt mafia are making people extremely reluctant to co-operate with austerity measures. Greece is on fire, literally. The people of Greece are protesting the way the world banks and the European Union are handling that nation's debt crisis -- a problem created with the help of Goldman Sachs, who helped Greece's politicians conceal it's debts so it could get into the EU in the first place.

I'm not sure what the Internet is going to look like for you when you're old enough to use it. Powerful lobbies are at work to make it easier to monetize media traffic and invade people's privacy in the name of copyright and IP protection. Between that and the increasing amount of money that corporations are pouring into PACs which influence the political landscape, I half-fear that Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash will be far more prophetic than any of us will like. Will you come into adulthood living in a corporate enclave in a corporate town policed by corporate security in an America in which the line between the haves and have-nots is sharply delineated?  Or will you grow up in Canada, your father's homeland, because we had to flee the insanity here in the US?  I don't know, but more and more it is looking like it may be a necessary option.

Everywhere in the world there is ideological oppression of one sort or another. Right now in the US women's rights are being targeted by politicians on the Right, hoping somehow to invigorate their conservative Christian base to get out and vote in November. The Republicans are having their primaries and caucuses right now, and it looks like less than 5% of eligible voters are actually showing up at the polls. I think all the negative super-PAC ads and attacks are alienating all voters, regardless of party. And I'm not sure this is accidental. It is in corporate interests to keep voter participation to a minimum. It is easier to control for a smaller electorate than a large, active one. It costs them less money to buy votes and politicians that way, and they've a much better chance of making sure things go their way.

Currently we're embroiled in a health care debate over whether or not employers should be required to provide health insurance that covers prescription contraceptives. The argument is it violates the freedom of religion in this country. The irony is that the Founding Fathers weren't concerned with preserving religious freedom from government interference. They were concerned about keeping religion OUT of government. Most of them were Deists, and most of them were appalled by the control that the various religious sects exerted over their congregations, cities, counties, and even states.  The Christians of a couple of hundred years ago were not shy about running people out of town if they weren't of the same denomination, and weren't shy about trying to expand theocracy, which the Founding Fathers considered antithetical to their Enlightenment-Period beliefs and values. But most Americans are woefully ignorant of what happened yesterday, never mind what happened 200 or 300 years ago. Most are sheeple who are willing to believe what someone else spoon-feeds them, as long as it is dressed up to suit their ideological bent. It's sad, and discouraging, and frankly, disgusting.

But for all that, I am hopeful. I'm looking for ways to make the world a better place for you.  I'm working on developing community in our neighborhood. I'm planting fruits and vegetables on our property and helping in Rachel's community garden. I'm looking at ways to develop and expand the Green Economy. I envision a world in which people live in harmony with the planet. A world in which every person lives a sustainable lifestyle and every company does business in a sustainable way. I believe it is possible for humanity to leap toward a new level of consciousness that unites, rather than divides us. If I didn't think it was possible to turn the tide of the world toward such things, I could not bring you into it. I hope when the time comes that you're self-aware and world-aware that you won't hate the older generations for what we've done, and what we've failed to do. I hope, I really hope, to make this a better world for you.


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