Comforting Thoughts

Posted by Edith Cook on Friday, October 5, 2012 Under: Personal
Two of my brothers took their own lives; the third perished at a young age in repetition of our mother's early death of cancer. I might not call their cancers virtual suicide--but it certainly wasn't life-affirming. Not surprisingly, I myself have struggled periodically with thoughts of doing myself in. The most recent of these episodes occurred a few years ago when I was struck with what seemed an irremediable health problem. At the time, life seemed an endless chain of listless days of languor.

These days I write about climate change and the dire prospects for the immediate future in the American West and Southwest, but now I am more determined than ever to keep myself alive as a support system for others. 

"I read your column with amazement," writes a reader and personal acquaintance from Cheyenne on my most recent piece. "I'd love to learn more . . . " This column consisted of a personal essay meant to provide variety on the unbearable theme of humanity's harsh days ahead. Unfortunately, the editor composed a dorky title. It was a reminiscence brought about by an unexpected lovely dream. 

Soon I'll compose a column that discusses observations by Richard Dawkins, the well-known British evolutionary biologist. In The Ancestor's Tale he writes that humanity is "little more than the fancy froth on the surface of bacterial life." Bacteria existed long before the arrival of plants and animals and they will continue long after we are gone. When humanity has managed to destroy the resources that allow big animals like us to survive, which may be sooner than we want to admit, life will continue at the microbial level. A coldly comforting thought.

In : Personal 

About Me

Edith Cook Though I now live in Wyoming, I make frequent return trips to California with visits to travel club members along the way. At home I play classical guitar, enjoy gardening and cooking, and participate in group yoga. Getting together with family and friends is high on my agenda. I value people who write or make music and love it when my adult children and their offspring play their instruments, sing songs with me, or discuss what they read and write. Such gatherings help me cope with the losses in my life, which have been severe. Next year I hope to visit family in Germany.



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