Mariner hasn’t seen Chicken Little in a while. He doesn’t come out of the henhouse. Inside, he sits trembling and wears a World War I army helmet. By his side are prayer beads, a prayer rug, a few wicks to light a candle, a ready-to-leave motor scooter and an AR-15.
Chicken Little suffers a malady that many suffer in today’s world: There is no lee. Lee is a sailing term that references the side of the boat away from the wind; it also references any place where safety may be had as a storm approaches. Today, the world offers little in the way of a lee.
There have always been storms, even really disruptive ones that change how the world and its biosphere survive. What is notable today is that everything is changing at once; there is no anchor to hold onto. Religion is adrift; nuclear war lurks in the shadows; the weather is changing; seas are rising onto the land; governments are becoming dysfunctional as global resources dwindle; a worldwide virus is killing hundreds of thousands all over the world; violence and militarism spread as if they were a virus; new technology threatens ancient behavioral norms; the Earth itself seems unsure about the future. Where is a lee? Where is a big tree that one can tie to while the storm of change threatens?
Mariner may sound like a naïve romantic when he suggests that the entire human race has nothing to cling to except itself. It may be that clinging to fellow humans may be the only lee available – such as it is. Take note that everywhere in the world that conflict and destructive behavior exists, things get a lot worse, not better. Are there any among us who would prefer to live in Syria, Belarus, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, or Ukraine? Does anyone look forward to living in Burundi, Eretria or Sudan where it is as likely to die from starvation as it is to live into adulthood?
If the United States is not careful, it will cast aside its humanity, its economy and even its sovereignty as it willingly moves toward social conflict and separatism. Everyone is stressed by the rapid transition from the relative comfort of the 1900s to the undefined, unsympathetic future of the 2000s. An accelerant in the nation’s move toward mistrust and violence is its President, Donald Trump. Donald is a Romanesque throwback to the times when abusive narcissists rose to power through division and unscrupulous behavior.
It is a common word in the news today and often a call to arms in its own right: The word is ‘unity’. The lee, that tree to tie one’s self to is one another. It is quite easy to say, “I’ve got your back if you need me (even though your politics are different). At the moment, given that diversity doesn’t continue to grow, words of conflict are simply words. Set them aside. What is left is sharing; pass it forward; compassion – and survival.