We awoke this morning to the chatter of birds and the fiddling of crickets, a good way to wake! The sky is overcast; a west breeze moves through the house, ruffling papers. It picks up a few loose sheets and deposits them on the floor.
This was a week of more record heat and the week-to-come promises unseasonable warmth. The question these days is what constitutes “seasonal” in a time of rapid climate change? No one seems to have an answer.
This week I found myself reminded of a departed teacher’s insistence that we are each a product of our times, that we do our best, and that things are simply “as they are”. I suspect he was right, that we each do our best given the conditions we find ourselves inheriting. Sometimes the outcome is less than we had hoped.
The idea that we are each somehow doing our best suggests many questions, notably, “What about truly bad behavior?” “How are we to assign responsibility if even the worst acts arise from an individual’s attempts to do their best?” Surely, if we are each truly doing our best given the initial conditions of our births, we are served by maintaining a degree of kindness, generosity, and forgiveness towards ourselves and others.
As I write, I wonder: as we collective find ourselves in challenging times, how do we find a way forward that allows for radical change while being kind and generous? I find it odd to think that perhaps even that question must arise from the initial conditions of my being. I also strive to remember that initial conditions are subject to chance and may not determine final outcomes, and take heart in that.