So…… in spite of my best intentions I have not posted in quite a while. No excuse really, just a nagging sense that things are spiraling into a new epoch of destruction that threatens to break my heart. The everydayness of catastrophe steals the words from my very mouth.
I have been reading books about everyday life, the power of conversation and photography (two of my favorite pastimes), and walking to heal life’s deep hurts. (One of the books was about photography and writing as healing.)
The theme of walking has a peculiar kind of resonance as I have arrived at that post-polio juncture where walking has rather done in my legs and has now become challenging. I find myself puzzled by the number of books that praise walking and the near total absence of books that speak to not being able to walk, yet wanting access to the non-man made world.
The thing is that the trails and relative wilderness remain, if under threat, but very few are accessible to the non-walker, or those of us who can still travel afoot a bit if the trail is kind. Here and there an organization has put in boardwalks but they are often too uneven for a scooter and too narrow for crutches. It is as if those of us with mobility concerns are just not terribly important in the greater scheme of things.
I guess I should not be surprised. Society creates disability through practices that deny accessibility. I am continually amazed at how one simple step up can deny one entry into a desired destination. As I become more reliant on a scooter or power chair, these small obstacles become larger and more limiting, and the lack of enforcement of existing laws governing accessibility becomes more glaring.
Often the personal and the global intersect. The privatization of the commons and the destruction of habitat are disabling for one group or species or another, are both forms of systematic exclusion. I often get the sense that only a small portion of people care that species decline or die out simply because they have no where to live, or that other folks are removed from the social sphere by systemic practices of exclusion.
Clearly, unless society acts now we will soon find that as resources are used up and the temperatures warm to levels no creature can endure, we will all be increasingly disabled and excluded form the natural world. Those of us with disability are simple the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.