Are you waiting for success to arrive, or are you going out to find where it is hiding?
The poet John Milton’s words, “They also serve who only stand and wait,” may be both profound and genuine, but the true riches of life are far more likely to accrue to those who actively go out and seek them. Seldom does success come marching in accompanied by a brass band in full regalia. More often, it’s achieved by those who labor long and hard. Take the initiative, and you will create your own opportunities. There is no substitute for action backed up by a well-thought-out plan....Napoleon Hill
At the risk of wading into a political firestorm, let's talk about the West Coast wildfires for today's Sunday with Sisson.
In 2018, my Malibu house was damaged in the Woolsey Fire. Came right up to the property line, and made it to the backyard the first night. My daughter was staying in the house and had no idea of the extent because the TV and internet were out. I had to call her from Miami to get the hell out after seeing live footage of 30 foot flames on the TV and my house in the background. We thought we were good, but the next night, flying embers from a half mile away caught our house on fire and did extensive damage. Scary stuff.
There had been other fires in the past. Too many close calls. Among many other reasons, that's why I left for Miami.
And now, once again, fire is burning up and down the west coast. It seems worse than ever.
What's going on here?
Is it climate change?
Is it forest mismanagement?
Is it both? That's where I lean. California is a Mediterranean climate. It's dry. It's got hot summers. Much of it is supposed to be desert. And before the advent of industrialization, up to 12 million acres of California burned every year. Historical accounts often mention the smoky skies. This year in California? 3 million. We used to have tons of fires. Naturally occurring ones that couldn't be stopped by nonexistent wildfire fighting teams with engines and airplanes and technology. They just burned the vulnerable foliage.
For the past century, we've waged all out war on forest fires and had a zero tolerance policy. At the same time, we haven't done the controlled burns that fire management experts have recommended. We've allowed our forests to grow beyond their "natural" carrying capacity.
And then you've got the incredibly warm, dry weather making it worse. Turning all that unmanaged forest into a tinderbox. It's no wonder everything appears to be on fire.
Whatever it is, it comes down to living apart from and in opposition to nature and erecting a dam in an attempt to hold back the tides of nature from overtaking us. That builds up a lot of pressure, and the pressure is relieving itself. Just like it happens to a person who tries to deny their ancient human nature with processed food and sedentary living, it always comes back to bite you.
The whole thing is tragic. No individual is to blame. No one organization or governing body is to blame. Hell, not even the "current day" is to blame. This is a problem that's been a long time coming. This is the worst kind of tragedy: a preventable one that you can't pin down on a single person or group of people.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this, and I hope we can use this to make better decisions about our forests and our environment in the future.
I'd love to hear your takes on this, folks, in the comment section of Weekly Link Love.
Have a great week....Mark Sisson
As the pandemic has dragged on, you’ve probably found yourself asking one question, over and over again, to anyone who will listen—even to yourself: What day is it? It’s a simple question, but also a very revealing one.
With less travel, with no meetings, and, for many of us, not even a commute to work, time and place seem to have slowed down or merged. The week and weekend blur, the hours both drag and go by in an instant, all is one. We’re like that character in the new movie Palm Springs, trapped in some sort of space continuum, where every day is the same day on repeat.
And while this may seem miserable, you may also find yourself coming almost to enjoy it, as the character in that movie did. Is it really so bad to spend all this time with your family? Is it really so bad to live a quieter, slower life? Yes, it’s costing you money, it’s cancelling plans, it’s disrupting so much…and yet like all things that go on long enough, with time even this distress has become muted, if not downright pleasant.
Perhaps it was this very feeling that Marcus Aurelius was referring to in Meditations as he reflected on both the current moment, going through a plague, and the decades of his youth, waiting to become emperor:
“Everything has always been the same,” he said, “and keeps recurring, and it makes no difference whether you see the same things recur in a hundred years or two hundred, or in an infinite period…that the longest-lived and those who will die soonest lose the same thing. The present is all that they can give up, since that is all you have, and what you do not have you cannot lose.”
It didn’t matter whether you lived to be 40 or 400, Marcus reminded us, every day was the same. It was all the same in the end.
So yes, this whole thing is strange and surreal. It’s at times terrifying and not without its heartbreaks. But it also just is. Each day we wake up and face another day. Whether it will mark our 90th day in quarantine or the start of 90 more, who can say? And what does it matter? Today is what is in front us, whatever day of the week that happens to be. It can be wonderful and it can be enough. If we choose. ... The Daily Stoic
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