all ships are sinking…or, my plan to change the world

by tobias crabtree

i’ve spent time on several boats. i lived on a sail boat for six months. i’ve had more than one captain tell me that all boats are sinking. even in million dollar yachts the bilge pumps must run; old wooden boats sink quicker. today i went by a boat that some workers were trying to bring up from the bottom of the bay with barrels full of air. and so it is that even the most sea worthy vessels must be maintained or they will be lost. a good boat can sink.

i heard an astronaut named edgar mitchell talking about orbiting the moon. along with his words there was video of some of the things he saw from his window on the apollo spacecraft back in 1968. he’s an old man now but there, in the apollo, he was young with a strong jaw and sparkly eyes. i’ll not forget what he said; it was eloquent and profound.

“…so every 2 minutes a picture of the earth, the moon, the sun and a 360 degree panorama of the heavens appeared in the spacecraft window…and i had studied astronomy and cosmology and fully understood that the molecules in my body and in my partners’ bodies and in the spacecraft, had been prototyped in some ancient generation of stars; in other words, it was pretty obvious, from those descriptions, that we are stardust.”

edgar’s words are even better when they are spoken from his wrinkled, old face. there is something in his eyes…something that is humble. he was humbled by what he saw and his tone of reverence for this big blue world bleeds out of his description of that trip. i know people who don’t think we ever landed on the moon. i don’t argue about that stuff but i loved hearing from someone who spoke with teary eyes about this planet.

now, i’m no hippie. i don’t ride bandwagons. i find enough fault in myself to worry too much about pointing my finger in other peoples’ faces; but something must change. i gotta say something because i swim in the ocean and i climb on the cliffs and i run in the woods and i sleep under the stars. i want to see people see themselves as creatures on a planet that is alive. i can’t look at the people on the television screen fighting over who wore what to which party without being angry at myself, angry at us!  i am talking about us living, breathing, thinking human beings. and, for crying out loud, stop it with the “reality” bullshit on t.v….please stop. we’ve got some problems here; there’s birds and fish dying from all the plastic we spew out everywhere, there’s bad air, there’s bad water, there’s endless fighting. i mean, come on! i hate talking about it but i hate seeing it even more. so here we go, let’s do something. (don’t worry i’m not gonna ask for cash)

i don’t want to rant without having answers, so here’s my list of things i think will change our direction (this is for everyone and doesn’t change according to tax bracket or political affiliation or country or color or language or religion or taste in music or shoes):

consume less. learn to know the soil. plant plants. treat water like you love it because you should because you would die without it. drink water. respect other species and give them their due space so they might have some privacy to mate and sing and grieve and argue and create. YOU go dance and sing and grieve and mate and argue and create. drive less, ride your bike more. fix old things. allow love, period. learn to make fire with two sticks(i’m not joking, i did). look at one another, like, look at one another and notice one another…we need to do this, goddamnit! put your phones down for a second. smile and breathe in better air because we are riding our bikes more. don’t let little pieces of plastic float in the ocean…go get them, the swim will do you good and you will go back and swim more (because there’s always more floating pieces of plastic). be mindful of how to make less impact; you can figure out better ways, you really can.  look for beautiful rocks on a river bank or at the seashore, pick a small one up and take it home with you so you can remember what you did. laugh out loud, don’t lol. go to a good place that has good people and feel good. make tiny improvements to the world everyday…after time a little will add up to a lot.

edgar saw it from a space ship, i see it from here–this place is our home, our beautiful glowing blue-green ball of life; let’s treat it good. if you need more motivation than this, i can take you there. i know some places that will break your heart. i know some places that will restore your soul. it’s all around us… just like stardust.