Reflections of an Evolving Elder: What Planet Does the Senate Live On?

A dragonfly balances upon a palm frond. (Photo courtesy W. Bostwick)

As the entire world laments the loss of habitat that has wreaked havoc on Homo sapiens, our senators would see the only peaceful green space and wildlife sanctuary we have on St. Thomas turned into an amusement park. Calling for more concessions, our public servants did their predictable bullying and threatening this week because apparently, they think their constituents want nothing more than to raze our own sacred forest – as the COVID-19 ridden president of Brazil has done to his and the rest of the world’s detriment – to provide, in our case, more entertainment options.

The world as we know it is coming to an end while these elected officials talk about dismantling the trusted, mature Magens Bay Authority because the concession doesn’t serve Johnny Cakes.

I always wonder who they are listening to. Who are the lobbyists? I think it is time that we all take a very close look into that question. Who is feeding the dangerous rhetoric, and how and to what end are they doing it?

Self-interest is clearly in the mix. And greed maybe?

The cynicism these elected officials create causes paralysis, which further feeds their belief in this parallel universe they think they live in, where they can say or do whatever they want to feed their own deep self-absorption without repercussions.

When people become overwhelmed by hopelessness, they lose their ability to act, but as we see right now with the Black Lives Matter movement, the debilitation is temporary. Eventually, the people find the fury to rise again and act.

In a Source survey first done in 2011 and then repeated verbatim, eight years later, the top two community concerns our readers expressed changed places. In 2011, rampant violence was the number one concern, public corruption was second. Eight years later it was reversed. What is notable, however, is climate change barely registered either time as a priority.

The grassroots movements and autonomous agencies need to dig in their heels and stand up for the community’s best interest. The entire community – including the non-humans who were here first.

And if there was ever a time that we needed to turn to the true experts, people credentialed and educated to speak on the crucial subjects at hand, it is now. Forget Facebook and the radio talk show “experts for an hour.” Read and listen to rational, fact-based information. Try turning to credible journalism. This is not a time for intellectual laziness. And really, when have we ever had more time to read?

If we are to have any chance of saving ourselves as a community and a species, we have a lot of work to do. And that work begins with integrity, investigation and rigorous honesty.

I believe, having seen it for myself when I first came to the islands in 1967, we can again become a high-end overnight destination and support ourselves at the same time.

As for entertainment in that scenario, it’s already there. Sea turtles, parakeets, spectacular herons, egrets and sweet ground doves. Then there are the common moorhens, native frogs, and then back to the sea, rays, nurse sharks, parrotfish and dolphins.

And the trees. A walk out at Tropaco Point at dusk becomes a breathing portrait of a sparkling multicolored sea bathed in a mist of red-hued Flamboyant blossoms.

We have been given a Holy gift by God – and in the case of Magens Bay, Arthur Fairchild – and we are charged with protecting it. These aliens would like nothing more than to cover it with more cement – to seal the deals with their “lobbyists” and feed their mysterious and fatally misguided agendas.

As we talk about white supremacy let us also talk about human supremacy. They are aligned. If we have learned nothing from the current pandemic, we are clearly destined to repeat it. I am pretty sure it will repeat itself anyway … and sooner or later, our human supremacy will be a hazy memory. We will never win this one. We should know by now that when we wrestle with nature we always lose.

Those of us who have lived through several high category storms will recall the morning after effect. What Mother Nature has wrought indeed leaves an otherworldly, barren landscape. Total destruction. Not a speck of green anywhere; it may as well be the moon.

And those of us who stayed will also recall the miracle of the first buds brushing the hillsides with green as they are finding life again.

My first trip to Magens Bay after the beaches reopened in May after the Easter panic was like entering Jurassic Park. Herons swooped over the treetops, parakeet chatter was joyfully deafening for the first time in maybe years. What was once two eggs in a nest perched precariously on a branch dangerously close to the bridge over the small mangrove lagoon had become two baby green herons. Life overflowed, soothing, once again, my weary, world-worn soul.

One bay to the west, where I live, word spread, a mother leatherback turtle had taken the absence of people at Hull Bay as an opportunity to lay her eggs there for the first time ever. Without us there, she sensed safety. I watched as people protected her babies by thinking better of cordoning off the area. One person said to my horror, that they feared the theft of the eggs. Who does that?


Leave them to their own orbit. Don’t engage with them. Waste no more time listening to meaningless posturing. Make haste in addressing the most important issue we face, protecting nature and turning the tide of climate change. Act as if our lives depend on waging peace with and protecting every living thing. Because it does.