Middle Times


The official first day of spring 2015 was Friday, March 20.  On March 31 in Michigan, jonquils with buds ready to bloom, were blanketed with snow. That is not really so very unusual during a Michigan March.  However, having experienced the warmth of several above average days after many bitter ones, the image of snow on buds, though beautiful,  may be less than welcome for many..

On a larger scale, weather worldwide is experiencing a transition, a middle time, much more profound. On March 19 of this year, weather.com reported that though it was a very cold winter in the middle and eastern United States, "the Northern Hemisphere also saw its warmest winter on record. This was due to widespread above-average temperatures in western North America, Europe and Asia. NOAA says that record warmth was observed in the western United States, portions of central Siberia and eastern Mongolia."

The winter issue of The Occasional Papers, published by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, includes an article called "A New Middle Space" by Mindy McDonald, CSJP.  In it she says, "We face a long list of justice issues.  Earth care is not merely an item on the list; it is the page the list is written on.  And the page is burning."

The page is burning! It is a challenge to know that this is true when your experience of winter has been a frigid one with record breaking low temperatures.  It is a challenge to be broadly informed about emerging weather patterns worldwide, and to believe them.  It is a challenge to be globally minded even as we live locally. It is a challenge to learn about climate change in an ongoing way and to change behaviors that can cause global warming.  It is a challenge we must meet.

In 2007, Elizabeth Johnson offered "one stringent criterion" to help us change our behaviors and to "measure the morality of our actions." She suggested that we ask ourselves "whether or not"  a particular choice will "contribute to a sustainable life community on Earth.”   If we ask ourselves that question regularly, we will be empowered to meet all the challenges we face within this interconnected web of life on planet Earth.

Veronica Blake