the weather in the world is changing. It’s always changing, but…this time is different: the bad things that are afoot in the world spread everywhere and reach everything through our “conveniences.” More than ten years ago, a soulless Russian computer hacker deployed malware that turned a hundred million-million personal computers into a coordinated theft machine. Robbed small businesses, banks, and more. This network exists today. It drapes the planet. Displayed in red on an FBI cybercrime unit computer screen, it looks like lavish blood spatter.

There is still great power in fortune, but no refuge.

Now, the tiny subset of police who shoot first and make inquiries later are not invariably white men. They act fearful. But of what? You hear more often of the unarmed who have been gunned down. The fear abroad in the land grows more obvious, and it’s contagious. Vigilante gangs round up and detain migrants along the border; worse, this makes sense to many people. Eternally, the powerful are indifferent to the lives of the powerless, and use them and their misfortune to fortify their way of things.

There is still great power in fortune, but no refuge. Stocks, paper, even cash itself are no more substantial than pledges made between strangers. Which works fine under the rule of law, when contracts are as reliable as earthen berms. But grift and thievery grow commonplace, and the guardians are exhausted. Trust that is founded upon principle alone has been corroded and, to many, seems foolish.

It is wiser now to hold your wealth in land you share the use of — in trees and the wild lives that live among the trees. In rumpled meadows, hayfields. bogs and ponds. In thickets that tuft old structures, long collapsed; in earth that is reclaiming the things of itself. In the unwired, interdependent communities still distinct enough, for now, from man’s machinations. In any place that men ignore, good fortune thrives for now.

We don’t deserve the earth. Or animals. Or even peace. If ever I sink to the desperate conviction that grace is no more, and maybe never was, let my eye fall next upon any green and growing thing. Catch my ear with murmurs that could be livestock calling, or could be stones tumbling in streams, or let a cat of any sort wander about in search of me, calling me, bumping me for nuzzles. Remind me I’ve been blessed before, and may be so again.

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