Watching the Clock: On Parenting in the Climate Crisis
I practice thinking about time like a geologist, but, mostly, I can manage only to think about it like a mother.
This is Mother of All Messes, a column by Kaitlyn Teer on the work of mothering in the climate crisis.
Rock by rock, Bjornerud says, geologists mapped time. In doing so, these geochronologists plotted the story of Earth’s earliest days, a record of how it transformed over billions of years. In between breastfeeding and answering emails, I try to contemplate deep time, but I keep getting interrupted. Geologists may speak of epochs, yet parenting has so contracted the timescales by which I measure life that I speak of it in much smaller increments. It’s hard to hold in mind the immensity of planetary history when the demands of the present feel so immediate and overwhelming, and thinking about the uncertain future my children face is almost more than I can bear.
Kaitlyn Teer's lyric essays have received prizes from Fourth Genre and Prairie Schooner. Her work has been recognized as notable by Best American Essays and has appeared in Entropy, Electric Literature, Redivider, Sweet, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She is a regular contributor to the Ploughshares blog and is at work on a flash collection about parenting and the climate crisis.
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