Throughout time humans have tried to control nature. In his grand project, Rene Descartes proclaimed that we could be "masters and possessors of nature" and enjoy the fruits of the earth without hardship for ourselves. We've tried to control the path of the mighty Mississippi River with clever engineering, the flow of lava in Iceland by trying to spray it down, and even the movement of the earth to support the fancy lives of people who want a good view of Los Angeles downhill from disintegrating mountains. Failures.

Nature always wins. It takes time--often many, many more lifetimes than we have--but win it does. If we've learned anything in 2020, it is that it better to live in harmony with nature, humbly making adjustments in our lives, than to pick a fight. We are, after all, part of the family of plants and animals and all else; it's best a family get along.

   - The Godmother
Rain versus development in Phnom Penh: It's rainy season now in Cambodia. It rains. A lot. Every afternoon. The skies open up and the moto riders pull under awnings to wait it out. Some brave the streets. Depending on the lay of the land, streets become rivers with water so high it stalls out motorcycles, flooding their engines. Cars make wakes and some drive close to me on my bicycle drenching me. I think they do it just for sport.

It wasn't always this bad. In the name of "development", the Cambodian government is filling up the boeungs (shallow lakes) and selling off the land. Fancy gated communities and office parks are going up fast but so are the rain waters. There's no where for the rain to go anymore but up. And that it does.

Other than a being natural nightmare, it has also been a human rights catastrophe with families lives upended by "relocation". Those families and the wealthy developers will likely be long gone when the buildings sink under their own weight. But sink they will.

Nature always has the last word.
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Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
  • #017: Little children
  • #018: Worth looking for
  • #019: Two-way windows
  • #020: Heroes emerge
  • #021: A wide net cast
  • #022: Take what you need
  • #023: Make your own fun
  • #024: See what the sun smiles on
  • #025: Fly high
  • #026: Open the treasure chest
  • #027: Where greatness lies
  • #028: Practice holiness
  • #029: Say it
  • #030: Read
  • #031: Leave alone to grow
  • #032: Judge the destination
  • #033: Choke it down
  • #034: Think in 3D
  • #035: Counterproductive loads
  • #036: Opportunity to rebuild
  • #037: Just ask
  • #038: Know what you believe
  • #039: Fill a small jar
  • #040: Gift of clarity
  • #041: Worthwhile fear
  • #042: Number One
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these Godmother's advice emails are good, helpful or happy for you; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
Copyright © 2020 Maria Montello, All rights reserved.

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