You Had Me at the Bow

Guy McPherson

“What’s next? Perhaps you will continue to tolerate my overdeveloped work ethic and the attendant writing, speaking, and submitting to interviews. Universe willing, we will launch our proverbial leaky boat in the direction of a village in Vermont, where we will be welcomed by a dear friend and a dark, quiet forest. Sadly, we met in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event and abrupt climate change. The pandemic came later. Fortunately, we met in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event and abrupt climate change. The pandemic came later.”—Dr. Guy McPherson

Going Dark

By Dr. Guy McPherson

Guy and Pauline. (Photo: Pauline Elli Panagiotou Schneider.)

Guy and Pauline. (Photo: Pauline Elli Panagiotou Schneider.)

“He heard her unique buzzing before he saw her. Only a second later, she heard him, too. By the time their multi-faceted, compound eyes made contact, they were anxiously anticipating their reunion. You might even say they were abuzz with excitement. In the midst of exhilaration, they nearly fell to the ground when they collided in midair. Oh, the profound joy they experienced because they were together at last! ‘Where have you been?’ Mr. Honeybee asked. ‘I thought I’d never see you again. I was so worried.’”Pauline Panagiotou Schneider, Ms. Lady Bug & Mr. Honey Bee: A Love Story at the End of Time

Guy McPherson

MAITLAND Florida—(Weekly Hubris)— Febuary 2021—This column comprises an open letter to Pauline Elli (Panagiotou) Schneider, my teacher, friend, and life partner,

Born in Nigeria and reared in Greece, you had me at the bow, sweet Pauline. I know that you know what I mean, but allow me to explain to our readers.

In mid-May 2013, I was on a speaking tour that included Westchester County, New York. Your friend Cameron hosted me in her home and created a public appearance for me at the Mt. Kisco Public Library. She attended to myriad details and introduced me to the standing-room-only crowd. 

I spoke into the microphone. It failed to broadcast. I set it aside and projected to the audience with a voice long adjusted for poor acoustics in large rooms. I viewed the incident as a minor inconvenience. You, on the other hand, immediately set about solving what you believed was an embarrassing incident for your home county.

You dashed to the front of the room, grabbed the microphone, and rushed out the door. You quickly diagnosed the mic as having a dead battery. Your Prius took you to the nearest, relevant store. Within 15 minutes, you were rushing back into the library, a functional microphone in your hand. Balancing a sense of urgency with your desire to not disrupt my presentation, you waited for me to finish. Before the first question could be asked, you walked quickly to the front of the room.

I saw you approaching, of course. Your beauty and urgency were difficult to overlook. As you drew close, I could see the perspiration on your brow.

As you thrust the microphone into my hand, our eyes met. We smiled. You handed me the microphone . . . and you bowed.

You bowed—a first for me. I’d never been bowed to, or at, before. You had my full attention. You had me at the bow.

A few days after we met, we rode five hours with your friend Cameron—now my friend, too—to the “Age of Limits” conference. A few weeks later, after spilling a lot of tears, you began following me on speaking tours to make your documentary film, Going Dark. Consistent with my message, you were urgently pursuing your own dreams, following me for a year to create the film your family had insisted you could never make. Now, nearly eight years later, we are pursuing our shared dreams, living with urgency and love.

About that year on tour: If a year of impatiently schlepping your excess baggage did not ruin me for you, then we would have to try harder. And we have, without “success.”

It took more than three years for our ultimate reunion, from the bow in May 2013 to our pre-planned second act in Corpus Christi on 7 July 2016. For my final five years at the homestead in New Mexico, I believed I would never again be capable of happiness, in New Mexico or elsewhere. You proved me wrong. For my final two years in New Mexico, I was indifferent about continuing to live. Through our love, you renewed my love of living.

Our summertime meeting in Texas was followed by a cliffhanger of a trip through Mexico, marked by adventures induced by my complete ignorance of the Spanish language. Two weeks after we met in Corpus Christi, we arrived at your property in western Belize, where I threw a fit for two weeks. I was so attached to my work that I could not bear the thought of slow Internet. A week after we arrived at our new home, even while you were using a pick to provide drainage away from the community house during Hurricane Earl, I was bemoaning my fate. 

Western Belize was a paradise of the jungle and Work-A-Way guests, many of whom became our friends. Other friends visited from throughout the world. The poor telecommunications infrastructure was a small price to pay for the joy of living close to the land and close to hard-working people. 

More than two years after we arrived in Belize, your cancer-ridden baby sister took us to Westchester County, New York, where you had brought up your three children to something resembling adulthood. After about a year in Pleasantville, New York, we next headed to central Florida to join your brother and sister as they corralled your Alzheimer’s-plagued Dad into countless exams and initial treatment options. You are nearing completion of this task, which has us pondering a move elsewhere as a long-overdue means of self-care.

An ongoing defamation campaign has failed to tear us apart, and I doubt it will take me down the dark road pursued by Michael C. Ruppert (please ignore Baker, as usual). Ditto for the rigors of living in an under-developed country. We have appreciated each other in New York and Florida, too.

What’s next? Perhaps you will continue to tolerate my overdeveloped work ethic and the attendant writing, speaking, and submitting to interviews. Universe willing, we will launch our proverbial leaky boat in the direction of a village in Vermont, where we will be welcomed by a dear friend and a dark, quiet forest. 

Sadly, we met in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event and abrupt climate change. The pandemic came later.

Fortunately, we met in the midst of a Mass Extinction Event and abrupt climate change. The pandemic came later.

With love,

“Vasily”*

*There is no equivalent for “Guy” in Greek, so Vasily it is.

To order Dr. McPherson’s books, click the cover images here below:

Academic Pursuits: A Novel Kindle Edition

Academic Pursuits: A Novel Kindle Edition

Only Love Remains: Dancing at the Edge of Extinction Kindle Edition, by Guy McPherson.

Paperback

Only Love Remains: Dancing at the Edge of Extinction Kindle Edition, by Guy McPherson.

Kindle Edition.

Guy McPherson

About Guy McPherson

Dr. Guy McPherson is an internationally recognized speaker, award-winning scientist, and one of the world’s leading authorities on abrupt climate change leading to near-term human extinction. He is professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for 20 years. His published works include 16 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Dr. McPherson has been featured on television and radio and in several documentary films. He is a blogger and social critic who co-hosts his own radio show, “Nature Bats Last.” Dr. McPherson speaks to general audiences across the globe, and to scientists, students, educators, and not-for-profit and business leaders who seek their best available options when confronting Earth’s cataclysmic changes. Visit McPherson's Author Page at amazon.com.
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4 Responses to You Had Me at the Bow

  1. Avatar Martins says:

    Loved the story, felt the shared energy of inspiration of letting go and moving on.
    – “Only love remains” –

    P.S. Have you visited Roxanne Meadows
    at their Center in Venus, Florida since you are so close in proximity? Would make a fantastic tour for both of you.

  2. Avatar Guy R McPherson says:

    Thank you for your favorable and informative comment, Martins. This is the first I’ve heard about Roxanne Meadows. I’ll check it out.

  3. Avatar Jean says:

    Guy, this is a delightful story. Grabbed me, as my husband swore he was pierced through the heart when he said something charming, the day we met, and I inclined my head in response.
    Love does light the darkness, doesn’t it? And what a beautiful smile Ms Pauline has! A little mini-sun, at which to warm your heart in the encroaching darkness.
    I’m happy for you both.

  4. Avatar Guy R McPherson says:

    Yours is by far the sweetest comment I’ve read this year, Jean. Thank you so much.

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