Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Ghost of Christmas Future

I found what I think is some good news today. (I'm intentionally ignoring the hissy-fits in D.C. over the release of a 500 page Executive Summary of US conducted torture and coverup lies. It seems like the only appropriate response until we have a higher quality human race to work with.) Back to the good news, in Earth JournalRon Meador writes:
We're talking about rethinking the design and use of highway corridors and utility rights-of-way, of corporate campuses and croplands, of all manner of public lands and private lawns. All of these can be modified to restore healthy pollinator habitat, while returning significant human benefits as well. [emphasis added]

pollination in progress (bee on/in flower)
pollination in progress
Photo by J. Harrington

What Ron is writing about is restorative development. It's not enough to be less bad these days (see report reference above), we have to actually accomplish good in order to be truly sustainable. And, speaking of such, at the risk of putting a jinx on it (them?), there seems to be some potential for good being done at the climate change talks according to 350.org
Yes, world leaders really are discussing ending fossil fuels by mid-century. This is what our movement is capable of. Let's keep pushing. [Ending fossil fuels is less bad. Renewable energy is good.]
On a largely unrelated topic, except that it looks like it could be good news at a very personal scale, the pounding over (not in) my head as a new roof is constructed has been lessened today. As much as I'm grateful for the work they're doing, and the fact that I'm not out on a roof in this weather, living in the house since early yesterday has been what I imagine living in a coop with a bunch of the bird pictured below would be like. So, despite years of saying that a new roof on the house doesn't meet my definition of an appropriate Christmas present, the silence that goes with a new roof does qualify as a miraculous Christmas present. [UPDATE: Things just got a little more complicated. One of the crew came partway through the living room vaulted ceiling. More repairs needed.]

pileated woodpecker
pileated woodpecker
Photo by J. Harrington

If the positive leaning news mentioned above continues and delivers a present of a much improved future for all on Earth, this may be one of the best Christmases ever, or at least so far.

Intimate Detail

By Heid E. Erdrich 

Late summer, late afternoon, my work
interrupted by bees who claim my tea,
even my pen looks flower-good to them.
I warn a delivery man that my bees,
who all summer have been tame as cows,
now grow frantic, aggressive, difficult to shoo
from the house. I blame the second blooms
come out in hot colors, defiant vibrancy—
unexpected from cottage cosmos, nicotianna,
and bean vine. But those bees know, I’m told
by the interested delivery man, they have only
so many days to go. He sighs at sweetness untasted.

Still warm in the day, we inspect the bees.
This kind stranger knows them in intimate detail.
He can name the ones I think of as shopping ladies.
Their fur coats ruffed up, yellow packages tucked
beneath their wings, so weighted with their finds
they ascend in slow circles, sometimes drop, while
other bees whirl madly, dance the blossoms, ravish
broadly so the whole bed bends and bounces alive.

He asks if I have kids, I say not yet. He has five,
all boys. He calls the honeybees his girls although
he tells me they’re ungendered workers
who never produce offspring. Some hour drops,
the bees shut off. In the long, cool slant of sun,
spent flowers fold into cups. He asks me if I’ve ever
seen a Solitary Bee where it sleeps. I say I’ve not.
The nearest bud’s a long-throated peach hollyhock.
He cradles it in his palm, holds it up so I spy
the intimacy of the sleeping bee. Little life safe in a petal,
little girl, your few furious buzzings as you stir
stay with me all winter, remind me of my work undone.


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