Monday, February 2, 2015

Changing signs of the seasons

Happy groundhog day! Depending on your perspective, there's only six weeks of Winter left or there's still six weeks of Winter to go. Which choice is yours?

full moon rising
full moon rising
Photo by J. Harrington

Tomorrow is February's full moon, which some sources claim the Ojibwe call Namebini-giizis (Sucker Fish Moon) and others say is called Mkwa-giizis (Bear Moon). One explanation for this difference can be found here. The more I study Native American culture, the more I realize how much there is to learn. Of course, that's no surprise because the longer I live in our global, capitalistic, American culture, I find the more I learn the more I don't understand about it. High on the list of things I don't understand is why we aren't doing more to mitigate global warming and minimize climate change.

storm clouds blowing in
storm clouds blowing in
Photo by J. Harrington

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has a primer on Climate Change in Minnesota. (In fact, MPR has a whole series on Climate Change.) I already knew about the weather pattern changes (warmer, more intense storms etc.), but I hadn't previously come across references to aspen and tamarack in northern Minnesota declining due to climate change factors, nor had I read anything about purple finches moving north as a sign of climate change. The "sign" of the center of Minnesota's maple trees moving northeast is something I need to look into more since it relates to another project I'm working on about maple sugar candy production. I'm also going to have to see if I can find out why Minnesota isn't listed as a maple syrup producing state in this USDA report since I know we produce at least some syrup locally. Maybe I'll have some answers before the sugarbushing moon or the maple sap boiling moon.

Song from a Reedless Flute

By Sara Littlecrow-Russell 
You are beadwork woven by a broken Indian woman
That I mend with cautious, needle-pricked fingers.
You are raw sweetness of burning chaga
Scraping my lungs and startling tears.
You are the bear claw necklace
No longer caressing
The space between my breasts.
You are cigarettes
That I quit years ago,
But sometimes smoke anyways.

You are maple syrup on snow
Melting on my tongue
Until I ache from the cold.
You are the cedar tree
Sheltering my childhood
From unwanted caresses.
You are the star blanket
Sliding off the bed on autumnal nights.
You are a stubborn braid of wiingashk
That must be relit with a dozen matches
Before it releases thin streamers of sweetness.

You are the love song
Played on a reedless flute
That only spirits hear.


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