Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rates of change

In the light rain and gray light this morning, I barely noticed the doe emerge from the wood's edge onto our "prairie." During the past week or so, her coat changed from Summer's red to Winter's dun. Over the past day or so, some oak trees by the house developed some leaves that are now reddish-brown, others that are yellow or golden, but most are still very green. Have you noticed that many of the changes in nature are gradual and incremental? Does that start you thinking about how,  (making allowances for the occasional Halloween blizzard) nature avoids abrupt shifts? Not all the leaves change at once, not all the birds head south at the same time. Nature seems to encourage, work with and promote change rather than try to hold "market share" or adapt to and manage it over the next quarter or two, hoping everyone has short memories and is very forgiving.

leaf by leaf, change occurs
leaf by leaf, change occurs
Photo by J. Harrington

So, when it comes to climate change, should we leave to chance (the market?) what changes occur first? Actually, I think it's too late for that. Some folks have already begun to make some of the changes we'll need, changes like creating more community supported agriculture and farmers markets with more farmers doing diversified farming rather than just growing commodity crops. Some folks have been collecting heritage seeds and restoring heritage plants and animal breeds. Some folks have already installed solar panels.Just as each year some leaves on some trees change sooner than others, so it is with us. That makes sense because we are part of nature. Not enough of us have changed, yet, but eventually we'll all change just as each year all the deciduous trees have leaf fall. As we wait for laggards to catch up, there's more than enough work to be done to adapt to the new world we've created. We need to try to minimize any additional misery it may cause us, especially misery imposed on those with fewer resources. I don't understand "climate deniers," keeping their heads in the sand, any more than I understand what made VW think no one would notice if they cheated on emission controls. If trust is lost, there is no market and capitalism fails. What were they thinking? At least VW has begun to admit the errors of their ways, but they've already done great damage to global corporate credibility. I'm still waiting for that kind of concern to dawn on climate deniers.

tomorrow brings a new dawn
tomorrow brings a new dawn
Photo by J. Harrington

Survivor Guilt

It’s very easy to get.
Just keep living and you’ll find yourself
getting more and more of it.
You can keep it or pass it on,
but it’s a good idea to keep a small portion
for those nights when you’re feeling so good
you forget you’re human. Then drudge it up
and float down from the ceiling
that is covered with stars that glow in the dark
for the sole purpose of being beautiful for you,
and as you sink their beauty dims and goes out—
I mean it flies out the nearest door or window,
its whoosh raising the hair on your forearms.
If only your arms were green, you could have two small lawns!
But your arms are just there and you are kaput.
It’s all your fault, anyway, and it always has been—
the kind word you thought of saying but didn’t,
the appalling decline of human decency, global warming,
thermonuclear nightmares, your own small cowardice,
your stupid idea that you would live forever—
all tua culpa. John Phillip Sousa
invented the sousaphone, which is also your fault.
Its notes resound like monstrous ricochets.
But when you wake up your body
seems to fit fairly well, like a tailored suit,
and you don’t look too bad in the mirror.
Hi there, feller! Old feller, young feller, who cares?
Whoever it was who felt guilty last night,
to hell with him. That was then.


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