Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thoughts on soft water season

There wasn't much fog around here this morning. According to reports it was mostly south of "The Cities." Since I was neither driving a car nor trying to navigate a boat, I felt mildly deprived. We have lots of purple lovegrass, aka tumble grass (Eragrostis spectabilis) covering the fields behind the house and it's particularly lovely, I think, when it's fog- or dew-covered in the early morning. Much later in the season, watching tumbleseedheads blow around as if they were stick-figure ghosts has become one of the sights I've learned to associate with Halloween here in Minnesota.

purple lovegrass, (Eragrostis spectabilis)
Photo by J. Harrington

I think my partiality toward fog may have something to do with having been raised near the Atlantic ocean, where the temperature differential between land and water often yielded fog banks along the shore that couldn't be found five or ten miles inland. The way fog, or mist, softens a scene makes me think of Loren Eiseley's observation that"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." That saying reminds me that another Summer is passing and, once again, I haven't spent anywhere near enough time in, on or near the water. (During the Winter, with all the snow we usually get, I spend more time than I like near the water when it's in one of my least favorite shapes.)

water's magic at St. Croix Falls
water's magic at St. Croix Falls
Photo by J. Harrington

Moving water seems to me to hold more magic in rivers and ocean tides, and flowing as liquid in rain and rivulets, rather than blowing water crystals as they magically turn into snow drifts.

While we're considering water, try this thought experiment. Think about how long you could live and even thrive without your cell phone and all its rare earth elements. Now think about how long you could survive without water to drink. How long do you think you could thrive without eating any of the processed foods made from field corn's high fructose syrup. And, again, how long without water to drink. Final question (for today) Does it seem wise to let mining and industrial agriculture pollute our waters for their profits? How long can either or both of them thrive without customers? That's some of the thinking behind yesterday's posting here and Honor the Earth's Dear Governor letter. Our Minnesota has turned its priorities upside down and needs to magically turn them back rightside up.

Son of Fog

By Dean Young 

When the fog burns off and the air's pulverized   
diamonds and you can see beyond the islands   
of forever!—far too dramatic for me. It hurts   
something behind my eyes near the sphenoid,   
not good. I prefer fog with fog behind it,   
uninflammable fog. Then there's no competition   
for brightness, no Byron for your Shelley,   
no Juno eclisping your Athena, no big bridge   
statement about bringing unity to landmasses.   
All the thought balloons are blank. The marching   
band can't practice, even a bird's got to get   
within five feet before it can start an argument.   
Like dead flies on the sill of an abandoned   
nursery, we too are seeds in the rattle   
of mortality. A foglike baby god   
picks it up, shakes it, laughs insanely   
then goes back to playing with her feet.   
I have felt awful cold and lonely and fog   
has been blotting paper to my tears.   
My dog is fog and I don't have to scoop   
its poop with my hand in a plastic bag.   
There are sensations that begin in the world,   
the mind responding with ideas but then   
those ideas cause other sensations.   
What a mess. We stand at the edge   
of a drop that doesn't answer back,   
fog our only friend although it's hell   
on shrimpboats. There, there, says the fog.   
Where, where? You can't see a thing.


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