Sunday, January 31, 2016

Point of (almost) no return

We're once again looking at mud and gravel on some parts of the road. It'll be fun once everything freezes up again. Meanwhile, We're enjoying blue skies and sunshine that actually has regained some real warmth. We're more than half way through Winter, both meteorologically and astronomically. There'll be more cold and snow, no doubt, but the days lengthen and get warmer in an inexorable progression. Yay!

skunk cabbage, an early sign of pending Spring
skunk cabbage, an early sign of pending Spring
Photo by J. Harrington
Several days ago we noted a need to reread Hope In The Dark. That same evening, we returned to taking notes from Braiding Sweetgrass. The need for and benefit of Hope was reinforced by this paragraph from a fantastic book:
"Despair is paralysis. It robs us of agency. It blinds us to our own power and the power of the earth. Environmental despair is a poison every bit as destructive as the methylated mercury in the bottom of Onandaga Lake. But how can we submit to despair while the land is saying "Help"? Restoration is a powerful antidote to despair. Restoration offers concrete means by which humans can once again enter into positive, creative relationship with the more-than-human world, meeting responsibilities that are simultaneously material and spiritual. It's not enough to grieve. It's not enough to just stop doing bad things."
I'm looking forward to the time that our commitment to restoration of the environment on which we depend is as strong and unrelenting as earth's commitment to the annual return of Spring.

Work without Hope

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Lines Composed 21st February 1825
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

         Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.


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