Highs in the mid 60s, such as we're enjoying today, are more typical for late April or early May in this part of the world. Don't put away your Winter jackets and snow boots just yet, you'll only be tempting the weather gods. Instead, just enjoy this gift from Mother Nature and say "Thank you" to her.
mid-March 2014 snow cover
Photo by J. Harrington
If I were back in Massachusetts at this time of year in this kind of weather, I know exactly where I'd be, on the bay side of the isthmus that divides Duxbury Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, fishing for flounder. In Minnesota, we're at that awkward time of year when the ice is pretty chancy for ice fishing and open water seasons haven't yet begun except for some catch and release trout waters. On the other hand, two years ago we were still in the midst of snow season.
mid-March 2015 no snow cover
Photo by J. Harrington
Earlier this morning, while drinking coffee and reading a piece in the 10th Anniversary issue of Ecotone, I started thinking about what it means to know a place. The author was observing the advantages of having lived in several very different locations and being able to "compare and contrast." Having, just yesterday, been confronted with the challenge of being able to identify the plants growing on my own little piece of Minnesota, I pondered whether being able to "name" some or all of the local flora and fauna is a requisite for "becoming indigenous," or naturalized, as the case may be. Then there's the question of local folklore, or lack thereof. Does folklore coincide with bioregional boundaries?
The Better Half recently lent me her copy of the journal GeoHumanities: Space, Place and the Humanities. I suspect I'll spend some time skimming through the articles and wading through the academic prose as I continue to try to come to some "sense of place" that may, or may not, match a "sense of people and culture." If I had never encountered Schroediger's cat or Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, such topics would no doubt be of less concern. In simple terms, I'm still trying to figure out what it means to be at home in this place where I live on this planet in this universe. Quotations from two of my favorite writers may frame this better. Wendell Berry notes that "People exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but the defend what they love..." Theodore Roethke wrote "I learn by going where I have to go." Why do some of us simply "value" a place, while others defend it? I have to go try to find and understand answers to that question. I'm sure they're at a place we all need to find.
No one knew what the stones like squatting frogssignified. There they were, fuming in rows, outof the ground; every critic had his explanationor hers. But—we had to remember—theycame to nothing, every one; those large stonesout of the earth served the systemsof those who considered them, as explainingsomething about the past it was importantfor the explainer to explain. And yetno one had any idea truly; there was nobasis in fact for any view of them, andthey remained like their origins—or likesmiling Olmec babies, sweet but ominous figurescome from the earth to reproach us, almostcheerfully, for our ignorance—a mystery, justas the probe of our feelings came up with nothing.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.