Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Some #phenology of hope

While driving around taking care of some business today, I noticed a heartening amount of melting going on. During our afternoon walks, the dogs were more interested in exploring than they had been during our recent bitter cold spells. All of which, combined with the extended January thaw we're supposed to enjoy for the next week or so, makes me wonder which kind of boots to wear this Friday when I go collect some red osier dogwood  stems. I'll need to choose between hip boots, good for very wet, not so much for cold, or mukluks, just the opposite of hip boots. In either case, it will be wonderful to get out doors with a very minimal risk of suffering frostbite.

(forced) dogwood stems promising Spring
(forced) dogwood stems promising Spring
Photo by J. Harrington

In recognition of January's MNIDO GIIZIS (SPIRIT MOON) and as an additional way to honor getting beyond the midpoint of Winter, I'm seriously considering declaring Friday a "no social media day." There have been several articles recently, or the same article in several different periodicals, about how taking a break from social media can result in having a happier outlook or attitude. I could use some of that these days. I also need to spend more time on my feet and less time on my butt. Both can be accomplished by getting outside and away from a keyboard more regularly.

If my suspicions are correct, Winter weather will, for the most part, be much more tolerable from here on. Regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C. or St. Paul, MN, we all need to take time to enjoy and explore the environment many of us are trying to protect. Don't misunderstand, I still think the best way to get Republicans to protect the environment and support the Endangered Species Act is to make Republican politicians as threatened a species as bees or Pacific salmon, on the other hand, my email inbox is overflowing with petitions and requests for funding from multitudes of environmental organizations, almost all talking about defending and stopping and resisting....

I was raised on the idea that the best defense is a good offense. Talk to me more about restorative development or, better yet, restorative justice. Talk to me about how the Democrats are going to reach out to rural American and recapture state and federal legislative seats. Will Democrats follow the lead of Nature's awesome restorative powers. Watch as plants and animals respond to longer days and warmer temperatures. Watch as economies grow based on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Maybe this warm weather is going to my head as well as my heart, but I'm starting to think the next four years may be bad enough that many of us will actually come to our senses and stop discounting tomorrow as much as we have been. An the old book notes "Spring is a New Beginning," but an even older line is that "faint heart ne'er won..."

Planting a Dogwood


By Roy Scheele


Tree, we take leave of you; you’re on your own.
Put down your taproot with its probing hairs
that sluice the darkness and create unseen
the tree that mirrors you below the ground.
For when we plant a tree, two trees take root:
the one that lifts its leaves into the air,
and the inverted one that cleaves the soil
to find the runnel’s sweet, dull silver trace
and spreads not up but down, each drop a leaf
in the eternal blackness of that sky.
The leaves you show uncurl like tiny fists
and bear small button blossoms, greenish white,
that quicken you. Now put your roots down deep;
draw light from shadow, break in on earth’s sleep.


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