Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Transitions' time #phenology

Tomorrow meteorological Summer starts. That makes today the last day of meteorological Spring. Paul Douglas suggests that May's cooler, wetter weather may portend a similar pattern for Summer. Soon, Trillium grandiflorum (Large-flowered Trillium) will develop tints of pinkish lavender on its brilliant white flower petals, a sign its bloom will soon disappear. Fortunately, many other wildflowers will blossom during June to keep us company. June has almost twice the number of blooming wildflowers as does May, in June there are more than 400. You can see what is and will be blooming on the Minnesota Wildflowers web site.

Large-flowered Trillium fading to pink
Large-flowered Trillium fading to pink
Photo by J. Harrington

Between the political games and nonsense going on in St. Paul and in Washington, D.C., I need a soothing dose of reality. Fortunately, I've (re)discovered one. We had an interesting conversation at dinner last night about the Walker museum's exhibit of Sam Durant's sculpture, Scaffold, and the reaction of the local Dakota and arts communities. While pondering some of those issues and concerns again this morning, I wondered why the Walker hadn't someone like Kent Nerburn on retainer. If you haven't read any of Kent's works, you should. Anyhow, in checking his web site I learned that he has tweaked and is now (re)publishing a new version of his A Haunted Reverence, Meditations on a Northern Land, under a new title, NATIVE ECHOES — Listening to the Spirit of the Land.

I may or may not get a copy of the new edition, but I will soon to spend time curled up in the sun (re)reading our copy of the original. I am becoming more and more convinced that North American "culture" needs a much larger element of Native American culture if it is to persist in any shape at all, let alone thrive. Nerburn offers a bridge for those with the sense and desire to cross it. I'm headed across that bridge as #45 works on pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. Truly, we have reached a point where the inmates must emulate McMurphy and take control of the asylum or we forfeit our futures to a Nurse Ratched wannabe.


By W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

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Please be kind to each other while you can.