Saturday, June 24, 2017

Did you enjoy Summer? portents #phenology

Over the past week, much of the local crown vetch has come into flower. Many of the local goslings are about half grown. One of the local turtles was plodding along our country road last night. It wasn't at all clear which way s/he was headed so we left well enough along. A small bull snake was looking for a cool place a few days ago. That's no longer a need. Summer has come and gone. Wait, what?

crown vetch in bloom
crown vetch in bloom
Photo by J. Harrington

This morning's low temperatures were under 60℉ and the day's highs probable won't reach 70. Lots of cloud cover and a moderate breeze from the West has me thinking about wind chill. I knew I shouldn't have put away my Winter clothes until Labor Day! Actually, this weather is preferable to what the Southwest is going through, although the excessive cloudiness, Summer and Winter, and Spring, has worn out its welcome.

small bull snake seeking shade
small bull snake seeking shade
Photo by J. Harrington

I wonder if the proposed "infrastructure bill," to be introduced some day by the current administration, will give consideration to climate change's effects or if global warming will remain a Chinese hoax to help their manufacturing. If it stays a hoax that's denied by current leaders, the public  / private partnerships intended to finance improvements could waste a hell of a lot of money, particularly on transportation improvements that may not be designed and built to be resilient in face of tomorrow's perfect storms. If you look about, maybe you'll notice that the "new normal" is the old abnormal+.

The End of Summer


By Rachel Hadas


Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn—
an early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.

Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.

Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,

we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,

redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).

In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.

Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.


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