Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring: hope's eternal #phenology

We first saw them last night in the downslope corner of last year's corn field, flooded with this year's snow melt. Flocks of Canada geese are back, joined by some swans. The first large waves of Spring's migrants have finally arrived. Since many of the local ponds are still frozen, they're congregating where they can find food and water. (Still no signs of pussy willows, though.)

local ponds slowly thaw
local ponds slowly thaw
Photo by J. Harrington

Much of the St. Croix River downstream of Taylors Falls is open water. Late on warmer days some open water appears briefly on our local pond, before it refreezes overnight. We picked up our penultimate Winter CSA share this morning. (The Better Half informs us that we're signed up for Spring shares with the same CSA.) Once again purple finches are flocking to the feeder. We are incredibly encouraged that so many are voting with their wings that the arrival of actual Spring, not just calendar spring, is eminent.

purple finches pass through
purple finches pass through
Photo by J. Harrington


events are happening across the country today, focused on state capitals and the national capital in Washington, D.C. We wish the marchers success. We also hope that inappropriate shortcuts, such as adding those on the No Fly list to those prohibited from purchasing firearms, fail. Finally, we want to call to your attention the fact that there were 1093 people killed by police in the US in 2016. Gun control must include additional restrictions on the ability of police to kill, with impunity, unarmed civilians. That's another hope we have for the upcoming year.

                     Of History and Hope

We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.

But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow?
With waving hands—oh, rarely in a row—
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow.

Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free.

All this in the hands of children, eyes already set
on a land we never can visit—it isn’t there yet—
but looking through their eyes, we can see
what our long gift to them may come to be.
If we can truly remember, they will not forget.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.