Tag Archives: “climate change”

Is it raining?

I wake and remember the sound of rain. How familiar its splashy percussion, how not.

“Is it raining?” I ask the already dressed partner, incoming for a kiss before he descends to brew coffee, amend contracts. These days the sky withholds. The earth dries. With hurricanes pounding, surging, blowing in from the Gulf, it is perhaps unseemly to complain. With the West ablaze after a near decade of severe drought, what’s my plaint?

The forests in New England are in trouble.

We get the storm forecasts per usual. The usual build up. A sky darkening its announcement for an hour or two, depending. Then the whipping of leaves, the canopy gone frenetic signaling time is near. A certain smell to the air. Finally, the rain. It plops and then pours. Or it plops, then stops. If it does pour, so often now the slants of rain fall only briefly — gone just as one expects to settle in for a long dousing. Its like getting to the brink of orgasm and folding in on oneself, inexplicably, without release. The Middlesex Fells parched. For the first time, I water the line of arbor vitae and the golden chain tree. We lost a pine at the lot line already. Its slow decline was so painful to witness, I was relieved when it finally gave up the ghost. A failed purchase. A failed effort. A failed weather pattern.

So, it’s an honest question, just upon waking this morning, “Is it raining?”

One son moves to the edge of the Pacific on Friday. He can ride his bike this week, but couldn’t last, a particular shame when speeding around Los Angeles on two wheels serves as one, maybe the only, compensation for the confines of Covid. The other son considers becoming a firefighter. Informs himself. How can he want to approach those wicked front lines, those unpredictable, deadly infernos? The Rockies don’t get as much mention as the far West, but Glenwood Canyon fills with smoke and counts as one of twenty current, record-breaking fires in Colorado’s history. Measured by acreage burned. The twenty worst. Burning, right now.

Two years ago we cancelled a reservation to Buena Vista on account of the smoke. The cell towers out. What kind of vacation would that have been? But of course now, two seasons into a pandemic, staring down a third, any flight from home looks exotic. What would a little smoke have been?

No one quite knows how to think about the holidays or the coming winter. Winter in New England, Boston-style — dark at 3:30; lots of shitty slush (as opposed to light bearing snow); the hazards of ice.

I’ll bake cookies anyway, I decide, and mail them West. Of course, I will! But where will I buy the essential pecans, the prime ingredient in Mimi Balls and the elegant Pinwheels when Costco offers the best pricing and I don’t want to go there!

A plan seems necessary. I won’t display the nutcrackers. No. It’ll be a tree and wreath Christmas. No corny gingham, balsam-filled bears on the mantel or Christmas Tree Shop bells hanging from doorknobs. No vintage Santas clustered around the glitter-dusted cardboard villages.

There is some relief in this. Not at the drying woods, the paltry emails and texts in lieu of presence, but in not entertaining. All those ridiculous last minute $90 runs to the grocery store, after already spending $200 — for a single meal! So much finesse at the stove to get all the food to the table warm. And because I’m the one dedicated to the archive but can’t focus on those nights, no more disappointment at the blurry family faces at a table nicely set, if only you could see it.

And then the mess after! The outright refusal to serve company coffee because by then I’m in near collapse and somehow I never quite conveyed to husband that, in addition to bringing up the folding chairs and stocking the liquor cabinet, maybe he could and should handle the coffee.

“Is it raining?” I’m confused. And, weary of disappointment. How debilitating the collection of climate crisis evidence — the golden, fallen arbor vitae fans raked into mounds. The smell of rain-saturated earth infrequent.

The anguish about it all is so pervasive and so multi-directional in source, it’s almost impossible to believe that one nightmare (out of four?) might end in 21 days.

If animated, our scene would feature the rabbit, the giant chicken, or coyote running toward a desired object, circles to depict speeding legs. But then, the perspective would stretch and stretch, its fantastical elongation making the attainment of the goal unlikely, even as our character runs his booty off.

“Is it raining?” The confusion of elements. The upset of order — not just storm patterns and the rules of the Senate (what rules, you ask, bewildered). Not just holidays and traditions undone by disease, children run off, death at everybody’s door, but time itself. A casualty. The distortion of time seems to conspire with the bad guys. “Will it ever be over?” we ask in collective anguish.

“Is it raining?” A delicate, hopeful question. It could just be the wind, after all.

The Native American art book pulled out in honor (not) of Columbus. It opens to a crouching, naked, mask-wearing man. Perhaps one who knew how to embody the other, to seek out animals as sources of wisdom, who understood that our relative place in the Universe is insignificant. Not a top-down-take-what-you-can-colonialism. Rather, a webbing interconnection. Kneeling, praying, donning the mask of Raven, hoping devoutly, perhaps, to channel just a fraction of bird knowledge, a whisper of bird freedom, a glimpse at bird perspective.

Is it EVER going to end? The willingness to rip everyone off. The deceit. The flagrancy of violations, the cheapness of human life. It has recently become too much to bear.

And why? Three weeks is not so long a time. Even if armed Proud Boys storm the polls, the good guy might win (she tells herself). Even if our Toad of an AG has slipped off the national stage, not to recover from Covid, but to plot a coup, the good guy might win. Right? Even if the incompetent judges appointed by His Corrupt Highness uphold voter suppression the good guy really could win, and win big, even if those judges don’t stop at mere voter suppression but feel compelled to go one step further and declare a single ballot drop box for a vast Texan county an act of ‘facilitating the vote.’ Even then.

We want to bow down to the Georgians who waited six, eight, eleven hours to vote — as if it were somehow celebratory when it is tyranny made manifest. But let’s talk about a hypothetical packing of the courts, okay?

Is it ever gonna end? The drumbeat of coarse invective, the rampant lying — lying, by the way, not merely in service of smudging the facts, but dedicated to turning truth inside out (a single drop box facilitates the vote). The demise of institutions, so many in the press taking every piece of red meat tossed their way. It all makes it hard to believe we will ever be free of them, of a minority so vile as to require entire paragraphs to list the sources of their infamy.

If only we could be as the old, wise ones. The ones who came before. To take flight. To thrust one’s body and hollow bones into the sky. To energetically defy gravity and then relax into the thermal currents. To see the world from there.

Oh, what a dream! What a dream!

Australia burning

SoulCollage card made years ago

New South Wales firefighter, Greg Mullins: “I’ve been fighting fires for 47 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. But, we’ve known it’s coming for 20 years.”

“It’s climate change, it’s worldwide, and people need to sit up and take notice.” (WBUR interview)

UPDATE: I removed the two attempts at fire maps because they’re not accurate. Mo tells me the fires are burning in “NSW, Victoria, South Australia and they were burning earlier in Queensland and Western Australia.

As Acey noted in a comment to yesterday’s post, one of the beauties of the collage process is that it brings heartbreak out of the shadows. Oh, look! To view pain in the stark terms that images allow is always powerful and sometimes healing.

Two days ago, I was wrapped up in the catastrophic missteps of our government in Iraq (still am). Not really thinking about Australia at all. And then I found this woman and her horse. She was in a stack of magazine pullouts waiting for this moment.

Of course the animal reminded me of the horse on the beach from yesterday’s post. Look at her! A warrior, for certain! I would trust her with a beloved animal. With environmental policy. With anti-corruption efforts.

The stylish woman in the upper left hand corner, on the other hand, has rendered herself frivolous by looking away.

Every once in a while, type shows up in a collage that adds import. For the word, “things” to appear next to a materialistic fashionista while the world burns around her makes perfect sense. We wonder: what will happen to HER horse?

Please consider making a donation to help orphaned and injured animals. Here’s a link for cash donations.

Even though postage to Australia is so astronomical, I know some of you will be moved to make a thing or two. For that reason, I’m offering to mail a couple of boxes to Australia if people want to make nests, mitts, or wraps and ship them to me in Massachusetts. I’m going to refer people to the FB group instead. American shipping hubs have been established.

The first picture below shows what’s needed. If you’re on Facebook, you can join Animal Rescue Craft Guild. They have a tab, “FILES,” where patterns are listed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B61HRMJnVLA/?igshid=c7xg1o6vr255

Here’s a link to a crochet pattern for nests.

For another post:

UPDATE: thru the FB group, I may have found someone who can offer drastically reduced postage! I’ll keep you posted — so to speak 🙂 Photo below from that FB group. No attribution listed.

Jesus in the rubble

After the debris had been lifted and carted away, all that was left of the little yellow house was concrete — an impersonal litter devoid of any indicia of 40 or 50 years of living. I told myself that I would hold dear whatever little sign of life I found. Don’t ask me why.

First, I spied a disk of nylon tulle, scarlet against the grey debris like a splash of fresh blood. How did it survive when so little else did? During one of my trespasses, I’d come upon a pile of these in the basement — leftovers from a baby shower, perhaps? They were the perfect size to load with pastel-colored candies and tie up as a favor.

hipstamaticphoto-566341937.775817But mostly, there was rubble. No hemp. No copper. No stray nails. Nothing. When I squatted down near where one of the basement doors had been, however, I found four more things.

There was a hank of black cord, a padlock, and a dead mouse. I used the tulle to pick up the mouse. I would bury it later.

img_9538-1The house triggered thoughts about our predicament. Most of us operate under the shared hallucination that more is better, but developers and corporations do so with a vengeance. The old calculus of cost-benefit analysis (long-term consequences be damned) these days means risking the future of our planet.

The almighty dollar will float like limp lily pads when a super storm floods the new and enlarged basement. Money in the bank won’t slow the storm surge when a torrential, 100-year-storm hits. And, by the way, when will we stop calling storms that happen twice a year, ‘100 year storms’?

The almighty dollar won’t buy our grandchildren a future when water becomes the new oil and Ted Turner’s descendants own the Mississippi. Money will be rendered conspicuously useless in a barter economy. What do stocks and bonds mean to hoards of refugees fleeing drought or civil war? And when the pandemic comes, bleach will be the precious commodity.

Maybe the empty lot, still forlorn and naked in transition, suggests that you won’t want to live in a post-capitalist disaster zone — one bottle of bleach and a beaker being enough, if you catch my meaning.

The empty lot speaks to the break down of bodies, since we too will crumble into anonymous debris. But while the decay of flesh falls within the natural order of things, conspicuous and reckless consumption does not.

New lives will occupy this square of land —  lives of sorrow and triumph, pettiness and valor. Will they act as if we can consume and invent our way out of climate change? Or will they be willing to look at hard truths and buckle up? Am I?

And then, I found Jesus in the rubble. A piece of maroon felt about the size of a quarter appeared at my feet. I flipped it over to find Jesus. Half a scapular. This and the dead mouse somehow became emblems of ‘radical hope.’


A crescent moon winked through the branches as I walked home. The air was crisp. With a dead mouse and half a scapular in my pocket, I pulled an airing quilt off the yew in front of my house. After the grey debris and feelings of regret, the colorful patchwork moved my tired and clamped heart. This was yet another emblem, wasn’t it? One of love. One I hope will survive as a minor but meaningful legacy.

 

What can you hold?

Me: I just can’t listen to climate news right now. Give me the Mueller investigation on a granular level, but that compressed time line of drought, plague, super storms, and massive dislocation? No.

Friend: Oh, I can listen, but I don’t take it in. If I’m going to walk around and be an empath, I just can’t.

(She’s a psychotherapist).

Friend, continued: I mean, I’m no Mother Teresa. And even she went nuts.

Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change

bad-300-250

I am participating in Blog Action Day today.  It is in its third year & promising to reach millions of people connected through social networks.

The list below comes from the Blog Action Day website.

More Ways to Get Involved

  1. Sign the Tck Tck Tck campaign’s “I am ready” pledge supporting an ambitious, fair and binding climate agreement in Copenhagen this fall: tcktcktck.org/people/i-am-ready
  2. Register for the 350.org International Day of Climate Action October 24: www.350.org
  3. Join the UK Government’s “Act on Copenhagen” effort to promote a global deal on climate change: www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en
  4. Learn and act with The Nature Conservancy’s Planet Change site: change.nature.org
  5. Watch and help promote Current TV’s green-themed video journalism at: current.com/green
  6. Support strong climate legislation in the US by making calls to your Senators with 1Sky: www.1sky.org/call
  7. Put yourself on the Vote Earth map and upload your photos, pictures and weblinks to show the world future you want to see: www.earthhour.org/home
  8. Put yourself on the Vote Earth map and upload your photos, pictures and weblinks to show the world future you want to see: www.earthhour.org/home
  9. Join the Greenpeace cool IT challenge campaign to turn IT industry leaders into climate advocates and solution providers: www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/climate-change/cool-it-challenge
  10. Add your personal story and tell the world what you will miss the most when you lose it to climate change with the United Nations Foundation Climate Board: www.unfoundation.org/global-issues/climate-and-energy/its-getting-personal
  11. Find the latest and most popular climate change actions online at globalwarming.change.org
  12. Join the Causecast community and find new ways to get involved with organizations working to end climate change. Watch videos, read news and support one of the many environmental nonprofits on Causcast. www.causecast.org/environment
  13. Post to your blog or Twitter account about the impact of climate change on the world’s poorest, and then take action with Oxfam International: www.oxfam.org.uk/climate

Also, check out what Mother Jones is up to!

Special Feature in Their Latest Issue: Make Your Own Climate Cover!

“For the upcoming issue of Mother Jones, we printed four different covers, featuring four different kids, to dramatize the point that if we don’t deal with the climate crisis now, our children will be the ones to pay the price.

Now it’s your turn. Next week, on the eve of International Climate Action Day, we’ll launch an app that lets you put your kid (or your pet, or yourself!) on a MoJo cover with a customized message, and send the image to your friends, your members of Congress, your president. ”

Lastly, I include a few shots of
two of my Global Warming quilts in progress.

BEAR-and-moon

Bear-playmobile

Global-warming-on-the-table

Global-Warming-in-progress

The top layout morphed into something much bigger and more complicated and is on my floor being pieced right now.  The tabletop quilt has been pieced, but the issue of how to render the polar bears unresolved.  I actually can’t find the quilt top right now, which says a lot about the state of my studio and my mind, but that’s another post altogether!