WINTER’S FRUGAL HOPE
“From pole to pole the ice is melting. Winter is retreating.”
~ robertscribbler, More Signs of Winter Arctic Melt:
Icebergs Show up off Newfoundland in January
photo Copyright - MOUSE TRACKS AND WING PRINTS IN SNOW
poems - WINTER and THE DREAMING SEASON with notes
photo - ICE ON CEMENT
Risa Stephanie Bear
poem - ANTICIPATION with postscript
photos - POTTING SHED and SOWING
filled with traces
THE DREAMING SEASON
The grandmother who sleeps in sunlight mostly because she is alone,
Partly because she has forgotten what she enjoys
Is winter’s lost memory; stories in poem around the central fire I’m told.
The time that teaches patience and frugal hope with its thin hours or did once
When the season was trued, every ounce of a body’s energy calculated in root cellars
Stocked at harvest growing empty. Time kept in stillness, it was sitting.
The game, recounting dream seeds that would wait without temptation of lustful thoughts for scent
At rest in frozen ground. She sits at the window, the ghost of a meager season past.
Her eyes fixed to ice sheets melting to freeze again on cement, how they spread
In the formation of tiny lakes running off in streams that feed no roots like the day’s lessons
She no longer recalls for someone who listened
Winter is not like winter hardly at all anymore as if the season has forgotten itself. Perhaps winter’s memory goes because someone at some point denied winter, decided she wanted fresh fruit year round though she was far from the equator. And that decision has led to now, a time when people go to work each day during what used to be the dreaming season. Some people rise and leave home to maintain or run the machine that transports the fruit, some to protect and defend the machine, some to point out that the machine does not work for everyone or anyone hardly at all, some to fix the machine, some to destroy the machine, some to design a machine that may work for everyone.
And I ponder resting the machine, as the body is inclined to sit this season out. Questions remain: For what purpose is the machine and all this energy consumption? Who does the machine serve? Is the machine beneficent or miserly? I accept and appreciate that “a life is an experiment” (Ralph Waldo Emerson); that “life is for learning” (Joni Mitchell). Life is also passion. Passion is to experience and appreciate upmost the raw, living beauty and learn within that image; to frame the experiment of my life within the measure of care and compassion, minding biological potentials and base realities, those of my own body, other bodies, and the whole community.
I am, as a human today, an animal capable of protecting or destroying anyone I see fit, tackling even pathogens at a huge price to the community at large. Such power is not my right, but my celebrated and grave responsibility*. Frugality is a practice of honorable simplicity, not just necessity. I appreciate technology as much as anyone. I teach my son to appreciate what he has and that he must clean up one mess before he makes the next. I want to participate in the wise, careful use of what has been pulled from the ground at a devastating cost for the local communities where extraction occurs and at a high cost for everyone. I regret and want to refuse a hand in the manufacturing of drones that swarm and drop bombs on communities. The U.S. military is a major player in the global carbon emissions and sequestration equation. Existing U.S. domestic infrastructure is failing. How will human ingenuity be purposed, to command and conquer or to answer and co-create? Will money and material be used to maintain the home or to destroy another?
*see Rights versus Responsibilities (short film) in relevant links
Risa Stephanie Bear
This time of year that room is not much visited.
Its herringbone-patterned floor of worn bricks
tilts here and there where rodents have made inroads.
Homemade flats lie heaped in corners; stacks of cells
lean sleepily together; insulation dangles;
tools hang, festooned with webs and dust. Sometimes
when the door has been set ajar, a towhee wanders in,
becomes confused at light from so many windows,
beats itself silly, then rests, is eventually found
and shown the way out. There's not much
an old lady can do but wait, watching for
earlier suns to rise, for petrichor*
for that sudden dislocation brought on
by stepping into sunshine by a southern wall.
Then, after one jonquil blooms by way of
affirmation, she'll step in, rearrange things,
dust her work bench and stool, bring seeds,
open the soil bin, grab a pot, begin.
*The odor of dry earth moistened by rain.
Well, I can't help it; the day got up to 60⁰F and in the potting shed to 75⁰F and the smell of life in the earth got to me. These are third-generation mangel beet seeds given to me by a neighbor 100 miles North [of Eugene, Oregon]. The leaves are moderately frost hardy, so why not? Says I.
At upper left you may notice a forty year old blender. Every potting shed should have one; and there should be a water barrel just outside. The idea is, you grab comfrey or not-yet-gone-to-seed grass or weeds or tree leaves or whatever and blend it with your garden liquid of choice (water, if you're squeamish, will do). Pour it in the water barrel and make tea. Dip this off as needed to water flats, pots, containers, annual beds, perennial beds, trees and guilds. A cloth bag of well-rotted cow or horse manure sunk in the barrel is also good. Consider adding a bit of sugar to the tea. I'm not a fan of Coca-Cola but I've often heard how it perks up roses and boosts growth, and I've been known to accept a can, hide it in my purse, bring it home, open it over the garden tea barrel, and recycle the can. Purists might consider using maple or birch sap for the same purpose. I make elephant-garlic-and-mint teas to dissuade pests. Works, some. Do not let people use your greenhouse/potting shed blender to make anything for human consumption, of course.
Connections between extreme weather and climate change ~ Climate Communication – Science & Outreach
The Pentagon’s Hidden Contribution to Climate Change ~ Gar Smith, Earth Island Journal
More pandemics are inevitable, and the U.S. is grossly underprepared ~ Editorial Board, The Washington Post
Davos 2016: eight key themes for the World Economic Forum ~ Graeme Wearden, The Guardian
TECHNOLOGY ∙ INFRASTRUCTURE ∙ PEOPLE
Drone swarms will change the face of modern warfare ~ David Hambling, The Wired World in 2016
Gas Leak in Los Angeles Has Residents Looking Warily Toward Flint ~ Ian Lovett, The New York Times
MIT joins global hunt for ways to cut carbon ~ David Abel, Boston Globe
U.S. Pledges to Ease Pain of Closing Coal Mines in Shift to Cleaner Energy ~ Coral Davenport, The New York Times
Rubber Boom: tree plantations lift some out of poverty; may also spark ecological disaster ~ Charles Mann, National Geographic
Rights versus Responsibilities ~ Toghestiy and Mel Bazil, Unceeded Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en Territories
Refuge In Community ~ Megan Hollingsworth, Extinction Witness
Mammoth Red Mangel Beet ~ rareseeds.com
On the remarkable potential of grief ~ Freddy Weaver (grief aligns)
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