The Turn to Earth

Rural outbuildings near the Harbert Preserve.

One day soon, you and I will have to turn to Earth and put a halt to the planet’s degradation. The problem is, I haven’t put the date on my calendar.  Is today the day when the headlines are bad enough that I will put the date on my calendar, the date when I must begin living differently, because, if we don’t all get the date on our calendars soon, the human species might die?

Last week, I noticed a headline about birds nesting a month early.  They are doing this because the Earth’s temperatures are warmer.  So, the birds are adapting to a change in the air.  Their innate wisdom is what humans lack.  They listen to the air.  Humans do not.

This morning, as I read an article about Putin’s atrocities, a bit of bold text in the sidebar mentioned that it’s “now or never if the world is to stave off climate disaster.”  I was running late, so I couldn’t read more.  Now, though, I’m thinking about that little bit of text.  I hold such messages in one part of my mind, as the rest of it goes on normally.

I don’t suspend habit.  I don’t instinctively calibrate it, as the birds are doing.  If only there were a big red fire alarm switch to stop us “civilized” people in our tracks!  We need an unmistakable signal, a cosmic Amber Alert, loud enough to interrupt our customs and force us to stop.  If only there were a protocol for foreswearing our arrogation and turning to earth, reverentially caring for its life-giving elements and seeking its redemption as activists like David Attenborough are urging us to do.

The primitives’ oneness with nature being lost, we strain to recall the synergistic bond between nature and all human life.  Yet the turn to Earth can be something other than a return to an earlier, simpler, and yes cruder time.  The cosmic scale of the climate crisis dwarfs the individual, yet cosmic change depends on each of us harkening to a change in the air.

Stewards of a Tough and Tender Earth

Two spring flowers and a leaf growing out of colorless soil

While the air is still cold and the dune’s trees are bare, these inconspicuous flowers bloom in the sand.  They are useless as far as I know, the hepatica and spring beauty.  Deer don’t eat them.  The plants don’t need much: given leaf rot and water, voila! they bloom.

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“A Thanksgiving Truce”

Teddy Roosevelt and wild animals gathered around a table for a Thanksgiving meal.
The Bear, raising his glass in a toast to Teddy Roosevelt, says with much feeling,: “Here’s hoping that when next we meet, we see you first.”

Image: from this source.

Seattle’s Arboretum

 The undulating path through the center of the Arboretum blooms with cherry blossoms, crabapples, and magnolias in March.
While in Seattle, my husband and I visited the arboretum, which is easy to get to by cab from downtown.  At this time of year, it’s the place to visit—far better than any market or museum. Continue reading

A Valentine’s Day Idyl

Idyl by Lorenzo Taft, © 2014 Susan Barsy

Idyl, by Lorenzo Taft, in the fern room of the conservatory

Thinking back on all the wonderful adventures my husband and I have shared this year, my mind turns to one particular autumn day, when we ventured to the Garfield Park Conservatory for the first time.  We were both overwhelmed by the beauty of this enormous old hothouse, filled with ancient and awe-inspiring plants, which, though battered by time and a recent devastating hailstorm, seemed to distill all the wonder of the natural world, and the essence of our beloved city itself.

The tree, © 2014 Susan Barsy

An Eden of sorts

We wandered the place in the company of many other pilgrims, our necks craning this way and that, faces upraised, our reverence as thick as the air itself.  After we had ambled for several hours, we wandered outside, where the splendor of an autumn afternoon greeted us, and, with a scattered assembly, we gloried in the radiance of being alive.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Especially Bob.

Click on the images to enlarge.