I think of February as the Month of Unknowing, because there was still so much I didn’t know and because there was so much that our elected officials did know, but chose to forget or ignore — to un-know. And that “unnocence” has cost thousands of lives and jobs, shattered health and families, and riven our country even further apart. I am trying to be hopeful that with a new administration in the White House and vaccinations in arms, we’ll be able to mend some of these rifts, but I do think we can’t expect politicians to take care of these problems unless we keep our eye on them and do some of the work ourselves. So be nice and play well with others, people.
Meanwhile, back to 2020.
The first of February, 2019, was the day my mother went to the hospital, the day we learned how ill she was, the day we were told she had little time to live. My mother, who had been an actress, had always wanted to play Hamlet; I always thought she should would have been a magnificent Cleopatra. At her funeral service, I quoted from the end of Enobarbus’ speech (the one about the barge) and, on the anniversary of the beginning of the end, my Shakespeare app served up the lines I quoted:
What do I make of this coincidence? Not much. It neither comforts nor upsets me. But I do think coincidences are usually kind of neat.
February also started off with a repeat trip to the Monet exhibit. We were lucky to get to go twice, but I happily would have gone a dozen times. I’d seen a few Monets here and there before, but this exhibition made me understand Monet’s genius and artistry and feel the emotion in his paintings. Suddenly his work wasn’t just another pretty face.
I hadn’t known that Monet had worked as a cartoonist. This drawing reminds me of my grandfather:
Grandpa is the adult in the middle.
Many of the same paintings made me stop and re-contemplate them,
but the second time, others got more of my attention than they did the first time through.
This is a scene of the beach of Trouville, which reminds me of Gigi.
My new plan for our yard (which is a little larger than the frame of this painting):
I was, again, often taken by the details in the paintings.
Some of the paintings reminded me of California.
It was almost impossible to get my camera to catch the colours accurately.
After the exhibit, we stepped out into an evening that was almost as beautiful as the paintings.
We walked over to Civic Center Park. It was one of those evenings when the sky changed measurably from moment to moment and each change was more striking than the last. (The Capitol was lit red for Women’s Heart Health, a good cause, but against the clouds, it did look a little ominous.)
It was the sort of sky that made me think of the word “firmament.”
Civic Center Park has a rather splendid colonnade,
one that was set off by the glorious beauties of that evening’s show.
The evening display ended on a somewhat ominous tone:
There were quiet days: more sunrises,
And then another trip, this one eastward, to Kansas.
No going over misty mountains this time. Those were left behind for the stretching plains of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas.
There was an odd, event-horizon sort of sunset.
The cardinals were still living in the yard.
There were lambent sunsets.
There was a full moon.
The creek near us tried to catch it.
So did the trees.
The climbing ivy made some of the trees look green.
I did some cooking.
There were more sunsets.
I thought about my parents.
I rambled around at night.
The moon started to wane.
I rambled around during the day.
And then I headed home. The plane took off several hours late. This time the sunset was less event horizon, more nuclear:
And I was back to the view from my front door:
The old moon in the new moon’s arms.
I was still riding the bus, running errands, going to appointments, visiting the book store.
My indoor plants started to sense the coming of Spring.
The sun and moon did more of that rising-and-setting thing they do.
So it is another new year. I am having a hard time saying “Happy New Year” because, honestly, it isn’t. I hear everyone saying “Thank God 2020 is over!” but there’s been no miraculous, overnight transformation of the situations in which we all find ourselves. The Atrocity is still in the White House; McConnell still makes the Senate the Graveyard for legislation; COVID-19 runs rampant through the planet; here in the U.S., too many people refuse to wear masks or maintain a safe distance from others; people are hungry and homeless and losing health and hope. I think I shall feel a new year has started at noon on the twentieth, when Joe Biden takes the oath of office and the Atrocity in the White House has left the building. Maybe the end of the year will be happy, but right now, all I can wish us all is that we survive the first part of 2021. Then let’s see where we are.
Meanwhile, I have been going through my photos from last year. I take photographs as a way to remind myself to notice the world, to see the beauty, the memorable, the stirring aspects my small space, as a way to distract myself from my depression. Sometimes it even works. I have monkeys-and-typewriters¹ approach to photography: I figure that if I take enough photos, statistically, some of them have to be half-way decent. It’s one of the few theories I have that seems to pan out.
If you like, come with me on a review of what I chose to see through my cameras last year. Here are some of my photos from January. I have come to think of it as the Pre-Pandemic Month, because even though SARS-CoV-2 was making its still insidious way into almost every corner of every country, we had no idea that there would soon be a pandemic. I was too busy hoping against experience that our president’s impeachment would lead to his removal from office.
One the first day of 2020, I went out into the world beyond my yard. I saw mountains,
and the ponds along my bus route.
There were graceful wisps of clouds and the moon up early in the day-lit sky.
I was out with my family, and we lingered until evening. The mall was still decorated for the season,
and the star that’s lit on the the mountainside every year was still shining over the town.
Our tradition is to visit the Boulder Book Store on New Year’s to take advantage of their Readers’ Guild inventory sale. We did not go this year, and I find missing that visit to my happy place has sharply reminded me of how my life has changed.
We went out for dinner. We sat inside a restaurant. We didn’t worry about it.
I tracked the phases of the moon.
I tracked the changes to the pond (note the ice and all the geese).
I watched the sun set. And I watched the moon rise…
AND THEN — I went to the Monet Exhibit at the art museum. It was astonishing —
especially the details.
I saw a whole — shoot, I can’t find the word (stupid aphasia; I’ve had it since the time I was on Prednisone years ago) — phase? group? category? set? of Monet’s work of which I had been completely unaware: the winter scenes:
I don’t have the artistic vocabulary to describe techniques or effects properly, but what struck me about these paintings were the co-existing qualities, the way they were simultaneously subdued yet vibrant, misted in frost while brightened by it, exciting and calming. The chill of the icy blues was almost palpable, but so was the warmth of the coral tones.
Some of these qualities were apparent in other paintings,
One prosaic note about the exhibition: the paintings were so numerous and the galleries so extensive that it took up two levels in the museum and, half-way through, visitors were allowed to take a bathroom pass, leave the exhibit, and return. I’ve never been to a show where one was allowed back in after leaving. My only complaint about the experience is that the museum was very firm in its policy of not letting me take any of the paintings home.
I haven’t figured out how to make movies work in my site, but I think if you click the link below, it will show you one of the “trees” on display in downtown Denver that evening:
It rose in a burnt-yellow colour, but brightened as it climbed the sky.
One of the books I got at the Book Store sale was Take Me With You, by Andrea Gibson:
I’m not entirely sure to what genre it belongs; it was on a sale cart. But several of the author’s observations stayed with me. This one seemed apt enough when I read it, but in retrospect, it now seems absolutely prescient:
I think, after last year and the beginning of this, we are going to have to learn to to say this and then find ways to speak our revival.
Some random shots of what caught my eye:
We took a trip to San Diego for a family gathering.
(“Far over the misty mountains cold To dungeons deep and caverns old We must away, ere break of day, To find our long-forgotten gold.” —J.R.R. Tolkien)
And spent a bit of time at the beach (though not long enough).
I saw this person walking along the beach for quite a while, collecting things in a basket. I wish I had known how to approach her (?) and ask about her gatherings without being forward. I feel there’s a story in this photo.
Look where we went:
Proof I really was on the Surprise.
Unfortunately, it was being renovated, so I didn’t get a lot of good pictures.
Back over the Misty Mountains…
to the familiar light of home.
We attended the symphony. It’s almost frightening to think how dangerously reckless we were to go somewhere in such a crowd, but, like almost everyone, we had no idea was coming.
There were the usual interplays of light and shadow, real and metaphorical,
I seem to be going through a poetry phase, which isn’t a bad thing. Berryman’s poem below has been running through my head lately as I’ve been trying to keep in touch with people over assorted devices and apps, across all this expanding time and distance, through the phone and letters, just like all The Experts say we’re supposed to do. The poem, “Dream Song 14,” was one my mother quoted a lot when I was young. She mostly tossed out the first seven lines. Have a read:
The reason my mother liked this poem is that she was, indeed, bored. She found being a parent often boring (which is not to say that she found us boring, but the allure of diapers; laundry; square meals; schlepping us to school, to piano lessons, to doctors’ appointments; catering to our feverish demands when we were ill — somehow escaped her). And, unlike Berryman’s Henry (honestly, I’m kind of unclear about the relationship between the poet and Henry, even after a bit of reading around the ‘Net), my mother had no qualms about saying so.
To be fair, my mother inculcated in us, her children, some decent Inner Resources. She did so mostly by opening one door or the other and saying, “GO OUTSIDE,” and then leaving us to figure out what to do when we got there. But she also taught us how to throw balls and make mud pies (the trick is not to use too much water) and expected us to climb as high as possible in trees.
When we couldn’t play outside (often because of smog), we had clay and blocks and Lego and crayons and paper and I don’t remember anyone ever complaining about the mess. Our folks also had no problems about our covering the floor with pillows and blankets and doing indoor gymnastics, though they did get a bit nervous when we slid down the stairs on pieces of cardboard.
We weren’t constant hoodlums; we also played quietly in our rooms, alone or together (I spent hours reading), and grew up in a civilized era when we could do our homework every night and still have time to watch lots of sitcoms — Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy. Inner Resources.
So what does any of this have to do with the pandemic? Well, as I attempt to keep in touch with friends and family, I find these lovely people asking me questions such as “What’s new?” and “What have you been doing?” And I find myself answering “Not much” and “Laundry, paying bills, making dinner, napping.” One might assume that I am bored. But the truth is that I am not. “After all, the sky flashes…”
“the great sea yearns…”
“we ourselves flash and yearn…”
(this is as flashy as I get).
And I don’t find literature, especially great literature, boring.
Also, I have this blog where I can range around the scattered ideas that ping madly in my head. Inner Resources.
So what’s my problem? As I said, I’m not bored. The problem is that I am boring. Most people want to hear about the hassles of working from home (I’m not working right now) or about ventures outside the house (I’m staying put) or about dealing with family (my folks are dead, my kids are grown). I think about Henry Higgins’ admonition to Eliza Doolittle, his “strict orders as to her behavior. She’s to keep to two subjects: the weather and everybody’s health–Fine day and How do you do, you know–and not to let herself go on things in general. That will be safe.”** Everybody’s health is of course the first subject discussed and, if no one has COVID, disposed of. Discussion of the weather currently seems to be insultingly banal. Politics is either too risky or too distressing. I’m not sure how to get conversations properly balanced these days. Most don’t want to hear me read John Berryman or Richard Wilbur or Anne Sexton and then ramble on about their poems. Maybe you don’t either, yet here we are together.
**Henry’s mother presciently responds, “Safe! To talk about our health! about our insides! perhaps about our outsides! How could you be so silly, Henry?” And of course Eliza ends up telling the genteel gathering about how her aunt “come through diphtheria right enough the year before. I saw her with my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin down her throat til she came to so sudden that she bit the bowl off the spoon.… What call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of influenza? What become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in.”
And here are some photos of November’s full moon, the Beaver Moon, and the poem of which it reminds me.
(See all the stars that show up in that shot?)
Sometimes my camera gets dramatic. On some of the options, the camera is stuck in a mode that takes six photos with different light settings. I don’t know why. When the pandemic is over, I’ll go back to the camera shop and ask someone to explain it to me.
A classic full moon photo. Lots of stars in this photo, too.
This photo comes closest to showing the colour of the moon when it rose.
With the moon in the background, the pine needles look soft, like the feathers on a gull, or perhaps the fur of a werewolf’s face.
((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O))((O)) (Trigger warning: the poem and following comments discuss violence, death, images of assault, and rape.)
“Beasts,” by Richard Wilbur,* is one of the poems that I read several times a year — usually during the full moon. The poem fascinates me. I get swept up in its rhythms and the inexorable flow that rarely stops, even for the end of a stanza. Wilbur’s startling juxtaposition of concepts (I won’t give examples because that would be the poetic equivalent of spoilers) doesn’t quite reach Calvin-and-Hobbesian levels,
but it has its own originality. The poem puts my spine on alert and fills the suburban darkness outside my window with more wild things than Maurice Sendak could imagine.
Beasts in their major freedom Slumber in peace tonight. The gull on his ledge Dreams in the guts of himself the moon-plucked waves below, And the sunfish leans on a stone, slept By the lyric water,
In which the spotless feet Of deer make dulcet splashes, and to which The ripped mouse, safe in the owl’s talon, cries Concordance. Here there is no such harm And no such darkness
As the selfsame moon observes Where, warped in window-glass, it sponsors now The werewolf’s painful change. Turning his head away On the sweaty bolster, he tries to remember The mood of manhood,
But lies at last, as always, Letting it happen, the fierce fur soft to his face, Hearing with sharper ears the wind’s exciting minors, The leaves’ panic, and the degradation Of the heavy streams.
Meantime, at high windows Far from thicket and pad-fall, suitors of excellence Sigh and turn from their work to construe again the painful Beauty of heaven, the lucid moon And the risen hunter,
Making such dreams for men As told will break their hearts as always, bringing Monsters into the city, crows on the public statues, Navies fed to the fish in the dark Unbridled waters.
– RICHARD WILBUR
The poem is like a haunted house at a carnival, if it turned out that the haunts were real and the exit led into the prologue of Longfellow’s Evangeline.** You know something is waiting to leap out around the bends, but not what, or when it will spring. The first line, “Beasts in their major freedom,” conjures the image of beasts on the prowl, exercising their rights to wander the landscape of the poem and of the poet’s imagination, but in the next line we learn that they “Slumber in peace tonight.” (It’s a bit like that song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” You think it’s going to be about a mighty lion doing mighty-lion things like terrorizing the jungle and the village, but noooo — it’s about how everything is so peaceful and copacetic that even the king of cats decides to take a nap. Bit of a let-down, really.)
From that initial rush of tension and subsequent calming, the poem slowly builds the tension back up again. The first specific “beast” we encounter is “the gull on his ledge,” dreaming, but his dreams are lodged not in his avian mind, but “in the guts of himself” — an image of imagined self-evisceration, of auto-haruspicy. Note that the gull doesn’t dream of “the moon-plucked waves below. Rather, he “dreams…the moon-plucked waves”; the waves are the direct object of “dreams.” In an act of creation, the gull somnolently envisions the ocean into being, though we aren’t told whether he saw that it was good.
In a similar syntactical maneuver, the stone in line four, the one the sunfish uses for a pillow, is “slept/ By the lyric water.” The gull dreams the waves, and the poetry of the water dreams the stone, and stone supports the fish. Wilbur’s poem ebbs and flows in a weaving that shuttles the reader forward and back and around, but never really stops moving.
We are not allowed to stop for breath at the end of the stanza, only to breathe long enough to plunge into the next with “the spotless feet/ Of deer.” The momentary charm of the “dulcet splashes,” like the the beasts slumbering in peace, puts us at our ease for another moment, but that calm is again pulled out from us as “The ripped mouse, safe in the owl’s talon, cries/Concordance.” And here I think of Isabella, in Measure for Measure, listening to Angelo’s demand that she “Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;/ Lay by all nicety and prolixious blushes,/ That banish what they sue for,” (MFM, II. iv). The mouse, already torn open, probably being consumed alive while “safe in the owl’s talon” (and here I sense no irony, but feel that there is some nuance beyond shock and contrast I am missing), fits its consent to the owl’s sharp appetite and acknowledges the barbaric harmony of its own destruction.
And what are we to do with the two “suches” — “no such harm/ And no such darkness” — that end the stanza? Our understanding of to what they refer is delayed until the middle of the next, a delay that once again propels us through the poem as we search for the way to the end of understanding. Between us and the conceit we find again the moon, the one that “plucked” the waves in line three and is responsible for the tides that ferry us along. The moon here is mediated by the glass of a window, a barrier between the moon and the interior of the room. that parallels the barrier that the moon provides between us and the meaning of the sentence. The “warping” of the moon also emphasizes the weaving motion that structures the poem, makes it the foundational thread upon which the tapestry will come alive.
Despite the effect of the glass, the distancing of the moon, the distortion to which our lunary satellite is subjected, we find that its power is not watered down. That “selfsame moon,” on whose light we glide into the bedroom, still “sponsors now/ The werewolf’s painful change.” And here we come to the referent for those suches in the previous stanza. There is no harm, no darkness, to compare with the change the man on the bolster is forced to undergo. The metamorphosis to the wolf is simultaneously a betrayal of and a return to different versions of a true self, a change that is less super than natural.
We see the man, like the mouse, already in pain, struggling to retain his former life, his “mood of manhood,” but (again like the mouse), he finally accedes to the inevitable and “lies at last, as always,/ Letting it happen,” a line that disturbingly echoes old “advice” that used to be given (and may still be, for what I know) to women about how to “keep themselves safe” while being raped. The poem takes us through the familiar pattern of comfort (“the fierce fur soft to his face”), mounting tension (“Hearing with sharper ears the wind’s exciting minors”), to threat (“The leaves’ panic”), and finally to violence (“the degradation/ Of the heavy streams.”) Note the return to water, the throw of the shuttle back to where we began.
The next stanza leads us back to a window, but here we start inside, looking out:
Meantime, at high windows Far from thicket and pad-fall, suitors of excellence Sigh and turn from their work to construe again the painful Beauty of heaven, the lucid moon And the risen hunter,
The same themes are iterated here: the division and refusion of man (all the beasts of the poem are male) and the “major freedom” of the worlds of nature and the imagination. The latter has already invaded the minds of these “suitors of excellence”; we learn in the next stanza that the suitors are “Making such dreams for men/ As told will break their hearts as always.” We started the poem with gull-dreams making the ocean, where life began, and circle around to the dreams of men gulling them into thinking they have left the wild behind. But the truth is that all their art, all their dreams, are merely
bringing Monsters into the city, crows on the public statues, Navies fed to the fish in the dark Unbridled waters.
It is the thoughts and fancies of these men that let the wild back into civilization, “bringing/ Monsters into the city, crows on the public statues,/ Navies fed to the fish in the dark/ Unbridled waters.”
And we return to the untamed beasts, to the “unbridled waters,” to all that is out of our control and will, in the end, swallow us whole and force us to “suffer a sea-change/ Into something rich and strange.”**** There is little left for us to do but cry concordance.
Throughout the poem, we readers are placed, like the glass, between the catalytic serenity of the moon and the lunacy and violence its light engenders. As readers, we stand (we think) at a distance, but the rhythms and cadences of the lines sweep us into the flow, into “the degradation/ Of the heavy streams,” and maybe out into the “unbridled waters.” That is the power of a well-wrought poem. There is little left for us to do but cry concordance.
This is what I’m thinking about the poem right now. Next month I might think something else — in an inverse Petruchio, my mind changes even as the moon.*** This poem is woven into my own imagination and it rises with every full moon, sponsors changes in my mind, and inspires dreams in the guts my own self.
Am I the only one waiting for the howling to begin?
Find the “Leave a Comment” option over on the left and let me know.
**“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
“This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?”
***Petruchio: I say it is the moon. Katherina: I know it is the moon. Petruchio: Nay, then you lie. It is the blessèd sun. Katherina: Then, God be blessed, it is the blessèd sun, But sun it is not when you say it is not, And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is, And so it shall be so for Katherine. (The Taming of the Shrew, IV. v.)
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them,—ding-dong, bell.
(The Tempest, I. ii)
The constant denigration by elected officials of our leading researchers, of those who base their arguments on reason and evidence, erodes confidence in the science and research that produce the tested cures we need, that keep us safe from chemicals and pollutants, that track the food we eat. Remember last year when there was a sudden decision to shift USDA researchers from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City? That was an ill-advised move because
“Moving these researchers out of Washington puts them out of earshot from policymakers. A lot of the research that scientists and economists do at [the USDA] has policy implications, and members of Congress need this information and need to have face-to-face meetings with these researchers,” Rebecca Boehm, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Hill.
“It keeps science out of the policymaking process. And we’ve seen many times that this administration doesn’t like facts or research that isn’t convenient or [is] an impediment to their agenda, so I think moving them away helps accomplish that,” she added.³
This separation of policy and science is outlined in a list compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It includes, among many other items, “EPA refuses to Regulate Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water,” “White House Demands Rewriting of CDC’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Schools,” and “Trump Administration Disavows Own Meteorologists for Issuing Factual Statement on Hurricane Dorian.”4
The dangerous disrespect the current administration and other representatives show for the wisdom and advice of science have led to Scientific American, for the first time in its one-hundred-seventy-five-year history, to endorse a candidate for office, and its nod went to Joseph Biden. In the October 2020 issue, the editors explain that
Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.5
Finding out that SA felt it necessary to speak out and take a side feels monumental to me. I appreciate that way that, in normal times, many organizations stay out of politics. But sometimes there is no virtue in silence and neutrality, and we are living in such times.
I’m a humanities person, but I understand the vital role science plays, should play, must be allowed to play in our lives and society. So vote for science, for representatives who respect science and research and who will encourage and support with both words and funding the scientific leaders whose voices must be heard loudly and clearly for our society to survive.
Back in April of this year, the National Geographic magazine for Earth Day was a double-sided issue. One cover bore the title, “How We Lost the Planet”; the flip-side offered “How We Saved the World.” The issue pretty much embodies how I exist these days: in a constant state of flipping between despair and hope.
Today, here in Colorado, the smoke from our own fires mixed with that from California. Early in the afternoon, the air reminded me of growing up in L.A. in the ‘sixties and early ‘seventies. We had “smog days” when we couldn’t go outside, when recess was held indoors and we played “Thumbs Up, Seven Up,” sitting at our desks with our heads down and a thumb up while a classmate would go around and tap a set of kids on the thumb. Once these children were chosen, we would be allowed to pick up our heads while the selected seven tried to guess who had tapped them. It was every bit as exciting as it sounds.
But even on the days when we allowed to play outside, our chests would hurt and sometimes we couldn’t get a full breath. We didn’t think too much about it; that was all we knew. But our parents did and for a while there were effective efforts to mitigate air pollution. The air in L.A.got better, as it did in other cities in America.
Today, my lungs thought they were right back in the L.A. of my youth. Breathing ached; my throat felt scoured; my head ached; my stomach turned sour. And however poor the conditions are here, they are fractionally as awful as California’s.
My husband and I had planned a drive today, just to get out of the house. We made it up high enough to be away from the smoke briefly, but most of the time the cab of the truck was smoke-imbued.
It was difficult to come back down where the smoke blanketed everything like fog, and nothing like fog.
By early afternoon, I was no longer thinking of Los Angeles; I was thinking of Pompeii.
Wildfires are far from the only disasters caused by global warming. Plastic is raining down across the country, including in our delicate, protected preserves; hurricane season is far more dangerous now. The disdain for science so proudly promulgated by politicians and voters will cost us our lovely planet and guess what? There’s not room for all of us on the International Space Station.
In addition, a lot of us are going to be denied the opportunity to be grandparents because of climate change. The next generations are reluctant to bring children into a world that might not be around long enough for their children to live to old age or that will mean they have to live in a wasteland. I don’t have an effective counter-argument for them.
The setting sun and the moon have been orange and lurid for weeks now.
But this evening was the sun was new kind of eerie.
And tonight — tonight the moon is red, a mourning red, an angry crimson.
So vote for our lives, for our home, for our environment, for the continuation of our species, for leaders who will push us to evolve into stewards of the Earth. Vote. Please vote.
Union of Concerned Scientists. “The Connection Between Climate Change and Wildfires.” Updated March 11, 2020.
Gavin Newsom on climate change and California’s wildfires. August 20, 2020.
I found a panel in a comic that seems to encapsulate this moment:
That’s how I feel, too. (You can peruse the whole comic here.)
I keep reading on-line pieces here and there that are versions of “I didn’t want to talk about the COVID-19 situation, but…” (for example, go over to Mountain of Ink and read Kelli’s post on “Quarantine 2020 Ink Palettes.” Be sure to check out the link to the dreaming octopus, too. It’s amazing). I do want to talk about the coronavirus, but am having a difficult knowing what to say. I’ve been trying to walk some line between taking the pandemic seriously enough and not freaking out, but all the confusion, the almost non-existent testing, the lack of support for those fighting this disease, the lethal carelessness of the president and governors —well, freaking out begins to look like the reasonable response.
I continue to use my camera to mark the days and to remind myself there is still much beauty in the world. The moon has gone from this,
and, finally, to this:
There have been sunsets drenched in all kinds of colours:
And after one, long, sleepless night, there was a magnificent sunrise.
It got caught in the reflection and frost on our car’s windows.
In my pjs and coat, I sneaked across the street to the park to watch the sun appear.
The park was full of crows.
You can see one flying low across the field in these two:
The sun tinged the mountains and clouds pink,
made the eastern sky flame,
and stained the tree bark and pine cones russet.
Frost rimed the grass and the soccer field sparkled in the sun.
Spring continues to unfold, just as if there were no corona viruses in the world. The daffodils are rising like the sun and my apple tree begins to put out leaves.
And while most of the blossoms on the peach tree survived,
a few took a hit.
More wintry weather is due this weekend.
I hope you all are staying well and staying at home as much as possible.
And just in time, for those of us who need something else to do while practicing social distancing, comes another #30Inks30Days! (Thanks to Tom Oddo of Ink Journal for coming up with this challenge.) Here’s my first day’s inking:
Today’s Ink is Robert Oster Australian Opal Grey. It’s very much the colours of the clouds that will bring the rain and snow that will endanger my peach blossoms (see my previous post).