As the rivers dry up and lakes become ponds we are finding things we never thought we would see. An old warship in Europe, dinosaur footprints, cars and, sadly, the bones of some. We stop momentarily to marvel at these discoveries, then withdraw to our homes where we hope we can escape the heat, our air conditioners working overtime, the power plants strained. Yet we never stop to think that the day may be too soon coming when it will be our bones littering the landscape, victims of our own abuse of the planet we thought that we held dominion over.
First published in OUR CHANGING EARTH: Vol.1. The Poet. 2023.
Here we measure seasons by small changes in temperature and for one, heavy rainfall.
We are the calendar reliant, otherwise left to look at the moon and count to ascertain roughly
what month it might be, but we now live in a solar calendar world so our lunar efforts are necessarily doomed to failure.
And holidays are different here, Christmas has no snow, so we decorate our palms and perhaps have inflatable snowmen or reindeer, and hang icicles from our gutters as a reminder of what winter is for so many other than us.
Once the winter stars wrapped in their cloudy shroud shed frozen tears, unwilling to come out of hiding. We searched for them in vain, knowing our failure, retreating to the warmth of home, only to repeat the failed effort on so many other nights.
Now, here, the winter stars are usually fearless, some drowned by the moon, but she waxes and wanes and they reappear, the brightest never fearing the chilled sky. We stare at them in wonder having forgotten for so many years just how beautiful they can be in their glory.
The rain came sideways today, or almost so. The cat decided that if she needed a bath, she’d give it to herself and opted to watch the storm through the sliding glass door to the lanai. When it ended, she ventured back out, checking out the various and sundry chairs, all hers she assumes, and settled for the recliner in the inner corner, as much for dryness as comfort, but clearly offering both. She invited us out to join her, but all of the other seats were damp from the storm. She didn’t see what that was a problem, she had only the one coat, we could change clothes any time we wanted. We decided to watch her through the sliding glass door.
It is the Italian season in the southeast. This has nothing to do with the country, its food or language. Well a bit to do with food. It is hurricane season here, and when a storm arises, you can be certain most of us begin to scan the web for information, for weather can quickly become our nightmare. But NOAA and others know we are thristy for information, and perhaps that almost everyone loves Italian food, so they feed us ever changing, ever shifting spaghetti models. Pass the red sauce please.
I still have the tie I wore to m grandmother’s funeral, one I conducted, but the suit from that day is long gone, and just as well, for it would be several sizes too large for the present me.
I’ve only worn the tie once since that rainy day in Maryland and then to a wedding to balance out the sadness with a bit of joy, the tie deserved at least that for standing with me in the downpour, urging me to recite the ancient prayers as quickly as possible.
The clouds build slowly, turning the sky from blue to ever darkening shades of gray. He hopes it will rain, rain heavily, as the ground is parched, the wetland a bog, and the birds have moved on in search of water. He watches the build up, the clouds accreting, and he waits for the first drop of water. The clouds begin to dissipate, the sun peeks through widening gaps, and the sky is soon blue again. And in the distance he thinks he hears a voice whispering “you know mother nature is a cranky old broad, right?”
In the heart of winter, then, which seemed unending I would stare out at the maples barren branches piled in ever tottering snow and dream of palm trees and a warm ocean breeze.
In heart of winter now, such as it is, all I see are endless palms and many Southern Live Oaks, their branches piled under a heavy burden of sagging Spanish Moss and I dream of the simple beauty of the maple leaf shifting from its deep green to its endless shades of autumn beauty.