Tide of Humanity

The rain that summer
came in endless waves,
flooding down grass,
soaking furniture
and undermining whole swing sets
and we
hardly acknowledged it at all.

The mould under some chins drew comments
it’s true
but there was little to
  disrupt the life of our party.

And we laughed
and clinked our glasses
  of imported Douro Port
  heatedly discussing global warming
  and all those other current events.
  As if we knew
  what happened.

But we were all caught
  and this stump of
  pencil is giving out
  like the light from my last candle stub.

It won’t be long before scavengers
  find me.
But the food’s almost gone
  so there it will have been.

Another wave
  washes away the footprints
  and, then, nothing.




Fall is officially here and I can feel it in the mornings when I bike to work. I wear a jacket and gloves to work but usually have them off when I return home. The days are beautiful, though, with wonderfully blue skies and warmth in most afternoons. The weather just seems so screwed up lately. I mean with so much rain and cool days this summer and now beautiful days for the fall. Since it is only day to day weather it’s difficult to judge whether this is global warming or not. Of course Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth shows alarming evidence for warmer summers coming more often but this summer is an aberration that way. But I think it’s only a weird oddity and that Global Warming is going to be an unenviable fact for our children’s and grand children’s lives.
As we’re in an election here in Canada, we’ve been hearing a lot about the environment. I’ve heard a lot of criticism about the proposed carbon tax of the liberals. The NDP and Green’s have similar ideas. I’m not sure about the PC’s but I wouldn’t trust them to follow through anyway. I feel strongly that any avoidance of a carbon tax or pollution penalty is so irresponsible as to be near criminal. There will have to be some kind of economic reckoning soon no matter what we decide. Certainly we will be faced with our children thinking we have been incredibly selfish and shortsighted. I’m positive they’ll be in the midst of having to be make far more devastating sacrifices for our lack of responsibility for our tiny, crowded planet.  So as we move into the season of fall I think about the biblical fall and how, perhaps, it might be actually a prophecy and not an account of the past.  Maybe we’re losing our paradise right now because of our sins of failed stewardship.

If a tree falls on our street does anybody hear?

Most emphatically Yes!
A few weeks back some young men representing city officials showed up on our street and cut down a healthy maple which was somewhere between 60 and 80 years old. I don’t want to tell the story about how this happened although I strongly believe an article should be written in our local paper about it. There is an important cautionary tale to be heard here. Especially since it was, at best, a stupid mistake. At worst it could be something darker… maybe like a criminal interest in firewood. The house owners aren’t sure they want the story told so I’m not going to.
No. I’m going to write about the impact on me.
I wasn’t there to see this tree fall so I can’t answer Bruce Cockburn’s question about hearing it. I certainly heard the impact on neighbours and saw how this amazing shade bringer (which our short street is well known for) cracked the side walk as it came thundering down. Like it was outraged. I saw how the stump oozed life-giving water and nutrients for at least a week after it was cut down. It was a violation. That’s how I feel: my neighbourhood has been violently violated. And just so needlessly.
Perhaps this is a little thing in a world where people are going hungry (needlessly), rain forests are being cut down (needlessly) and the climate is being raped (needlessly) in the self-imposed wrist-slashing we call global warming (notice how it’s not ‘human-imposed global warming’ but rather something that sounds like we weren’t responsible). Maybe it’s a blessing to the tree to be taken down before it parches its way through a slow death due to climate change. Maybe I am just (needlessly) annoyed at a little less shade during the hot years to come. Maybe I don’t like the (needlessly) possible impact on my property value.
But to me it’s more. Not to go too deep ecology or anything but this was an organism older than most humans on our street. Mr. Maple deserved to live as much as I or you did. Well that’s just crazy talk, that is. Maybe. But as I ride up the street these mornings, beside the tangible lacks, there’s something… something else… that’s missing.