To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world. This capacity predates modernity.
~ Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Caretaking is the utmost spiritual and physical responsibility of our time, and perhaps that stewardship is finally our place in the web of life, our work, the solution to the mystery that we are. There are already so many holes in the universe that will never again be filled, and each of them forces us to question why we permitted such loss, such tearing away at the fabric of life, and how we will live with our planet in the future.
~ Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World
In the early morning, just at sunrise, a white-tailed deer walks out of Zeke’s woods and over to the pond where white clover is growing along the bank. Last year, the herd (the mob, the bunch, the parcel, the rangale) of deer did a good job of eating most of the clover. It might take a while to come back. There are still patches of it growing here and there, and the biggest patch is along the edge of the bank of the pond.
The doe slowly makes her way along the edge and I am able to get a good look at her. Her belly is big and round. A new fawn, perhaps two, will be joining the rangale of deer soon. There is already a little one hiding in the woods. M saw her a few days ago while out on his walk. He said she looked so small and new. I imagine we’ll be seeing her in a few weeks, out and about with the rest of the mob.
After the last hunting season, we were left with five does (that we know of). The bucks, of course, rarely come around where we can see them. If there are babies, there must be bucks around here somewhere. It will be interesting to see how many babies are born this year. Will they replenish the herd?
The past week has been cool, cloudy, and terribly windy. Today is the first day we’ve seen blue sky and sun, and that didn’t last long. There was the slightest chance of rain in our forecast for last night and this morning. “Slightest chance” was bigger than predicted. It stormed this morning, dropping about 1.5 inches of rain in a short amount of time. Aside from the thunder and lightning waking me up at 4 AM, it was good. We needed more rain. The last round of rain wasn’t quite enough. The earth dried up quickly and the plants were beginning to droop again.
I’ve been writing little essays as part of a writing workshop. Small bits about land that has shaped me and how it has shaped me. I have been trying to puzzle out the pieces of my childhood. My memory has big holes in it, and it is like watching a slideshow that goes by too fast, one that pauses every now and then allowing me to grab a glimpse of one of the scenes. Here is one such scene (following the prompt to write it as if I am there, now):
Someone sits me down on the ground in the shade of a weeping willow tree. The branches are covered with bright green, lance-like leaves, and they hang all around me like a curtain. There is a breeze swinging the tree-curtain, allowing the sunlight and shadows to dance in between the leaves and branches, light dappling around me on the ground. I sense both warmth and coolness. and I sense protection, as if the tree is watching over me.
Only later did I learn that this memory is from when I was only 2-1/2 years old when my parents briefly rented a house on Woodpecker Lane. The weeping willow resided on a corner of the property and as I grew older, whenever we’d drive by the house, I would wave to the tree. I had a strange sort of longing for the tree, the way you would miss and long for an old friend. The tree was eventually cut down. I’m not sure why. I’ve read that the average lifespan of a weeping willow is about 30 years. Perhaps it had lived its fullest life and it was time to go.
It took me a while of scrolling through the archives to find a decent photo of a weeping willow tree. This one, from a 2011 visit to Holden Arboretum in NE Ohio, has a bench and a gnome under it.
Given my love for weeping willows, I thought I might have plenty of photos of them. I don’t. What I also find strange is that I have never planted one. I think perhaps it is time I did. I don’t know what the future will hold but I do believe that the pond would benefit greatly by having a weeping willow tree next to it. I know they are not native. We do try to plant mostly native plants and trees. I don’t think the land here or the pond will mind that it is an immigrant. I know I certainly won’t.
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with me today. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset. I don’t know if there will be much of a sunset to see. The clouds can’t decide whether to stay or go, and there is another chance of rain in the forecast. Sunset this evening is scheduled for 8:05 PM. It’s quite warm so I doubt you’ll need a jacket. The breeze off the water will probably feel good. Nature’s air conditioning.
Please be safe, be well, and speak the good words to yourself and to others.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,011) A good soaking rain. 2,012) Peonies and irises in bloom. 2,013) A world in which there are weeping willow trees. 2,014) A break from the news cycle. I’ll go back to it soon, maybe. In the meantime, I’m enjoying minding my own business. 2,015) Writing workshops and prompts. Listening to other authors talk about their work and writing process.