I love this, funny that as I am thinking more and more about taking care of our Earth and making changes in my own life, and just off a visit to a family that home-schools their children. You have to watch this video!
There was an accident on a short scenic parkway in our fair town. Sadly there were fatalities. I drive that way on Tuesdays to get to a creative writing class that I am taking. The thing about this highway is that has a very low railroad bridge crossing over it, at 10′ 9″ it is a hazard to tractor trailers, buses and other high vehicles. The accident took place when a double deck bus, a “megabus” hit the railroad bridge. As I drove over this parkway I counted the number of signs on the entrance ramp and all along the short stretch of road leading up to the railroad bridge. Altogether I counted 12 signs, including several alongside the road, large, and small, two stretching over the road, two with flashing yellow lights. And at the bridge itself a very large fluorescent orange stripe runs the entire length of the bottom edge of the bridge. It is not a thin stripe it is large, bright and thick. And posted there is a big sign that says again the height of the bridge. Despite these numerous signs there are many accidents here and as I stated above most recently fatalities, yes plural.
Although this tragedy is not to be taken lightly, nor am I intending to demean either the driver or the passengers of this horrible accident, while I was driving over the route and counting signs, I was thinking about the situation our environment is in. I realized that somewhere along the line the driver was not paying attention to the signs, not reading the signs, not aware perhaps of the height of his own vehicle, just missing it all. And let me tell you it is hard to miss. But then I thought about Global Climate Change, and how it seems like there are a pile of people out there who keep saying, despite the tremendous signage, that it is all a construct of selfish evil scientists and the liberal media. Those are the people I guess who are going to hit the railroad bridge of the Earth not renewing itself with a crashing slam, only to note that indeed there may have been fatalities.
I think it is high time to heed the signs, no more looking into doing a study to figure out how or what or why, just hello, stop driving your damn bus into the crushing reality. We are destroying the Earth as we know it, and um we live here, and um, we might not want to make it uninhabitable. Like Pascal and his ideas about Jesus, (he said something like even if I don’t actually believe Jesus is the Son of God or Jesus is Lord or whatever it is that Christians believe, the consequences of not believing Jesus and then getting to the end of life and discovering oh crap there is a Jesus and if I don’t believe I will go to hell) we might want to act like Global Climate Change is real even if we don’t believe it. So I say let’s act like it is happening, and if we get there with all our best efforts to pretend it isn’t there, just the same as if we actually pretend it is there, then if we get to the big orange stripe and we actually don’t slam into the disaster we will have made our home a nicer place to live.
So how about it you sand loving ostriches. Can we just pretend for a few decades that humans DO have the power to alter the climate of our planet… JUST IN CASE?
We walk along an old dirt road, three woman, four children and four dogs. We are chatting, stopping to look at ponds, and trees and cairns of rocks, and caterpillars. The autumn air is a perfect temperature of not to hot for a good long walk and not to brisk to require a hot drink at the end. Our destination is an old barn at the end of the road, where hikers park their cars. My camera batteries are threatening to be dead, but thankfully they hold out. We stop to look at beaver dams and the chewed ends of a good sized tree. I put my hand on my friends shoulder and tell her I am thinking of her father. She knows why. I learn that the other woman is an art teacher too, and a musician. The children complain about the walk, but run about and have fun. My dog stays by my side and behind us all. On the return trip he runs ahead with the others, children and dogs. Why do children always complain on the front end of a walk about how tired they are and then run ahead on the way home? What a gloriously beautiful tree. And you cannot imagine how HUGE that maple tree was at the end of the walk. One of the biggest I have ever seen.
The skies were cloudy, which was a mirror of my soul as I headed out, the first hour of the drive up to the Adirondacks was made with good time, but the changing leaves slowed me down considerably on the remaining drive. It was like driving through the season, muted and rare color at home, increasingly intense color and more trees in full fall foliage as I drove further and further north. I wanted to take pictures so I stopped in Nobleboro at the joining of West Canada Creek and The Black River. My grandfather was a lumberman and one of my uncles was born in the woods up beyond the unusable bridge leading back into the wilderness. I drove a few miles back in to that broken bridge just for old times sake. When the bridge was open many years ago we would picnic and camp at Haskell’s Rift. A small waterfall in a very cold river with potholes and whirlpools and rapids and deep deep pools.
The Great Sacandaga River was also beautiful and the dog and I stopped to look at the rocks and the trees in the river. He sniffed in the sand and the wild plants while I took photos. By the time I got to my friends house the sun was shining in an intensely blue sky, and my mood too had brightened considerably. Her warm hospitality, her bright and inquisitive children, her happy dogs and her comfortable home always making me feel welcome and at ease. The excellent wine helps too.
I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at a friend’s house. She has been my friend for about 25 years, since we were sophomores in college. She has made the mistake of inviting me to come any time and stay as long as I want. HA! Going to move in. Anyway I had posted about her set up, the solar panels the hybrid vehicles the wood stove I thought I would post some images from her household.
Happy equinox. It is a warm sunny morning. My daughter and I sit outback instead of watching the morning news. By lunch time the rain has come, a warm and misting drizzle. The traffic on the highway leads me in the opposite direction from my usual route and I stop at the bookstore and have a hot chai. It is freezing cold in the store. It is going to be hot for the next couple days, cries the librarian at school when I complain about the AC, its about 70 degrees outside. “HOT” might be 80 with almost no humidity – at least for this area. No really I think we deserve global warming. It is really lovely weather, do we need to chill our buildings to nipple torture temperature, goose bump raising bone chilling? Who sets their winter thermostat to 65 degrees? Most people in this area set it higher. Not me, I would rather wear long underwear and wool socks and a warm sweater. Don’t complain about the cost of heating if you are sitting about in a short sleeved shirt. I wear sweaters all summer long. It just isn’t necessary. It is just wasteful.
The leaves are just starting to change but they seem a little dull. I am going to visit my friend in the Adirondacks the leaves are at about 50% between our two houses. I cannot wait for the long drive through the mountains. The crispy misty autumn mornings surrounded by yellow orange and red leaves, and the toasty warmth of a woodstove to warm my toes by. Her house heated by woodstove, and lit by solar panels, she has an on demand water heater, and a hybrid car and (because you cannot be up north in NY state and not have one (a hybrid SUV) lives on a dirt road. Home schools her kids. What a life….one I have always dreamed about. It should be a nice drive. It should be a nice weekend. Fiber arts festival too, in the Adirondack Museum.
Up at 4:45 am, Wii boxing for half hour, hard ride on exercise bike 1/2 hour, walk dog 10 minutes.
One of my favorite students back from Cuba. Big hugs.
Crisp cool morning, warm sun, chill breeze afternoon, typical traffic all over the city ridiculous waste of life, no construction just orange cones blocking the lanes.
Apple picking and pumpkin buying with my beautiful daughter who is making pie crust. Avoided the bees. (Lost my epipen)
Homemade fudge. Cider slushy.
Crispy autumn afternoon.
Space bar needs extra whacks.
I want to knit.
I want to impart some astounding words of wisdom but I cannot, my head is pounding, despite working on gigantic mug of strong black coffee #2. The damp and chilly autumn morning stirred me to make popovers which I can smell their toasty goodness wafting upstairs as I write. The headache threatens to ruin it. My house feels warm and cozy with the storms clipped on in the back where I haven’t yet replaced the windows with ones that actually keep out the cold (and the ice that builds up inside the house). My plants now nestled in their winter spots look so lush and green from being outside in the sun and rain all summer. I push aside the curtain and look at my tidied back porch rug rolled and cleaned, chairs set up to be used on warm winter mornings cozy and snug against the house.
I have this desire to talk about what matters, and then this idea that what I am feeling right now matters most of all, but I cannot express or explain it. It is as though I am sweeping out some ideas that were encapsulated in spider silk in a hidden corner of my mind. I want to winterize my mind and my heart to the people who mean well but do damage none the less. I imagine the little dumb things they say that irritate me as being like clouds of breath coming out and I close my curtains to keep them from freezing me. There is this sense of pulling a veil over my face not to hide myself from predating eyes, but to protect myself from the ugliness of the world. And here for a moment I think of steampunk, and the goggles and the gas masks and I can see how they are so popular in story and movie culture. This sense of keeping the ugliness from entering you.
My home is organized mostly, not alot of clutter, some areas hidden from view could use a good clearing out, places where I get creative need to be cleaned and stripped bare in order to make room for new ideas, but generally the inside of my house is sound. And right now I only want to invite in visitors who will not wave their finger in front of my nose chastising me, nor people who stand hands on hips with their noses in the air, nor people who think they have a right to dictate what should go on inside my house. Rather I am looking for people that will come in, sit down and have a cup of coffee, a meal, and rest awhile with me. Without judgment.
Coffee made and the dog following me around. I look at the clock and it is a quarter to 7. Ah what the hell I say. Put on my sweatpants and a sweatshirt and my old flip flips and head out the door. The dog in tow. It is a typical New York fall morning, the dew is heavy on every surface and the air smells clean. There is a crisp quality to the air, the city is quiet. The guy at the gas station where I get money from the ATM is chatty. We discuss our respective sleep disorders, how lovely it is at this time of day. How quiet.
The Farmers Market is not busy at all at this time of day. The local growers are friendly and smiling. The sun is still low on the horizon. As I walk along I run into my Uncles who have been together for probably close to 40 years. I recognize them instantly but always have to introduce myself to them. They are not close to the family, too many hurt feelings, too many rednecks who are insensitive to the gays. I don’t care, two of my best friends are gay.
I come home with honey, jelly, cukes, peppers, zucchini, and crab apples for making crab apple pickles. I hope I can find my great aunt Arlie’s recipe some place. The sun is up and the yard needs work, and I have a couple loads of laundry to hang on the line. It is a beautiful day.
My Mom just corrected me, aunt Arlie was the dill pickle. Great Grandma C. was the crab apple pickle.
I think I want to be a ginger pickle.
Well I moved my living room around. I still say I need a big comfy cushy puffy chair, but at least now I have comfortable-ish chair and love seat next to the front window. The pull out couch is really too big for the spot I put it in, but it is a small sacrifice to make for the reward.
The autumn air is chilly. I get up in the middle of the night, my daughter sees the light on and enters my room, the dog on her heels. Why are you up Mama? Then she sees me putting another blanket on the bed. I am really cold but so are the cat and the dog. He snuggles up against me and the cat burrows in on the other side. I pull my hood of my sweatshirt up and burrow deep into the blankets. I think I may have to get out my flannel sheets soon but am afraid I may be pushing the season.
I decide to wear my black cotton chinos to work with a pale blue shirt. I tend to wear a lot of black so many people complement the unusual blue. One of my students comes in and tells me I look beautiful today. Which makes me smile.
Later the school psychologist stops me to tell me how impressed her intern was with how I handle a little boy who is quite aggressive and gets into a lot of trouble.
Later I show my colleagues the brochure I am making for Open House asking for feedback. It needs to look good and it is also something I am doing for the team we are all on together. They love it.
As I leave work for a moment I remember him meeting me in the parking lot with a coffee before he would head off to the lab or I off to some appointment, for a moment my stomach flips.
I look at these things today and although they feel good I find myself not really holding stock in it today. Morgan comes in and I am sitting on the sofa, I feel a little withdrawn. I don’t know why. She puts her arms out and her warm and strong hug feels good.
I take a picture of myself and I see that the sparkle is back in my eye. I hadn’t realized it was there, but it is clear. It has been exactly two years since he packed his bags and walked out. I feel sad, I miss him so much, but then again I don’t because to be perfectly honest I feel more beautiful, and I like myself better without him.