Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Signs and Omens

Wild ageratum is blooming right now, an impossible color to photograph..."granny blue"
I think grannies wore that color so much just because it was unusual in nature and hard to reproduce and so somehow powerful. Gandma Lillian called it "fairwell to summer". The grannies used an entirely different nomenclature. I was fascinated by the common names in use by the grannies in Michigan vs. the grannies in Tennessee, so much so that I would take my notebook and specimens and interview them and wrote it all down, lost now I suppose...but the granny memories are some of my best.

My ex used to get on my case about my affection for omens. I like observing and interpreting omens, I see them as nothing more than a form of poetry, a way to express some deeper meaning in words and images. I don't relegate them to the corner with superstition and anti-intellectual behavior, but then, it could be because he was very white, and my ancestry is slightly brown and I think our ancestry sets the beat for the music of our enterainment, the background music of our relationship with the world.
So there was this rain, 3 inches in some areas...around 1 inch here in the holler. That was a week or so ago. Everyone whoo-haaed and the powers that be decided all was well and the media moved on. This amount does not begin to make up a yard deep deficit. The creeks are all still dry, the water restrictions still in place and we are still flushing and showering with a bucket and hauling water for the animals...and I plumb gave up on a fall garden.
Yesterday I walked down to the what was left of the watering hole in the now dried up creek below the culvert.
I knew what I would find, but, hey, just checking, leaving room for a miracle.... It is right ugly, no matter how you look at it. Lots of thirsty critter tracks and mud licking going on. The rest of the creek is long dried up, a coating of white mineral and sage colored dried algae.
I hear a lot of talk on the news using phrases like "risk management energy strategies consulting."
I can't seem to take a walk without ticking off species destruction, tallying rising biodiversity risk factors, noticing microclimate destruction/evolution on a meteoric scale, right here, right now, right in front of my eyes and all I am doing is looking for signs of normalcy.
I thought that things had a chance of recovery after the "big freeze," but the double whammy of this cursed and unending drought is different than the hardships that the grannies experienced. They could count on the seasons, another one would roll around and it would "fix right" the freak happening. I am off kilter and feel discordant without the metronome of the season. I carry a weight in my chest that even a cold beer at the end of hard days work won't ease. I am sick of the drought and sick of the mourning and sick of the body count. I am so heartsick, that it is even difficult to put in a hard days work, as in, what's the frigging point?
So I sit down at the edge of the former water hole, and watch a single tiny forlorne bluet butterfly hover listlessly...there is not even enough moisture to satisfy a little bluet, and hey, where are his buddies, anyway? Bluets are normally cheerful gangs over the nutrient rich mud, so "where is everybody?" A cry I have uttered on every walk in the woods for months now......and thats when I start the heartsick crying, again, and I am sick of that, too. I have always been described as a "tough ol' sister" and I figured I always got that toughness from the woods, guess that was true, as it is gone now, too...my toughness lost the battle when the woods lost the battle.
I start back along the dusty and dried up pasture mule-path and through teary eyes spy, right in the middle of a particularly dusty spot ...an amazing thing! A one of a kind, not seen anywhere in this portion of Tennessee in this screwed up season of a screwed up year, a single, beautiful, perfect acorn!
I took it as a sign.


Dave September 25, 2007 at 7:57 AM  

Wow, you folks really have it bad! We're in drought, too, but nothing compared to you. Also, we didn't get the freeze, so we do have a pretty good acorn crop. Still, I know that heartsick feeling very, very well. (And as luck would have it, I was just writing about poetry and omens yesterday.)

Cady May September 26, 2007 at 1:59 PM  

Thanks dave for the sympathy! (I'll take some mint tea to go with that, too, thank you!)
I went back and read your post, it might even take another reading, it is very rich in word and content, like omens themselves...can't be said with a just a few words, or maybe that is the poets game!

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