The first glimpse out the window this morning was the Maine coast winter in blacks, and whites and grays, the first day in a week there’s been relative quiet in terms of wind and wave.
In California it was browns that dominated with fringes of bright spring greens popping up here and there, the long parched earth awakening in days and days of rain. The tree bark was deepened brown, the rising river swollen and overflowing, muddy brown, deceptively lumbering along. The scents in the air were stronger than any colors—perfume soaked lavenders and rosemary sweetness mingling with intensity along with the more astringent scents of junipers carried in the moisture laden air, my breath coming in gulps taking in the loveliness of it.
There’s been rain on both coasts. Winter rain now melts each new fallen snow on the southern coast of Maine as temperatures rise along the rocky shores of the Atlantic. On Pacific shores and inland California the rain seemed deceptively soft and gentle, except perhaps for a few rolling thunder—blue flash—storms feeling like the sleeping giant was awakening, a lush sound as it rolled over the hills, alive born out of scarcity both of such storms but also of wetness itself, but the rain fell for days, the mostly soft and steady drizzle looking tame to an Easterner struggling to understand the composition of compacted soils and the hard pressed geography of steep grades or builds everywhere meeting crushing human population needs. Long droughts had meant endless days of glorious sunshine unless you were growing things and understood the suffering of sentient beings, plant and animal, with whom you share the land. The water triggered whatever the drought conditions or the fires had begun and the populous media reported what was seen as geographic locations dictated the results of this water falling, falling, falling from the skies..
Flooding rains equate tree death, in some species more prone than others. In the city or on winding semi-rural roads being in the proximity of trees was a named hazard. Last night so far away, I woke from an early evening dream. The details were of clearing a California house before flood waters grew higher or was it in California? In this dream the neighbor’s house on the shore in Maine was paid a visit to see how her house was fairing in the rising water. This highly detailed dream included snippets of my exhaustion and fear of the rising water situation and I cannot say if the house’s location was East or West.
Water, water everywhere except where it isn’t. An article I read this week named Wisconsin as currently the safest place in terms of present and future climate change issues. Lookout Wisconsin! Climate refugees may soon pour into your state which will also change (nearly) everything. There is no room for smugness anywhere on the planet. Our turn must be back toward caring for and about each other and embracing stewardship of the lands we inhabit.
Am I writing gloom and doom? I don’t think so. It was a privilege to be in California when the rains came. Our Earth is wanting to heal. I relished bearing witness. I see our job as paying attention and doing what we can to rectify the part we humans play in this process. In California I was trying to do that in an unknown geography with my “fresh eyes” or watching to see what I could learn in a landscape I did not understand. However I don’t really understand the coastal geography of the Coastal NorthEast either although I’ve been watching for over six years. Scientists have “answers” (or theories) but I often find their explanations lacking in the accepted dispassionate delivery. We humans are not apart from the process now underway.
If we are viewing “climate change” as a negative situation which is getting in our way of living life the way we know and want to continue, we might want to pause and recalibrate. What if we are sitting on the edge of vast changes for the better? I’m often accused of being a downer. I suspect this is cover for a vast desire to move to higher ground in both metaphorical and physical ways. Our Earth, our Gaia, is sentient as are we and all the living forms upon it. It’s time for a greater understanding delivered with large doses of relationship. love, and caring. Mourn the death of trees and actively involve yourself in all the ways you see fit.