I’ve been out watering the gardens and window boxes. We are in the midst of a prolonged period of warm, dry weather. We’ve even had a couple of record warm days this past couple of weeks, and may have more this coming week. The gardens have slowed down, although the peppers and green beans are still producing abundantly. The grass continues to grow, long after we would normally pretty much forget about it.
The maple tree outside our office window has turned red, although there remain areas of green and the reds are not at their full intensity yet. A few other trees have begun to turn, yet green still far predominates the landscape. We may be a week away from astronomical fall, but summer shows few signs of moving aside to let the cold season in.
All of this would be welcome, even celebrated, were it not against the background of climate change. We enjoy the warmth before the cold, but are also aware that it fits a pattern that is now worldwide. Even as we bask in a long late summer, we are aware that it may well portend large challenges to come.
Over the past few years we have planted morning glories along the banister that parallels our front walkway. This summer we are gloriously overrun by cascades of flowers, some of which we planted in the spring, while many are the result of self-seeding. It is a joy to look down from the porch, or to walk up the stars from the street. (Actually, given my Polio legs I seldom do the latter; I am told it is great fun!)
Jennie is in the air, jetting towards India as I write. I had planned to go to India and Hong Kong, and have been relishing time with friends, new places to visit, and great food. Then, after our much-needed and delayed vacation to Italy in May, I developed new hip and leg weakness. Walking has been rather like being on a boat at sea, much wobbling and swaying back and forth. Fortunately, the symptoms have abated somewhat, and the accompanying pain is more under control.
The good folks at the Polio clinic thought my new problems were brought on by long flights and over use, so strongly encouraged me to cancel my trip, unless I could fly First class or Business. That was not possible, although family did what they were able to get me bumped up; I am most grateful to them! The upshot of this is that I am home. We’ve put the word out to the Polio community and have received advice from around the world, pretty amazing in itself! Next time we want, or need, to fly further than Europe, we will try to break up the trip with frequent layovers.
As we tried to parse out travel plans, we were reminded that air travel contributes to climate change, abet arguably far less than electrical generation. We are confronted with the paradox that even as we work on issues such as climate change, disability rights, and institutionalized violence against women and minorities, especially Indigenous people, we do harm to our environment. There is, indeed, no free lunch.
So, even as summer lingers, change is underway, both in our lives and in the natural world, of which we are inevitably a part. We shall see where this change takes us.