August

August_TomatoesThe last few days have been windy with the occasional blustery, mostly dry, storm. The breeze swishes trough the trees, making a sound that mimics the locus.  Now and then, the locus sing in the morning sun.

August has settled in, along with a steady heat. Folklore suggests the heat is tied to the Perseid meteor shower, which comes along at mid-month each year. Looking further ahead, the long range forecast is for warm, dry conditions and a poor fall foliage season. A couple of good, strong tropical systems would likely change that, so we shall wait and see.

Sometimes the our human world is a perplexing place. In Rio, the Olympics are well underway, although if you watched U.S. television you might think we were the only country who sent athletes. I find this odd insistence on “American exceptionalism” disturbing as well as boring. As I watch the games, I wonder how we have arrived at the point where we are both isolated from, and in competition with, the rest of the world,  themes that appear to govern our political discourse.

Of course, the natural world utterly refuses to be governed by national sentiments or borders. Ecosystems and climate are much to complex to be understood by conversations situated in the nation-state. The very notion that one country’s good should guide, or worse, govern, ecosystem and climate management seems to miss the idea at the center of ecological thinking, that the entire world is one interconnected system in which actions in one locale effect all other locales. There are no longer, if there ever were, purely local actions.

I believe ecological considerations apply to the spirits as well. Lately we have found ourselves being asked more frequently to help folks address problems caused by displeased spirits. Often we are called only after any number of individuals or groups have tried to drive the offending spirits away, as if Ghost Busters could be a model for operating in the real world. Things are more complex than that, as becomes evident when one thinks about the problem. After all, where might a displaced spirit go, and what might they then do? Is exorcism simply moving the problem from one location, and recipient, to another?

In a world where everything is interconnected, actions taken without a consideration for context become increasingly problematic. So do ideas of unlimited abundance; there really is a limited amount of energy available to each system, and therefore, the way said energy is distributed does matter. Maybe these ideas are just too hard for us humans to grasp, even as our continued existence probably demands we do.

Here in Vermont folks have always known that come August winter can’t be too far behind. August brings the beginnings of the harvest, and with it, the work of preparing for the long winter to come. Now that we grocery stores that give us access to food year around, much of that preparatory pressure is off. We shall see whether we can hold on to the wisdom that goes with living with a place and its seasons.

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5 thoughts on “August

  1. Great post that left me thinking of a few things-interest in the displeased spirits issue.
    The coming Perseid meteor as I’ve recently been contemplating whether to stay up for it again-illness and recent sleep problems come into play, and also how the natural world ignores borders: this made me think of the book that I’m currently reading, A Prayer For Owen Meany, in a scene where two of the characters drive up to see the American-Canadian border, and notice how the same pine trees grow on either side.

  2. Very fine post! Like you said ecological problems are no longer local. A few years ago a man who owns a large second home on the side of the lake wrote a letter to the editor explaining, the lake is really only a widening of the river. He went on to explain that whatever we dump into it will be quickly washed away. This type of thinking is much more common than one may think. I see it everyday living near the two lakes that feed the Columbia River. It is shameful. The problems of the world sometimes seem too big and we forget we can make a difference right where we stand. Take care, Michael. I hope you see a few shooting stars over the next few days. Bob

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