31 March 2014

Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind

When I was a student in the 1970s the term acid rain cropped up and made its way into our rebellious conscience where we stored it together with all the other stuff which was proof to us that our parent's generation was the root of all evil. Nadanadanada. 

I still have a cutting, an old cartoon from the taz, wrinkled recycled paper, speckled with holes from the various thumbtacks used to pin it on noticeboards above my changing variety of desks throughout the years. It depicts a dreary landscape, barren fields with broken tree stumps, cars and fumes, heavy skies. In the center, a grandfatherly man bends down to a crying child who looks at him with trust and sadness and he says: Believe me, if we had known that driving cars kills trees, we would have stopped immediately!

My father would let out one of his furious snorts whenever he noticed it. In his opinion, this was too emphatic and obviously over simplifying complex issues that will be solved in due course by this advanced society - in which I was for reasons beyond his comprehension and patience unable to participate and pull my proper weight.

But that was then and look, acid rain treaties have been signed and well, yawn.

Last night I was listening to Bruce Springsteen, the double album we bought in 1980. At a time when we were always broke but so full of ourselves, the communes, the organic gardens, food co-ops, alternative education for our home born kids. Life was one long line of exciting rallies, fundraising concerts, peace camps, pickets all the way to utopia and oh, the fun we had.

Anyway, this was the song:


And somewhere into the second verse, all R could say was, quite the carbon footprint, driving all night to buy some shoes. And then he said as a by the way remark, life has caught up with us.

And so it has. We have failed. In our arrogance as a species. Today we have been told. But again we fail because seriously, do we actually read that stuff? Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind. The what? Humankind. That's us, remember?

Today I am scared. And furious. But mainly scared. I would dearly love to share in the enthusiasm of Rob Hopkins et al. but right now I agree with Paul Kingsnorth:

27 March 2014

the market in March

all the way from Spain
the first local harvest

last year's onions

all the way from Italy

the hard green ones

delicious wild garlic

the first asparagus of the year

tulips everywhere

25 March 2014

depth over distance

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow.

Dalai Lama

A short wintry interlude in this eternal spring.  Could I get a battery indicator, somewhere discretely on the inside of my lower left arm, so that I don't run myself against the walls the next time I think I should be superwoman? Gently flashing in soft pink of green when it's time for a recharge. I am apparently too stupid stubborn to recognise The Signs.

16 March 2014

So yes, this winter has been exceptionally mild and yes, I loved that. Weather wise it has been easy. But other than that. Not so good. Be patient, I tell myself. Things will get better, this stubborn dry cough will ease eventually, your intestines will one day remember how to digest food in general, and all the other loose ends will fall into place, incl. that irritating lack of energy. And so on. I know, even my own eyes get this glazed look when my health is mentioned. 
So predictably repetitive.

But then again, what if this is the shape of things to come? Oh well. Let's not make a mess of it at least. Let's try.

Meanwhile, my inner hibernophile is getting ready for the day tomorrow, just mentally, mind you. Nothing green, no shamrocks or whatnots. I asked my personal Irish prince how to say happy st. patrick's day as gaeilge in Irish, and he said: couldn't give a fuck.
So there. At least I am ready.

This is the story behind the song.

12 March 2014

4 am

You can never tell what it will be like. Could be the clearest moment, silent, calm, hopeful. Could be a dark hole to curl up in, lost and shaking like a hunted animal. That endless stretch of time just before dawn and the first birds. When everything is so much larger, echos inside my head, the drum of my heartbeat all the way to my fingertips.
Sometimes, too many thoughts, swirling and hammering inside my mind, are forcing me to still them with my breath. Other times, I am floating, thinking if this is it, so what.
And always. Daylight, slowly, miraculously.

Last night, my mind was writing a thank you letter to Colm Tóibin. I told him that I read almost everything he has written so far, from back in the days when he had a full head of hair to the first chapter of his latest book. I especially thanked him for writing this:
She ... made her tea as though it were an ordinary Monday and she could take her ease. She put less milk than usual into the scalding tea and made herself drink it, proving to herself that she could do anything now, face anything.
And  before I knew it, I told him about the silent darkness and how one day when I was feeling really low, my child called from the other side of the planet and put on her giraffe costume.

And how this made everything alright  again. Because.


10 March 2014

A spring Sunday bordering on summer. The butterflies that were completely absent throughout last year have for some reason chosen early March to make an appearance. And why not, it is after all unseasonally mild after this non-winter. 

There is a rambling sweet pea flowering and I want to say, you are an annual, I planted you out last May, what are you still doing here?

We are still at the kale harvesting stage. Mentally.

But what the heck, we can play this game too, let's pretend it's April and put out the seedlings.

In brightest sunshine, we said good bye to the Douglas fir.

And hello to the new red chestnut.

And in memory of my more rebellous past I manufactured 50 little seed bombs ready to be distributed around the duller parts of town on a rainy and dark night.

While the amaryllis is trying her best to call us back indoors.

Earlier in the day, there were long calls between countries and continents. One of the family has died after a long illness. Someone else's mother, a cousin, an aunt, a friend. There was sadness and relief and the need to talk with the ones we love. And since then, my heart has been whispering to me. I miss my child.

05 March 2014

mid term

First, I get to cut R's hair. The beard he does himself. Next, we go into the woods to loosen limbs and brain cells. And to find more signs of a very early spring.

After that, the house is full of builders, an old tree is felled, a new one is planted, the cat goes into hiding, and my balance organs shut down.

04 March 2014