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5:29 p.m. - 2013-05-28
Environment.

Sigh...another rainy day in Paradise. Mind you the cool weather and explosive growth of my yard friends (trees, flowers, berry bushes) is fab, but it's been going on since late February and the nearly constant cloud cover and drizzle is unsettling. Worrisome. Climate change is real and it's upon us. Anyone who says different is deliberately ignoring the evidence. First the ice skating went away. When I was growing up right here in this very same place ice skating was a given. From Thanksgiving until Groundhog's Day. Always. Some of my favorite memories from back in the day are of pushing myself along bumpy pond ice, toe picks digging, catcalling to my friends who'd gone sprawling then taking a spill myself and laughing it off because I was a kid and anyhow the thick padding of my snow pants meant putting my bum down on the ice in such an abrupt way didn't hurt a lick. Even into my oh-so-cool teen years I skated. Now in jeans and a really cute ski jacket, but the ice was there.

My sons do not know how to ice skate.

Not once during their growing up years has there been a winter with consistent enough cold for the ponds to freeze deeply and long enough for my boys to learn how to ice skate.

Oh, for certain we've had snow. Bad snow. 'Use up all the scheduled snow days and then some' kinds of snow. Just ask the barren stumps that used to be my arborvitae hedgerow and the poor battered maples and magnolias in my yard, and the dogwood on the fence line over by Flo's that was peeled in half down to the ground by the weight of the snow three years ago during the February Snowpocylapse and they'll tell you about snow.

But cold? The sustained kind of cold which was normal for around here for hundreds of years right up until the 1980s? Nope. Cold that made for good skating ice and killed off the vermin- plant, insect and animal? Nope. Doesn't happen. The weather has gone weird.

Nah, nah, nah. Do NOT get in my grille about 500 year warming and ice age cycles and such. I'm with George Carlin on this in that the Earth will go on spinning just fine no matter what kind of fuckery we dopey humans visit upon it. That's the stone truth. When we talk about planetary change to the environment what we really mean is we've made things uncomfortable for us. The people. The Earth doesn't care. Molten seas and a thin methane atmosphere, dinosaurs, asteroid-induced nuclear winter, the comfy temperate climate for the last 60,000 years that's enabled the rise of us monkeys with weapons and flat-screen TVs, whatever. The planet doesn't care who or what is crawling around on its skin. Why should it? This ball of mud will continue its trip around the sun for a long, long, long time after we humans finish the job of offing ourselves with our filth and genetically modified seeds and toxic waste and war.

What worries me is that my children don't know how to ice skate.

The Byrds and Ecclesiastes spoke about how everything has a season. True enough. But what we humans have done with our deforestation, and fossil-fuel cars, and our messy ways of producing electricity (Coal? Acid rain? Nuclear? Fukushima, anyone? Heck, even the damming of our rivers for hydroelectric power has made a big dent in the ecosystem), shoot, we've fouled our nest on a global scale. We've sped up the process. Interrupted the natural order of things. So what that the polar ice caps and all of the glaciers might have melted on their own a 1,000 or 10,000 years from now? What matters is that we've juked the game and it's happening now.

And if, if we are smart enough to split the atom, trace out the genome, bust free of Earth's atmosphere and gravity and fly to the goddamn moon, doesn't it make sense that we can own up to our damage, find wiser and more sustainable sources of energy and clean up our dopey mess?

I don't have all the answers. I don't even have one answer. What I do have is 50 years of observable experience. The eyes in my head to see what's different and the crazy hope of what is possible.

What do I think about the future? I hope we get our shit together, clean up our act, and my grandchildren learn how to ice skate.


Looking out at the rain and daring to believe it can be different. ~LA



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