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m o n k e y . s a l o n: words.writers

writing by kip curtis.

Adaptation.

These Aster stalks and the snow and the darkness combined as an image of the final day of fall. Here, even the heartiest plants have fallen dormant, nights stretching for more than sixteen hours, frigid winds and desiccated air. I only see crows and pigeons and an occassional flock of sparrows. The song birds have gone south. Our neighborhood skunk left last year after the removal of poison ivy and has not returned. The squirrels do not even venture out very often, sleeping the day away. This deepest chasm of darkness, the tilt of the Earth against us, the life giving sun skipping most rays across our day at too steep an angle to hold firm. I look into a five thirty a.m. summer sun at eight thirty a.m. here in the final hours before the longest night. The season of declining light may not bother everyone, but it has never sat well with me. An unconscious reaction, a sullenness, always overtakes me through the waning days of November and December. I see the husks of plants long dead, the empty branches of dormant trees, I hear the hollow crunch of frozen ground, all through the half-light of a sun that seems to be leaving us. And then into tonight, the solstice, the longest night of the year, past the border, the nadir, the farthest lean; the luminous year is re-born this evening, the resurrection of the sun begins. Slowly through the next days and weeks the truth will become obvious, we will feel it in our bones, we will sense it in our spirits, a new year is upon us. New opportunities, new hopes, a growing of light across the land. For me then, not calendars, nor holy-days of human scripture, but this patterned end of darkening and renewal of light, the gift of orbit that contributes to all of life's motions, this is the moment that we can share a sense of gratitude that extends universally, that puts us outside ourselves and into rhythms that have lasted eons. Promises fulfilled again and again and again. Life in evolution. Gracias al universo por todo.

It is alway too soon to tell, but murmurs suggest that along with this renewal of season, the arrival of winter also brings a dissembling of authority taken without due process nor legal justification. A strange tenor of fortitude echoes from the mouths of lawmen long since mute. More face time, more desperation. His case has no standing, even if he can score rhetorical points with the faithful. The longer days do not bode well for an administration cloked in darkness. But only time can really know where this will lead. In the meantime, my new year wishes: May our next full orbit be more peaceful than our last. May sense overcome the senselessness now dominant in cultural and social life. May we all find our necessary and comfortable places with frequency throughout the year. If your path is just and true and your conscience is clean, I wish you continued success in the seasons ahead. To the rest, I wish enlightened change and genuine inner peace before your time has passed. May we all adapt as time requests.

posted by Ecoreason @ 8:24 AM Wednesday, December. 2005.
Fall Colors

Even here near the broad middle bulge of this planet where heat stays longer and cold hardly shows its face, the colors of changing leaves appear. This scarlet explosion is the familiar Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) that grew in the Northeast, that grows in the mid-Atlantic, and that lives down here in Florida, too. Its presence on the land is a familiar comfort, like an old friend or a favorite passage in a book. Here it overtops a Florida privet (Dodonaea viscosa) beside a small vernal sinkhole at the edge of the recovering hammock on campus. It covers several cabbage palmettos on the northern edge of the hammock and elsewhere on campus. In all of those places, it has turned the same shocking scarlet. It carries the memories of colder falls in its leaf structure, deciduous. It protects itself against the possibility of frozen ice crystals, piles of snow, by drawing down the vital sugars into its roots, setting a bud, and closing down for the season. In this warm November air, it seems an unnecessary caution, but life changes slow like that, never releasing qualities that might again be useful simply because they are not presently used. It is not all competition; it is not all blood and claw, there is no fixed efficiency in the mechanical sense of the word out there in the wild (or in here in the wild, either), life persists and carries what it carries for its own sake. Who could deny with certainty, for example, that the Virginia creeper changes it's colors because that is what it likes to do? Who would insist that every quality make sense in a teleological narrative of that sort, that nothing is left to chance or accident or, shudder to think it, simple desire to live what is, in fact, life?

Because greed has gotten the high ground in Washington, DC, we voted in a slate of Democrats who just as quickly backed away from fixing the problems they said that they despised. Do not let a day pass this next year when you do not remind them of this cause. Because, without a return to ethical policies written by honorable people representing our best intentions, we risk expulsion from the human community to which we should increasingly try to belong. It is not all about competition, it is about life. I know that it is. It is about Virginia creepers turning scarlet in the warm heat of the Florida sun, and grasses fading to next year's seeds, cycles of persistence, not fleeting at all.
posted by Ecoreason @ 5:44 AM on Wednesday, 29 November 2006