Calhoun's Cannons for December 21, 2014
Hog on ice, but without the ice. This last year has felt like being in a waiting room without any hope of an appointment. Becalmed, but before the storm. Clocks ticking, time wasting that we do not have to waste. The world's carbon reduction deadlines are again ignored when there is no wiggle room left to head off the worst of what's coming. Then American voters elected even more legislators who are wholly committed to King Coal and Oil. It takes a peculiar kind of suicidal lunacy to step on the gas when you're at the cliff's edge.
In my own little world, global warming is arriving in the form of drought that is changing an already stressed landscape, with more to come and none of it pleasant. All because we value political expediency over our very survival. Surely the coming generations will curse our names.
So I drift in this odd, airless year that hovers like a shoe about to drop. Should the United Nation's most recent report on climate change cause immense sorrow or gales of bitter laughter at what we have done to ourselves? We are bad stewards of God's Creation with no good excuse for our folly. Surely, that's a recipe for comedy? Except for the polar bears. And butterflies. And our great grandchildren's lives.
And so it goes. Drift in a disordered world. Neither tears nor laughter matter any longer. We have tied the knot, set the noose. And now we wait.
In my small back yard, the earth's troubling oddness is writ small, but writ: The great Roger's Red Grape Vine is both going into winter's crimson sleep and sprouting new spring growth. If a sudden, unseasonable frost hits, the vine will pay dearly for its confusion. The hardy native chaparral is game but looking weary. The weather changes are coming too fast and in the wrong form for much successful biological adaptation. So everything now waits for the great winnowing that is coming.
For the dogs, of course, it's all drift all the time. Disordered world? Where's supper?
And no drift in my vegetable garden. There it was all ferocious focus: Kentucky Wonders that spun off green beans in an unstoppable supply, and zombie zucchini that didn't know when to quit and had me trooping around to the neighbors with full plastic bags only to find hastily scribbled signs over their doorbells: "No Solicitors. No zucchini. We've moved to France."
Now, December has come and instead of an icy solstice moon with frost covering the ground, the late brief rains have created an out of sync carpet of spring wildflowers starting their race for the sun. Winter is half over before it's begun, while I'm still in my summer shirtsleeves.
But I dutifully get the Christmas nutcrackers out of their boxes to once again stand guard in the night, and garland the house in lights, even though this year it all seems rather like caroling on the Titanic.
Still, there will be laughter, feasting, song and lights on this silent night. In a disordered world that's adrift and heading for a hard future, we will still need hope and joy and love. And the dogs will always need a walk on a fine Christmas morning.