Eastern Nebraska’s drought has broken this spring. Last week we had 5” of rain, several times the amount we saw in almost three months last summer. The garden is thick and lush. The lawn is growing far too fast for my taste. In the side garden (an 8’ by 30’ space) we have nesting cardinals, robins, and house wrens. Everything is far fresher than I ever remember – working the soil is a dream, and when I transplant or divide I have faith in the establishment of new plants (unlike last year).
But I fear there will be fewer seeds to harvest this fall. I fear the birds will have nothing to feed their young, parents traveling farther and wider than ever before in a desperate attempt to help the next generation. If only humans had as much foresight.
Everyday I read about honeybee colony collapse, so much so that I roll my eyes at another article; we’re getting the same news over and over, the shock has worn off. How long can we circle the facts and deny who we are and what we’re doing? Every article points to pesticides, gmo agriculture, high fructose corn syrup feeding the bees – it’s as if we’re trying to deny the wrong we know we are causing by continually talking about it, and believing talking alone is the great solution.
My god, DO SOMETHING. Sure, I have 1,500’ feet of native plantings, but nothing’s going on so I feel like I’m failing the planet. There have been a few queen bumblebees, some flies, some honeybees – I didn’t see my first monarch until June 2 (Monarch Watch fears we’ll see very few butterflies this year, and fewer next year, and this info came from the horse’s mouth as I talked to Chip Taylor in person at MW HQ). After last spring’s freak warmth, and this year’s freak cold – we had 1” of snow on May 1 – I think it’s sort of obvious that the climate has the sniffles, and will soon need Dayquil. But then again, how many pharmaceuticals are in our waterways already? Did you hear about the detectable amounts of cocaine in Minnesota lakes? I wonder why amphibians are on a sharp decline.
Last week on my Facebook page Milk the Weed, I asked folks what and how many insects they were seeing. From all over the country I heard this: very few. Do something. If the ship is going to go down you might as well scream until you get sucked under. Rip out more lawn and seed something native, hoping for the return of life. Get a serviceberry or viburnum or twenty and feed the planet. Write opinion pieces for the local paper. Start a blog or neighborhood activist group. Paint your garage door with a giant monarch butterfly. Share the articles on this blog like there’s no tomorrow. Fight. Learn about insects. Hold a bumblebee in your hand on a cold morning until it warms up and lifts off. Let a caterpillar race up your arm. That air you’re breathing? It’s the dream, hope, and faith of trillions of life forms living on a galactic marble miracle, all intertwined so well we don’t realize what the subtraction of one means until it’s too late. Today is the first day of a new way of thinking and doing – a way we’ve known like a sixth sense all of our lives.
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