Forsythia

Forget the Scottish botanist.

Humor me.

Is not this name

the name

of a forgotten muse?

Note her veracity:

Spring has come.

Note her tenacity,

her yellow saturation,

and to move out from Asia

and populate the world—

A Dionysian consort

if there ever was one.

Just a twig is all it takes,

stuck back into the ground,

and she’s back.

Our, now global, resilient

trumpeting herald

of Spring.

Vortex Confusions

Commonplace Capers, No. 9

A week to remember. Walking last Saturday from my place of employment to meet up with my spouse when she would get off of work. (We are a one car family).

The phone lit up: tornado warning! Texts started pouring in. Where are you?

Now mind you, it was not raining but the clouds did have an ominous feel, not green, but ominous.

Anyways, then Judith called, she was at the cafe in town where she waitresses. The fire department had just been through and told everyone to shelter in place.

Now mind you, I am simply walking the two miles I often do into town to meet her. Hmmm. This is odd, we are in the Catskills, not Kansas.

Then over my left shoulder I heard the sound, just as the preparation warnings foretell, it will sound like a freight train. And it did: but a freight train amplified x 10, and not at all mechanical, if that even makes sense.

By the time I registered the true threat over my left shoulder, it was gone. I did not have time to even consider jumping into a ditch. But the drenching began, and in seconds it was as if I had jumped into the deep end of the pool with all my clothes on. I was soaked to the bone.

The hard rains continued as I ran the last quarter mile into town, and found Judith unharmed, but shaken. The car unharmed, but shaken. No life was lost, the property damage, mild compared to the twisters down south and in the mid west. But barns were flattened, roofs were lost, and cars destroyed.

NOAA says it was a T2, 115 miles an hour winds. It’s path about 15 miles long, 300 yards wide.

All I know is it was scary as scary can be.

The confusing part from the experiential perspective was this. I thought it came over my left shoulder and headed into the town of Roscoe down the valley to were it also touched down in Callicoon Center. It turns out it was the complete opposite. I was at the tail end. It came up the valley from Callicoon Center, hit in Roscoe and bounced over the hill to my left. But because it was spinning counter clockwise, I experienced the winds heading back toward town, even though the twister was leaving and heading north.

So, yeah. Eyewitness accounts can get things totally backwards, without fault or blame .

Work Yet To Be Done

Commonplace Capers, No. 08

In his fascinating study of gardening, “Second Nature,” Michael Pollen proposes that our incessant fiddling with the soil and the plants is inherent to our species, not just as culture, but as an evolutionary survival strategy, one that has worked in our favor.

Of course, this incessant fiddling tendency of ours can be also linked to the horrific impacts our species is having on the planet. Is a bomb nothing but a gardening tool? (Pollen does not propose this, I do).

The impacts of the world wars last century on the landscape are a fascinating study waiting to be published, unless I missed it.

And our carbon discharge every time we drive to the store, is it not but an unconscious fumigation technique gone awry.

Man will never be above nature. Man is nothing but nature. Nature has little need of man.