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Monday Photo Meditation: Gold In the Green

We have had days of errant forecasts, not so much mistaken as flatly false. The day on which there was said to be no possibility of precipitation whatsoever, we were granted high winds and heavy rains. On the day when the chance was ten percent, hail. And on the day (yesterday) when the experts told us there was an eighty percent chance of rain (and here, eighty percent is always a surety), we got not a single drop.

These are not genuine errors, but an over-reliance on computer modeling that fails to understand climate of place and pace of change.

We know, now, that we cannot rely on the “experts” of colonial systems to forecast our days. That task is dependent now wholly upon ourselves, the evidence of our senses, of long experience and memory and a fundamental understanding of land and world around us that allows us to predict, with some accuracy, what lies ahead.

The colonial vulture is in no way ready.

That includes, by the way, the climate-change industry, for industry it has become, and they, too, spend far too much time on colonial models and not enough listening to and learning from indigenous sciences. And so we are faced with a silly focus on straws while manufacturers of non-degradable materials are granted not merely tax breaks but millions upon millions of dollars in funding to keep turning the waterways into plastic oceans, and an apocalyptic outlook that insists on population control for indigenous cultures even as colonists continue their mad pursuit of genetic immortality.

And still, no one outside our communities listens to the trees.

It’s amazing what the trees will tell you, if you can bring yourself to be quiet long enough to hear them. That, of course, would require colonial cultures, societies that are wholly and inherently white supremacist, to lower their sights, by their lights, even as they raise their eyes from the screens that generate their perpetual tightly-held transfers of wealth.

Because the trees tell us when the seasons turn. They tell us, too, to the extent they are able, what to expect of the seasons to come. Right now, we are in that threshold space that straddles the line between summer and fall, one’s entourage not yet departed even as the other’s outriders are already arrived. These messengers, emissaries of weather and time, turn their focus first to the trees — the upper branches and the edges of the leaves.

And so, we now inhabit this magical moment, only a moment as our world measures time, when the light has shifted just enough, sun and warmth with it, to bring us gold in the green.

It won’t last long.One of our maples is nearly all fire already, far too soon. The aspens lately manage to turn both first and last: first, in that small sections of their leafy heights turn their robes far earlier than mere September, while the greater mass of green does not typically shift until the latter half of October. The cottonwoods surrounding us track a more stable trajectory, and they are already going gold on the ends, although the change is so gradual, and so comprehensive, that it’s barely noticeable yet.  And the willows . . . the willows are already a quarter gone, large patches of green turned gold weeks ago. It remains yet for the gold of the upper branches to make themselves visible, although one good wind storm will send the turned leaves earthward in an instant.

By the calendar’s reckoning, summer has a good week and half yet before its scheduled departure. The irony is that even then, it will not be a full departure; that usually waits until mid-October, at least, and sometimes even after the first snow of the season.

For the moment, though, our world here is all jewels and precious metals: rich copper earth, jade leaves and emerald grass, bright golden sunflowers and the amber light they track throughout the day. We have a few weeks yet of gold in the green, and the warmth that accompanies it.

Time to make the most of it.

~ Aji








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