I haven’t missed a blog posting in over five and a half years, and I won’t now, but this one will be different.
In case you can’t tell, I love this little farm. I didn’t end up here because it was my first choice. It was more a process of elimination. My life came apart and coming here was the least bad choice. This was the farm I could afford; the one I could make work. I settled.
I’ve had years now to find the precious parts of this prairie just one miracle after another–bird by bird, by wildflower, by sunset, by wind-blown grass, by moon-shine night sky. The beauty of this prairie still surprises me with something sweeter and more dear every day. It’s a love forged by drought and wind, not prone to superficial fancies. A love as plain and diverse as the prairie. This earth owns me; it could never be the other way around.
Last night, as I was doing chores, I watched NextEra Energy trucks dump huge power poles on the property west of mine, with a metal clang that scattered horses in all directions. Property perimeters were cut and gates installed so construction vehicles can drive through planting high power lines like a huge fence across the horizon, between me and my sunset.
Then the rains began. We’ve had substantially more pond floods in this one season than all the previous years here, but last night was different. Flash flood! The pond crested with such fury that the south retaining wall of the drainage canal was torn apart instantly and took the fence with it. In moments the pasture had only one small island of soil and the llamas held that patch of high ground, unable to get back to the barn. It was dusk as the water rushed between the barn and house, pulling wheel barrows, wooden pallets, and water tanks along in its wake. At one point the torrent pushed open the door to the tack room and garage. The horses were in the barn but I couldn’t see them; couldn’t get to them. There was only black water in all directions.
Two hours later, the flood began receding, and wading through water deeper than my boots, I got hay to everyone. We are all safe. The damage was done and the warning delivered; there are forces stronger than human. I have perception enough to know this little disaster is invisible, insignificant compared to the daily global destruction that we turn a blind eye toward.
Again, we are all safe. Very thankfully safe.
Maybe I’ve gone simple since turning sixty. Maybe my own mortality colors the world a bit more precious every moment, but I’m knocked back with the impossible wonder and beauty around me. It leaves me a little more breathless every day.
We don’t deserve this planet. We aren’t good enough.
We use our intellect to whine about our tiny lives and we miss the glory. We’re so busy trying to control it and bend it to our wishes, that we miss the big picture. So busy taking what we think we deserve, that we forget to clean up our mess and say thank you. We think it’s our planet to trash and destroy because we have opposable thumbs. We are terminally arrogant and stupid.
Worst of all, we don’t trust our own common sense to do the math. We don’t let ourselves see the tendencies changing, instead we think each incident is a random coincidence.
There’s enough blame to go around–it’s just the cost of doing business. Corporations and politicians stupid enough to think they can vote climate change down. Jacked-up junkie enough to think all growth and industry is good, no matter who pays. No matter what is lost in the process.
When does it get personal enough? We see photos of polar bears on ice flows but fear keeps its distance, even as scientists tell us how far gone our beautiful planet is already. But in your wildest dreams, can you imagine that horses can survive a fraction of what polar bears can?
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.