Saturday, May 10, 2014


It began long before that. It began when we split earth from heaven and forgot that for what we take we must give something back and give thanks for the bounty of the earth. That which Creates will not be ignored, forgotten or mocked. I pray that when the reckoning comes due the God/dess will be more generous with us than we have been with the Creator and each other. 

A generation is usually counted as twenty years. A kloof is a small, deep sided ravine or valley. You see them in Eastern Oregon. That’s where the small trees and bushes are. The veld, is the grass country or even the grass. The titihoya is a small bird much like a plover. From Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country.

“There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass covered and rolling, and lovely beyond any singing of it. The road climbs seven miles into them into Carisbrook; and from there, if there is no mist, you look down into one of the fairest valleys of Africa. About you there is grass and bracken, and you may hear the forlorn calling of the titihoya, one of the birds of the veld. Below you is the valley of the Umzimkulu, on its journey from the Drakensberg into the sea; and beyond and behind the river, great hill after great hill; and beyond and behind them the mountains of Ingeli and East Gruiqualand.

The grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. It holds the rain and the mist, and they seep into the ground, feeding the streams in every kloof. It is well tended, and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fired burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed.”

This was written the late forties. There is so much we can do to destroy the land and what depends on it whether the CO2 rises and the frozen methane is released.

 Replace the grasses with monoculture farming and you leave the soil naked and unprotected. The moisture leaches away. I’ve watched Willamette Valley farmers plow or harrow and already plowed, dry field on a hot, windy day and seen the soil blow on the wind.  Between the tree poachers and big ag the southern rainforests, the lungs of the planet, are still disappearing. There are abandoned cotton fields in the southwest crusted with salts and minerals the soil so compacted that even when it does rain the water has nowhere to go.

We take the tops off mountains and dump the waste in creeks fouling the drinking water downstream. Coal and oil trains far heavier than any freight that went before travel tracks not made for the load and we wonder why they don’t make it through. We’ve created crops that can be poisoned and “live” while the residues kill the soil. These things would happen whether the gas levels rise or stay the same. The warning bells have been clanging for nearly three generations, while we remain deaf, dumb and blind.

When a slice of bread costs more than a steak, then maybe we’ll wake up. Of course by then it will be too late for most of us. 

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