The biggest green prairie dock leaf (15 foot deep roots) is holding on for now, but the smaller dock leaf is cashing it in.
In the upper center, the leaves of wild quinine are curling. Rattlesnake master (to the left of the dock) has let one leaf go brown and is starting on a second. The grasses (bottom: little bluestem. left: prairie dropseed) are still green, but they're not growing.
Today we got three glorious inches of rain. For the ecosystem, it's a whole new ball game. But for me, I think back to how gloomy I felt. Is it just because so many seeds that we planted have died? Or because so many animals breathed their last from lack of reserves in the too-small habitat fragments that are all we have left them? Or is it merely that the lush richness I rely on to inspire me wasn't there for my emotional nourishment?
For most of my “adult” life I’ve welcomed depression as a rare and helpful visitor from another realm. It says, "Stop. Think. Get outside your usual rationality and actions. Re-boot. Rethink. Consider what to change, abandon, risk or begin."
Can droughts foster planetary depression? How do we get it across to the larger culture that global warming is not just some different weather but is an act of planetary vandalism worse than the Taliban demolishing ancient art and temples? Beyond losing cultural treasures thousands of years old, we will be and are losing ecological treasures hundreds of thousands -- and millions of years old. Our children will be poorer in so many ways.
Thanks to those three glorious inches of rain I look forward to being able to collect seed again -- and to watching the inspiration and fun of ecological recovery.
Although I only see bits of it on the global horizon so far, I also look forward to the fun of watching and helping smart and dedicated people figure out how to focus widespread ecological intelligence on the health of the planet.