Monday, June 1, 2009

The Last Spring

I once accepted the notion that one of the things that set humans apart from other species is our foreknowledge of death, with various interesting intellectual, social, and emotional consequences.

But now, I am not so sure that is true, or that we understand the other species that populate the earth with us. Those species that cannot adapt to the climate change which has already occurred - those that measure generations in decades or centuries, like trees - also seem to recognize their own demise. They are throwing all their energy into reproduction - flowers, cones, pods, because they are dying. Does this mean they recognize their own mortality, as well. Could this mean we have vastly underestimated the intelligence of other species that we took to be just dumb plants? And what of other animals, insects, and birds? Have we misunderstood them as well, treated them as slaves to our dominance?

I call this the Last Spring. Even though it is only the first of June, leaves on trees are wilting and dropping. By the end of this long hot dry summer, I expect at this rate, the majority if not all will be on the ground - and they won’t be returning next year.

The Last Fall wasn’t 2008, because all the leaves didn’t turn brilliant colors, that was 2007. Last fall, they just went directly to brown. But nobody noticed.

They were too busy watching American Idol, or squabbling over Gaza, or racing speedboats, or buying more plastic toys from China.

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