Friday, October 2, 2009

The Real Ugly Of It

One of the most absurdly ironic parts of "The Age of Stupid" were those segments depicting the long struggle between a young, sweetly earnest wind turbine developer, with one crotchety old farmer as an ally, against the outraged denizens of an English village. Oh sure, the citizens admitted they were concerned about climate change - but the wind turbines should go somewhere else, because they're ugly!! United, they defeated the proposed wind farm.

And then along comes this article, about Mont-Saint-Michel and the chorus of protests against wind turbine installations there, because they're ugly. Now in all honesty I have to confess I was once of the opinion that they were too unsightly to mar the view of the coast, anywhere, because I love the ocean, and the beach, in their natural beauty (in other words, not anything remotely like the Jersey shore, which not only looks hideous, but smells foul). However since I have come to understand that the alternative is inundating said coasts, and islands like Mont-Saint-Michel, with rising seas from filthy energy production, wind farms have become beautiful to me.

Mont-St-Michel would be only 10 miles from the nearest wind turbine

And besides, removing oil from the tar sands of Canada and coal from the mountains of Appalachia is far uglier, not to mention destroys far more habitat and species. And that's without even considering the pollution from burning oil and coal, and the people and vegetation that die as a result. Why are people so stupid??

Sorry but fair warning, this is going to be a grim posting. Nothing but thin pines and deciduous trees.
These pictures were all taken on the first day of October, a day when the leaves should be starting to turn from rich green to luminous colors of gold, vermilion, aubergine, magenta, and flaming tangerine. The tops of deciduous trees should still be full and dense.
The pine trees should be green and solid. The day was mostly overcast, which makes the pictures lack saturated hues, but still suffices to indicate with stark clarity the silhouettes of leafless trees.
You can see more sky than leaves in most crowns.
And in almost every conifer, so many needles have fallen off since this time last year that you can see not just the trunk but all the way through to the other side. That is NOT normal. The privet hedge in the foreground is pretty pathetic too.
I can remember from when I was young, say around 40 years ago, raking up fallen leaves at the end of October to make a huge pile which we placed beneath the wraparound porch of our house in Ipswich for the annual Halloween spookhouse. Unsuspecting trick-or-treaters didn't realize that from the point of entry to the jump off at the back, the distance increased due to a sloping terrain from a mere 2 feet of steps to about 10 straight off the edge to the ground. So when we terrified them off the back end of the porch, with costumed monstrous threats and horrible menacing gestures, they went into a dizzying freefall, which was cushioned by that pile of leaves. Ha ha! How we relished their shrieks of terror!

Well. The point is, the leaves were glossy and brilliantly colored and we were able to mound them into softly yielding mountains, at the end of October, in northern Massachusetts. Now, at the very beginning of October in New Jersey (and for the preceding September), they are either already on the ground, or turning brown.
These spruce were thin but green two weeks ago. Now they are turning yellow.
If they follow the path of others further along I have seen before, they will be completely bare by the time winter is over.

There isn't a single tree around this house that has anything approaching a healthy number of leaves. It looks more like November than the beginning of October.
I have had my eye on particular this tree since last year. It was one of the first to make me concerned that trees were suffering from some widespread ailment because its leaves were so wilted and droopy. Look at it now, one year later.
A climbing hydrangea with brittle and scorched leaves.

That spot of color on the left? Take a look at what is really going on.
Autumn leaves should be supple, and gorgeous; not turning withered and dead.

This is wild bittersweet. My mother used to wait until the berries burst, yellow outer shells opening like crisp petals around red centers, and then brought in cuttings to decorate the mantel for Thanksgiving. These leaves are a perfect example of the inability to photosynthesize and make chlorophyll that is essential for all plants to survive.

Don't ask me what is going to happen if this situation continues to deteriorate - which it appears, it will.

You won't like the answer.

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