The day after Earth Day from the morning porch

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Earth Day is bullshit. (My favorite comment on the day was from nature writer and curmudgeon Chris Clarke on Twitter: “I am to Earth Day as @Space_Kitty is to St. Patrick’s Day. Prefer to stay home while everyone else vomits green for a day.”) It’s true that I decided to begin serializing qarrtsiluni‘s long-overdue Animals in the City issue yesterday, but that was sheer coincidence. Looking at the past six years’ worth of updates in the sidebar of The Morning Porch, I notice that it’s the day after Earth Day—April 23—when I seem to have my eyes and ears the most open:

April 23, 2008
A male starling—a rarity here—lands among the cherry blossoms, iridescent black feathers speckled with white. He gargles musically.

April 23, 2009
A moment of sunlight illuminates the yard. Water seeps from the mountain’s every pore. The starling is doing its best to talk like a duck.

April 23, 2010
Mid-morning sun: I’m almost baking until the wind blows, cool as midnight, the chitter of goldfinches interrupted by a raven’s cronk.

April 23, 2011
Four gray squirrels interrupt their chasing to scold the feral cat—a Two Minutes’ Hate. In the corner of my eye, the zip of a winter wren.

April 23, 2012
Snow falling faster than it can melt. Unto every one that hath shall be given, says the sky: hawthorn and bridal wreath now twice as white.

April 23, 2013
Clear—but how clear? I notice a faint haze in the sky near the sun. Off in the woods, the white cloud of another shadbush coming into bloom.

Down and dirty

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall


Election Day Fracas, from the Undiscovery Channel on Vimeo.

Nothing quite says “Earth Day” to me like a battle for supremacy between two magnificent wild animals. Unfortunately, however, I had to settle for a squabble between two groundhogs under and (briefly) in front of my house. Hey, it beats reading yet another stupid email entitled “Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.” (If it were simple, we’d have saved the earth ten times over by now. I’m more in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s camp: if something doesn’t make me angry or at least uncomfortable, it’s probably not true.)

But as I listened to the groundhogs’ threats and screams, and took in the dirt and the abundant flies, I remembered that it was also Primary Election Day here in Punxatawney Phil land. I’m registered Independent myself, so I won’t be participating in this wonderful exercise in sandbox democracy. If there’s hog to be ground — and I imagine there is — I’ll just have to leave that to my fellow Younsers.*

Given the predicted high turnout and the general disorganization at Pennsylvania’s polling places, I’m not too sanguine that this will be over by tomorrow morning, or even by the end of the week. Let me know when it’s safe to come out, O.K.?

groundhog snout

*Younser: An inhabitant of that portion of Pennsylvania where “you’ns” is in common use as a second-person plural pronoun. Younsers give way to Yinzers west of Johnstown.