Posted by: atowhee | December 26, 2018


It’s raining lightly.  The first reflection of the day—the skyward reach of bare branches and twigs seen on the shallow rippled surface of the thin streamlets speeding along the gutters of our suburban street.

Other reflections follow as the dog takes me along one of her favorite routes.  Winter and rain make nature profligate even now in her darkest days, in this time of the longest nights of the calendar.  Across one lawn the white domes of emergent puffball fungi show as polka dots against the green.  Further on the thin brown stalks and flat tops of tiny mushrooms make a two-inch tall forest above the grass.  A tansy ragwort, bent from wind and water, still boasts its garish yellow blooms.  In one garden the hardy English daisy shows its white flowers with their buttery centers. Ground cover vinca evinces bold blue blossoms more appropriate for long and sunny days when the sky itself can answer with its own deep blue.  Buds are ripening on lilac, dogwood, quince.  Frost hardy garden plants like parsley and sword fern relish the water on their roots.  In one bare spot a neighbor has an eight-inch tall sunflower plant.  Surely the sprout began from some sunflower seed cached by a bird.

Then a forlorn realization as I look down.  The gutter flow is rich with oily sheen.  Green, purple, orange, the bright colors of a dark reality.  Further along we find the originating bright circle of bold belligerent colors.  Here some car was parked and dropped its leaking oil onto the pavement.  Now nature’s insistent rain does it what must: carry the oil downhill, then downstream into rivers and eventually the Pacific Ocean.  Colorful corruption.  The car is now gone but the oil lingers and will remain suspended in run-off water for hundreds of miles, months, even years.  A reflection:  this tiny heedless damage is a metaphor for capitalism.  Exploit, ignore, move on.

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