November 1, 2014
Last night, our first hard frost arrived. Temperatures fell into the mid twenties as a cold front moved through. I was about as ready as I could be, knowing that warmer, more normal fall temperatures were on the way and I could proceed with the few outdoor garden activities I couldn’t finish last week.
All of this does make me mindful, however, that the time for such activities is slipping away and the time for winter preparations is moving in around here. The man who mows the lawn came last week and mowed the first layer of dead leaves into the last layer of mown grass. I’ll leave most of the next layer of leaves to overwinter, collect enough for a layer on the garden before I cover the beds with straw and throw an armful of the extra leaves into the compost bin to help it get a new start. And that will pretty much conclude my outdoor preparations – except for planting that garlic.
As for inside the house, I’ve found someone to shrink wrap the windows and, later this winter, put up some pegboard so I can hang my large and cumbersome collection of brooms, mops, gardening rakes, shovels and hoes that are currently propped against the wall in the various corners of the back room. And the few vegetables for the indoor garden that I’ll grow from transplants rather than seeds are started.
I’m sure other things will pop up along the way to winter, but I’m looking forward to a time of relative quiescence winter brings to my house – a time to catch up on reading, putter around with whatever may grow in the back room garden and keep a less hurried eye on what happens in the wider world.
Here at home, the mid-term elections will (thankfully) be over in a few more days, though (like an unsavory odor) the effects will undoubtedly linger on, no matter who wins in the various races.
Hopefully, with the races for Congress and various governorships settled one way or another, more rational minds in both parties will prevail and the ginned up Ebola scare, on which some rode to electoral victory, will tamp back down to more reasonable proportions as they realize that the most effective way the developed countries can prevent a genuine outbreak at home is still to ramp up the fight where the current epidemic actually is, in West Africa.
Sadly, I don’t expect rational minds here at home to prevail in the senseless war the Empire and its NATO allies have declared against Russia by way of our meddling in Ukraine. After Putin’s speech at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, on October 24, it’s pretty clear that he and a number of other attendees knows what game is being played and have no intentions of sacrificing Russia’s, or their own, rational self-interests just to appease the declining Empire. Nor will the inflated egos of the Imperial neo-cons, who thought this a good move, allow them to see that more and more of the rest of the world is tired of being yanked around by the whims of a flailing has-been with delusions of past grandeur as they find ever more ways to defy those whims and the economic/military might it uses to enforce them.
Such appears to be the case in our fight with ISIS, as our bombing raids are insufficient without the ground troops and other support from our squabbling coalition of the, not only unwilling, but seemingly unable. The new, more “moderate” government in Iraq appears to be more afraid of letting go of the exclusionary policies of power than they are of ISIS. Turkey seems to be more afraid of its Kurdish minority than the swelling ranks of the disenfranchised dreamers of a new Caliphate joining ISIS daily from around the world. Sunni Saudi Arabia dances around the conundrum of fighting Sunni ISIS while possibly giving aid to the Alawite (a sect of Shi’a Islam), Bashar al-Assad of Syria, or to Shi’a Iran, who has its own reasons to offer aid in fighting ISIS. And, the list goes on.
Of course, by the time winter grants that less hurried eye, some other move in the grand game of Empire may have checkmated, or been checkmated by, those other players currently involved. The slowing global economy may have tipped over on its side, kicking and struggling to upright itself, and rendered those moves moot. By winter, the costs of ignoring climate change, the dangers of politicizing Ebola, the certainty that our fracking “bonanza” will give eternal life to the Empire, may have mortally blinded us to any number of black swans already seeking a landing site.
We never know, ahead of time, exactly what winter will bring, but that first hard frost always reminds us, the last days of autumn are a good time to make sure we’ve prepared as much as possible.