Stephen A. Fuqua (saf)

a Bahá'í, software engineer, and nature lover in Austin, Texas, USA

Autumnal Verdure

This is a strange sort of spring we’re having. And a small part of me died a little death watching the new Lorax trailer this morning.

A Red-tailed Hawk was calling from the greenbelt outside my window; I stepped out to try and find it. Naturally it stopped a few seconds later. Blue Jays and Cardinals did not seem upset at the Hawk; maybe it was simply a very hawk-like squirrel. The grass below my balcony is a lush green — rather amazingly so, considering how brown it was 6 weeks ago, and considering that the Texas drought is only broken in the sense that we have been getting rain every other week or so after months with none.

But it is not just the grass: looking all around for the hawk, I spied a bit of white that was not there a few days ago. Flowers! A rough-leafed dogwood was blooming. These shrubby dogwoods have been putting out new leaves for the past month or so, after the rain started. They had dropped most of their leaves during the drought. The Mexican plums directly below are completely devoid of leaves, though their older colleagues down the fence line did manage to put out fruit.

We went out to a local bike trail yesterday, which runs along a creek in Grand Prairie and over into Arlington. At times it is in the middle of riparian bottomland, and sometimes it is running right up along suburban fence lines. Next to one of these close-by homes, we saw a pear tree in bloom. I had seen another in our complex blooming a few weeks ago. Yes, it is nearly November.

Now about that Lorax. Pixar is releasing a new version of Dr. Seuss’s classic, and we made the mistake of watching the trailer. It is probably a fine movie as these things go, and trailers are always skewed. The Lorax is a grim and dark story; its message of stewardship, and its bitter depiction of the impact of clear-cutting and pollution on the plants and animals, had an influence on my life that would be difficult to exaggerate. The trailer showed a movie with bad jokes and a boy whose crush on a neighbor girl leads him to find the Lorax. I hope kids will see it and will take the real message to heart, despite the trappings.

Mr. Lorax would be saddened by our suburban sprawl, but I think he would be heartened a little by this greenbelt out back, and by that trail with its 10-20 year old hackberry woods. Ecologically speaking, the world today is significantly impoverished compared to even 30 years ago. The Texas drought is linked to La Niña, the severity of which may or may not be linked to global climate change. But the overall climate variability, and increased temperatures, due to climate change are surely worsening the drought’s impact. Still — just look at those trees. There is some hope for us yet.

Posted with : Life Lived Living, Nature, Sustainability, Environment, Wildlife