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Saturday, May 7, 2022

Precautionary Principle?

Habitats and Memories

By MF. Elderkin - May 2022

Habitats and memories

ecosystem functions that used to be

all that I have now are postage stamps

to remember you.

Birds that sang, both day and night

endless spring and fall migration flights

now only shifting baselines and body counts

to remember you.

But we sure did have a good time

before ecology and power became one thing

before corporations and governments bought us off

back when truth still could sing.

Hope is social branded self-deceit

a mask for resistance and our greed

to not pay the price of ecosystem services 

on the receipt

Education was supposed to teach

sustainability no longer is in reach

not stocks, roulette wheels, or myriad city streets

where non-humans just can't fit in.

Blind conservation that profiteers,

crumbs for concessions, trips, socialites and endless beer

a paradigm of doing business, where wild species never win

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

O My Soul - Attendez Vous Sil Vous Plait

A Noiseless Patient Spider

By Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,

I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated

Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,

It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,

Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,

Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking spheres to connect them,

Till the bridge you need will be form'd, til the ductile anchor hold,

Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Don't Ever Look Back

Written by MF. Elderkin - April 21, 2022

Don't ever look back, boy

the past won't come again

for professors, confessors, fishers, mice or men

facts roll off a duck's back, like the rain off a roof,

a well told lie stuck to is better than truth

Back in the golden days of my youth, I'd go down 

by the river, to an old fishing shack, where I'd sit 

by the fire, listening to old-timers tell tales by the hour, 

salting and packing fish, chewing tobacco, drinking 

hard apple cider, burning wet wood with tar paper 

shingles, til' the sky had gone black

until one day the silver-haired fisher king had a 

sudden heart attack, with a twinkle in his eyes

a pearl of wisdom fell from his lips as he passed, 

with his last breath, with his last gasp, his dying

words were: "Don't ever look back."

Don't ever look back, boy

the past won't come again

for professors, confessors, fishers, mice or men

facts roll off a duck's back, like the rain off a roof

a well told lie stuck to is better than truth,

- don't ever look back.

Mouth of Gaspereau River Circa 1890s - Taken by Rev. Byron Ulric Hatfield 

'Flying Bluenose' Train On Approach to Weymouth Bridge Crossing the Sissiboo River. Circa 1910

Ship Building at Port Greville, Nova Scotia.  Circa 1900-10

Original Glass Magic Lantern Slide Prior to Restoration in Photoshop

Sunday, April 3, 2022

A Parable in Policy - A Dismal Litany of Failure

The Crown's top policy strategist had been tasked with finding a way to consult, consolidate and engage the disparate and all too apparent contradictory ideas of scientists, industry and public interest groups.  Deep furrows in the lines of his brow betrayed the dimension of concern, as he struggled for the path and means to reign apparent chaos into any order, to solidify a unified direction to the future.  Time was of the essence and unless radical human behavioral changes occurred, society and the planet faced impending destruction.  Political leaders had advised him that, "this transition of change should occur smoothly and gradually, with as little economic or social disruption as possible."  The new legislation required coordination, cooperation, power by authority and the Government's ability to motivate social acceptance and compliance.  But how to do it?  

He decided to leave the office early to take a drive in his car, while pondering a way to move forward with this daunting, seemingly insurmountable assignment.  After surveying the forests, fields and coastal shores for an hour, his stomach started to growl and he suddenly became very hungry.  Now back in civilization, he saw a burger 'drive through' store ahead, with a big red neon billboard flashing: "Burger King, 1 Billion Served".  He drove up to the microphone with a menu on a huge screen above and placed his order to an unseen receptionist, becoming, he fancied, the first buyer in the second billion burgers he now acclaimed to the company's future fortunes, the same public which he served.  With that thought and a burger in one hand, he proceeded to a massive asphalt parking lot nearby to eat the King's burger, coming to full stop, parking his vehicle and rolling down his window.  The day was warm and sunny.

The burger was quite messy.  Crumbs from the bun, bits of pickle, tomato, lettuce and beef fell with spots of ketchup on his jacket and between his legs, onto the driver's seat.  "A beer would go well with this," he thought.  Without a moment's hesitation he began tossing the offending greasy ketchup stained food bits with his fingers out the car window.  A seagull appeared out of nowhere, descending from the heavens high above him, from some point unseen, only to land on the pavement a few feet away from the window.  The immaculate white gull was in spring breeding plumage with a bright, corn-yellow bill ringed with black, yellow legs and a hazel colored eye surrounded by a blazing vermillion red engorged eyelid, that scanned its human observer with distrust.  Briefly overcome by the bird's beauty, the bureaucrat then watched with some disgust as it greedily snatched up bits of food, gulping them down with a wolf's bolting appetite, ravenously swallowing the scraps.

Minutes passed, as the official continued to eat lunch, irregularly throwing more and more bits of fallen food out the window.  More gulls of the same species appeared, landing all around the car, now twenty in number, competing for morsels, pushing their way through many other birds, vocalizing, menacing with their flame red mouths gapped wide-open, flapping their wings, lunging in aggressive attacks to move and displace other gulls from food bits, claiming their turf, bill snapping and biting other gulls, all of whom came ever closer to the car's window from whence the food came.

And then, in an instant, a lightning bolt fell and when it struck his mind's eye, a smile came over the strategist's face in the synchronicity of that moment.  For he now had his answer, understanding a solution to his problem, an answer to a most vexing question that had been in front of him all along on the asphalt, just outside the car window eating bits of his hamburger.  He tinkered with the solution now as if testing an hypothesis, deliberately throwing food bits out the window at variable time intervals he clocked on his watch, recording the response, changing the number, size and quality of the food scraps and distance he threw them.  A quick visual survey confirmed there were no other gulls in the shopping mall parking lot.  Finally, he turned over the ignition on the car and started to drive.  As he slowly passed hundreds of parked vehicles, there was not a gull to be seen.  But through the glass of the windshield above, in the rearview mirror and the side mirrors, he could see a loose flock of twenty birds now all in flight, following his car closely hovering in escort as he approached the main highway back to town.  Gradually he increased his speed and they vanished, one by one, as if in a dream.  One gull, two gull, three gull, four...  Were they ever really there? 

MF. Elderkin -April 1, 2022

"Some government and business leaders are saying one thing - but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic."

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres - April 4th, 2022

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres described the report as "a dismal litany of humanity's failure to tackle climate disruption."

 "It's true, it's true, the crown has made it clear

The climate must be perfect all the year

A law was made a distant moon ago here

July and August cannot be too hot

And there's a legal limit to the snow here in Camelot

The winter is forbidden till December

And exits March the second on the dot

By order, summer lingers through September in Camelot

Camelot: Camelot

I know its sounds a bit bizarre

But in Camelot: Camelot

That's how conditions are

The rain may never fall until after sundown

By eight, the morning fog must disappear

In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot

Fore happy ever after in than here in Camelot

Camelot: Camelot

I know it gives a person pause

But in Camelot: Camelot

Those are the legal laws

The snow may never slush upon the hillside

By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear

In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot

For happy ever after in than here in Camelot."

Alan Jay Lerner (1967)

"With every mistake
We must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps"

George Harrison - 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (1968)