Last week Joseph Arrieta of The Left Coaster posted an essay about the disappearance of the steelhead in California and how, sadly, the salmon will likely be the next to vanish from our state. The post was so warmly, charmingly written that it made it possible to read about the actions of the "criminal freaks in the executive branch" who back the vast diversion of cold water (upon which the salmon depends) from the Trinity and Klamath rivers south to huge corporate farms in the desert.
Today the LATimes reports that the same "criminal freaks" propose reducing critical habitat for the red-legged frog in our region by a mind-boggling 82%, so as not to inconvenience real estate developers.
It’s just too much. You have to steel yourself just to open the paper in the morning; even skimming the headlines overwhelms, and the facts of the day–imparted by the sincerest of people, with the best of intentions–become unbearable.
Alternatively, Neil Young has a new record out, Prairie Wind, with a great song called "It’s a Dream." It begins "I try to ignore what the papers says/and I try not to read all the news" and mentions a bad dream his wife had. The song goes on to mix polyptotonically the meaning of dream and nightmare into his memories of growing up; of the Red River flowing through his home town; of a boy fishing the morning away, under a bridge, where the young birds call out to be fed…and slowly we realize that the dream that he sings about, that’s passing away, is the harmony of our lives…"it’s gone/only a dream/and it’s fading now/fading away/it’s a dream/only a dream/just a memory/without anywhere/to stay"…
Elsewhere on the album he rails against the Senator who votes to develop ANWR–"the caribou he killed/meant nothing to him/he took his money/like all the rest"–but it doesn’t have the power of the sorrow he expresses for the fading-away of the dream.
Perhaps the only way we can honor the species we as humans seem so eager to sweep away is to bring up the sorrow we feel for their passing.