Sunday, September 25, 2005

Season of the witch...

September 24, 2005

“Rabbits running in the ditch, must be the season of the witch...” (Donovan)
This morning I have final and incontrovertible proof that Earth is slipping off course, altering spin and shaking Her atmospheric mantle about Her great shoulders.

Two days into fall, by the calendar, and yet here in south Georgia, the temperatures are still well into the nineties, the humidity variable but consistently in the high eighties, ranging up into the nineties. That in itself is within normal ranges, as I usually say it never cools off for good 'til after my birthday, which is tomorrow. But this morning, as I worked out in my bamboo, doing a little selective cutting and harvesting of the Henon, something happened that is so strange I am still wondering at its portent.

September 24 and there were yellow flies attacking me!

Yellow flies are one of those southern treats that they don't write about in the brochures de tourista down at the Chamber of Commerce. A nasty-tempered, sneaky, vicious little triangular fly related to the deer fly, yellow flies are usually found only out in the countryside around livestock or wild animals, whose blood they live on, but when its very dry in the woods, they begin to migrate into populated areas, but generally are only around during the hottest part of the summer, mid-July into August. At least that's how it was through most of my life.

I have a special relationship with yellow flies: I swell up, itch and border on anaphylaxis if I get a serious bite. They can light on your skin so delicately that you don't even feel them until they've begun biting. I suppose they inject anti-coagulant like los mosquitos. Just thinking about it makes the nerves behind my ears and the back of my neck tingle. So I've developed a sort of radar for yellow flies. I can generally tell them by their buzz. When they're out, I'm not. I cover up, slather on repellent (which I think actually attracts them), swat and cuss, and pretty soon I just go in. Since the first bad bite I got, on a finger, back in 1980 or so, I have noticed with loathing their gradually increasing encroachment on populated areas. The last few summers, they've been around off and on for most of the summer. I even found one inside the house this summer – first time ever.

But I've never seen them in September before! I was out working in shorts, which I never do in the heart of the summer, and a yellow fly lit on my leg. I had felt what seemed to be a yellow fly buzzing my head once or twice earlier, but dismissed it as paranoia, sure that none remained past the end of summer. But then it lit on my leg. I slapped at it in panic, and immediately went into the house and put on long pants. But it was the end of my bamboo work for several hours. I couldn't bring myself to go back out for awhile, and when I did, I only stayed out for a few minutes, vile coward that I am.

I just hate the little bastards! But that's beside the point - the real point of this is, despite their despicable habits and vicious nature, the flies are an indicator species of sorts. I'm not exactly sure what it is they indicate, but it ain't good... something is happening to the weather patterns, and rapidly. I never understood my climatology class very well, but I do remember one thing: climate change is a very, very slow beast. We humans are not supposed to live long enough to notice things like this changing. Just the fact that the pace is faster seems to suggest that we've had a hand in it, that we're altering natural cycles, and in ways we have no clue about.

If there are yellow flies in my back yard in September, there may be dinosaurs next winter!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Amnesty Calls for Kevin's Release

This just in from Monica Benderman:

Amnesty International issued a second worldwide appeal on Kevin Benderman's behalf yesterday.
The link that follows is to the webpage that Amnesty has established on Kevin's behalf, and includes a petition that you may sign appealing for Kevin's release from prison, which will be forwarded directly to George Bush.
Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to support Kevin.
In Peace,
Monica Benderman

--You may have to register with Amnesty to sign the letter. It's a good thing to do anyway, as they have good action alerts on such things around the world. It's really a slap in the fact to the administration to have Amnesty consider Kevin a prisoner of conscience and call for his release.

We should all sign the letter and support them and Kevin. It's the least we can do...