Friday, January 01, 2010

Dreaming at a New Year

I begin this because my cousin asked, in a Christmas card, what are my thoughts and dreams. It was a nice question, a polite question, and got me thinking.

I have blogs, and they don't get looked after much, but one that gets written in fairly often is called Daily Garden. I have been interested in how to grow an environment around my house that would not offend the sences. Sqaure and straight lines in landscaping and building are sharp and damage the spirit by making it go too fast and skipping the here, the now.

I insisted that a milkweed plant that sprouted in our driveway be spared. That year it grew tall and we had more the next year. Now I remove the seed pods out of deference to my neighbor who grew up on a farm in Minnesota and spent his youth battling milkweed around his father's fields.

I do not know how they did it, but Monarch butterflies have found my milkweeds, they visit every year and leave little white eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch and out a small catterpillar who chomps its way to the top of the plant, grows, then hangs upside down and a cacoon froms around it. Later, a beautiful butterfly emerges and tests its wings.

That butterfly rides the winds and sun tides and flies away. In late summer they all gather and fly to Florida or to Mexico to spend the winter. I take most of the seed pods and stuff vests with the gossamer. It is very warm. Our Navy used it for flotation devises before plastic.

Monarchs and living by the Bell Creek have lead me in the direction of regenerating the landscape. I recall the years when we young and there were fields nearby where Daddy would take us walking. My sister had a butterfly collection. Butterflies were so common then that it was a hobby to catch them and stick a pin in them and mount them on a board.

I like to garden and took classes in Ecological Gardening from South Oakland County Water Authority. Socwa gets grants from the Federal Government. They run a county composting service. They help citizens build rain gardens. Bell Creek runs into the Rouge River and the Rouge River runs into the Detroit River. The Detroit River is not a river at all, but a straight between two lakes: Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. (There are rumors that there is also an underground river beneath the Detroit River.) I live in Wayne County, most of Wayne County and Oakland County share the mostly urban watershed of the Rouge River. This watershed is very large and has built pipes and drainage structures to replace the wetlands and marshy areas that filtered the water let it slowly build up the undreground aquifers. The land and water made environments for many species that have had to find other places to live, as they no longer find living environments here.

In my lifetime, much of the watershed became suburb, plotted and divided built with hard surfaces: roofs and roads. I dream of everyone making a rain garden on their little piece of land, so the water can stay and be absourbed into underground aquifers, rather than causing floods in our creek. Our mild mannered Bell Creek becomes a raging torrent during rain events. Water that ought to be drippping into aquifers hits hard surfaces (Impervious surfaces) and is piped into a current carrying catastrophe for any life forms that would try to make their home in the creek. I have not even seen any water rats in the creek of late.

I dream of every family in every home becoming stewards of their land and making a rain garden and a wild garden. Rain gardens and dry river beds to help with drainage and wild gardens filled with native plants that wild life can relate to and make their homes in.

Since I have been making more space for grow zones and native plants, I have been host to toads and to some garder snakes. One mail carrier saw a garder snake and threw up her mail (and wouldn't deliver my mail). What have things come to when our people don't know a harmless garder snake and assume it is a rare Missisauga Rattler (the only poisonous snake in our area). I have been bitten by a garder snake, but that was long ago, I was trying to pet it. It was a small bite and soon healed. Mostly garder snakes get out of the way when they see you coming, this one must have been sunning and the mail carrier was a quiet walker, not like those noisy cars. We don't have many pedestrians, even in our very walkable neighborhood.

I dream in our neighborhood, there might more places to walk to. I dream of places to walk to and I dream of being able to ride my bike to the library without having to go around the fenced munciple golf course.

I dream of regenerating the places we live, so that our environments are no longer filled with grass, that we no longer put weed killer down, or petroleum based fertilizer.

I realize these are small things to dream of. Great world events go on while I dream. I dream that we all find ways to compost, one compost pile at a time we will sequester carbon and save the world from terrible consequences. Making rain gardens will save our creek from high, fast water. These are things I dream of. Happy New Year.


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