Poetry: The Whole(y) Trinity (Earth+Rain+Sun) +Air

Our Earth is breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning, staggering, imposing, stirring, and impressive. It’s also formidable, fearsome, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, marvelous, and wondrous.

I

It is pure coincidence when the sun and I rise together.
Some mornings, I get to see him peeking through smoky cloud,
other times he is in full blast before I notice the lightness
of another day, I might say, he’s looking kind of gray.
We need the sun. Without sun, we are none, no life begun.
But too much sun is less than fun for those of us
who’d a fair-skin mum, with sun’s-red or blonde hair.
Here come the sun, with promises of things not done.

II

‘tis all the same with the rain, hello, this is nature’s sweetest gift.
The water of life, with two hydros and one oh, of it we drink
vapes up to the sky, but not to the sun, to meet
with clouds of wonder before coming to cleanse
and to make things grow, sometimes as ice, or maybe as snow.
To make us a soup the plants may drink and we of the flesh,
must readily use to be mostly moving bags of water —
no rain, no water; no water – no life, but we have for us
the rain and rain and water and life that needs rain.

III

The earth, the dirt and the dullest dust of all things come and gone —
the coat of soil, six inches deep, worn by the planet is key to it all.
Type of soil names go with what it does and may sound human,
like Clay, Loam, Sandy, Peat, Rocky, and Chalky all improved
with organic things of life gone past, soil is often used for art,
but add the seed then wait to see the growth of life and us to be
mixed and matched and combined with time, then add and mix
the sun and rain and plant life comes, and air is there, and life
of animals and we are they. Care for it all if you plan to stay.

IV

Deep sigh for air and sky. Ya know, lads and lasses, it seems
brother air was not always there, but he’s a changeling contrivance
subject to manipulation with a chemical touch and that is, you see,
what all the fuss truly is and what it’s all about. The magic of
the other three working together (with the sea) brought to be
what we now suck into our lungs and over our tongues the air
the plants brought forth by a wonderful trinity of symbiotic
relationships giving life (recently to us) — for a time. How long?

©Bill Reynolds 11/19/2018

Look both ways in matters of life and nature. They’ve been here longer than us.
Mind the gaps with open-minded caution, discovery may one day fill them with knowledge.
All life, all earth is one. Let’s not fuck this up.

Cotton Pickin’ Cotton

We were driving thru New Mexico to the Texas border. There’s no wall in that area, so we were free to pass where towns have names like Clovis, Muleshoe, Whiteface, Sundown, or Cotton Center. (Wall comment is humor.) Yolonda was driving when I first noticed sheets of white ice, which had formed on the north side of plants, tree limbs, and anything sticking up out of the ground.

 

Note wind turbine base in background.

While the scene was pretty, it looked like an ice storm had passed by. But the look wasn’t quite correct. As we continued, we drove into a thick fog, or some sort of cloud.

That part of America is a windy, unpleasant, high-n-dry desert. Why anything, much less cotton, grows there is a mystery to me. Cotton may have a history of controversy in America, but we all have items produced from cotton in our homes, and yer probably wearing some now. We were driving through the midst of cotton country, which extends from California thru the southern USA up to Virginia — once called “King Cotton” for a good economic reasons.

 

Cannot see the tops of the huge wind turbine electricity generators.

When I saw my first cotton field, I asked my friend to pull over. I jumped out of the car, crawled through the fence, and picked some raw cotton. I was 19 and a damn-yankee (Yolonda insists that’s one word) who’d never seen it growing. I knew little about cotton. Just that is was a textile and that it had a lot to do with The Civil War, The South, a guy named Eli Whitney, and his invention called a gin.

I understood that gin was an alcoholic drink, a card game, and was a word for to come up with, as in gin up. Later I learned what it had everything to do with cotton. A cotton gin is a machine that removes seeds, husks, and foreign material from cotton. Big machines are used to harvest it. Then, it’s taken to the nearest gin where all the seed stuff is removed. The seeds are used for cotton seed oil, but I don’t know if any other part of the plant is used for anything but compost.

 

Cotton fiber frozen to a bush.

As it turns out, the ginning of cotton is a messy process as it draws cotton fibers through a screen thingy to sift out the seeds and husks. A lot of stuff, especially cotton fiber, ends up floating in the air. It looks like clouds or fog. When I say a lot, I am talking majorly huge acres of cotton fiber floating all over the place. If you’re down wind of one of these gin things (as my daughter is), and allergic to atmospheric dust (as she seems to be), good luck.

After pulling off onto the wide shoulder of a Texas road, I walked about 30 yards to a brushy area for a closer look. I had no worries about critters like snakes, it was too brutally cold, as it often is in the unfriendly climate of the Texas Panhandle. I saw the white ice on branches, limbs, tree trunks, and  rocks. Closer examination revealed clear ice covering something white. I broke off a small thin branch and split it open.

I looked around when I realized that I had solved the mystery. What appeared to be fog, was not. It was cold and humid with moisture in the air, but the “fog” was actually teeny bits of cotton fiber and seed husk floating in the air. Agricultural and mechanical air pollution was being generated by the harvesting and cleaning of cotton with gins. It’s all done right there before the product is sent off to further processing and turned into consumer products.

The combination of a north wind with the right atmospheric conditions of moisture and freezing temperatures combined with the white cotton fibers floating in the air. As this combination moved south, it hit upon north-facing vegetation and virtually anything sticking up into the air. As this mini ice storm passed over, it placed a layer of white cotton fiber on the limbs and branches, then covered it with water which froze to form a thin layer of ice. The result was a glistening combination that looked like frozen snow on one side of trees, even down the trunks. It was frozen air pollution.

 

Ice on cotton on wood.

Joanna Gains of the HGTV show Fixer Upper uses cotton plants for decoration. Here is a link if you want to see, or even buy some (Click here for link). I don’t cotton to the décor, myself.

And then there is the story of the lady who was upset with Hobby Lobby (or some such place) cuz she felt cotton for décor is racially offensive. Cotton did not cause slavery, but the invention of Whitney’s cotton gin did contribute to the significant expansion of the cotton industry and slavery during the first half of the 19th Century.

A little cotton pickin’ music for your listening pleasure (CCR doing a Leadbelly tune).

Be curious as you look both ways.
Mind the gaps and watch for snakes when you stop to smell the roses
or admire nature’s work in concert with local farmers.