Tell us about your acts of climate courage or those of others – human or non-human – in no more
It’s summertime and the cat’s pink paws are turning black. Lentigo, says Google. The spots will spread over time. I wonder if the cat notices. These spots are as unsightly and asymmetrical as our most tender bruises: that thing I wish I’d never said, your secret I couldn’t keep. It is the unrelenting stillness of this time that is most unsettling—there is, at last, nowhere to hide from the self. The comforts of modern life (yoga studios, trinket shops) dutifully obscured the truest things we will ever know: who we are, alone at night, our paw spots spreading insidiously, imperceptibly.
— Stephanie Nicolard (Los Angeles, California)
Jennie Carlisle and Laura England are both part of the Climate Stories Collaborative at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.
Leah, psych major, says COVID is karma – mental health’s reprisal for its public stigma. Fear of sickness, fear of going out – they’re not so crazy now, are they?
Madeline, poet, says COVID is a media metaphor. Tech disconnect has sickened us socially. The cure lies in noticing. Hummingbird on wire still or delicate petal snow-fall. Slow down, look up, breathe, pay attention.
I think the answer lies in between these disparate views: perhaps COVID is a reminder that we cannot prevent all ills, but observation may inoculate us from the myopic view of the screen. Protect yourself.
— Kathleen Bergen (Santa Monica, California)
Trickster Mix Ko Taranaki tōku maunga / My mountain is TaranakiKo Hangatahua tōku awa / My river is the HangatahuaKo Kurahaupo tōku waka /
Gold and green, with an iridescent blue head, nowadays a wild peacock shows up, infatuating me with full plume, feathers down, then helicopter leaps onto the rooftop, resting beside the front door, eating the proper birdseed – banana when I have it. He doesn’t care for apples. Absolute supermodel material.
In an organizational fete both cultural and digital, I discover photographs of his visit last autumn. Could explain why housecats yowling is reserved for raccoons on the deck.
The unnamed peacock’s telling begins: Strawberry blonde, midlife, nowadays a friendly human shows up, seems she was a workaholic, now birdfeeder slash photographer.
— Eileen E. Schmitz (Sequim, Washington)
Intersections of the Climate Crisis and Disability For some of us, the crisis isn’t coming, it’s here: air we can’t
An “empty nester” no more, my twins back home. I’ve gotten good at crises. Facing fears and unknowns. My children just four when their dad was murdered in the 9/11 attacks.
This plight is tougher. They should be out socializing, working, finding more of themselves. It’s a pandemic, where else should they be? Precious time back for us three. Re-bonding. My privilege to show up, yet this crisis is really testing my proclivity to keep my energy upbeat.
Playing together each day, till I can resend them into the world. Again. That release will be harder than the first time.
— Lisa Paterson (Hudson Valley, New York)
Trumpish billionaires are especially thriving in quarantine. How?
The richest New York City billionaire landlord does it through wanton disregard. Disregards a court order to fix chronic leaks until the ceiling collapses. Catastrophic flooding destroys a sweet lady’s apartment. She loses belongings, furnishings, and her thirty-plus-year rent-stabilized home.
Sickened from mold, immune compromised, homeless for over two years, with zero compensation from the billionaires, she’s vulnerable, quarantined in yet another friend’s house.
Papers arrive! Settlement? Finally? No, billionaire landlord’s still suing for thousands of dollars in “back rent” – for when she was homeless.
The Virus of Greed persists. Superspreader President, no vaccine.
— Keni Fine (Astoria, New York)
“Too much propaganda masquerading as art.” This was the first comment that appeared on Instagram when HowlRound Theatre Commons shared