The animals
stay in the shade
except early morning
and late evening,
when they go out
to eat grasshoppers
and search for blades of grass.
During the day,
alpaca, goats, chickens, guineas,
sit together
in the slightly less hot
open-ended east side of the barn,
where there is a little breeze.
The rabbit family
stays in the burrows
they have dug in their outside condo,
appearing now and then
in their pen
for drinks of water,
nibbles of food.
The air temperature
has been 109 degrees
the last couple of days
and there are heat warnings
and predictions for continued hot—
even hotter—
temperatures
and little, or no, rain.
The grass is crunchy
underfoot
and we are concerned
about grazing
for the goats and paca boys.
We are deciding
which vegetable plants
to keep watered
and alive
for fall production.
We hear reports that there
is not one iota of moisture
in the earth
two feet down.
(There’s no way we could dig a hole
in the hard earth
to see for ourselves.)
Water levels in farm ponds,
are, once again,
diminishing.
Wildfires are now
burning in Oklahoma.

We knew it would come:
August.
Traditionally hot and dry,
it is ever more so.
When I was in college,
(a journalism major)
I heard two things
that I suspected were true
but didn’t want to believe:
that newspapers
would become extinct
and that this part of the world
would become a desert.
Denial
of either possibility
is now impossible.
If we can deny the effects
of global warming
every other month,
August is our dose of reality.
The good thing
about having the courage
to face reality
is that then we can
make changes.
We can decide
what it is we can do
to reduce our individual
burning of fossil fuel
and carbon production
into the atmosphere.
And we can decide
to let the powers that be
(corporations and governments)
know that we are willing
to do what it takes
to not allow the carbon
into the atmosphere
that producing and burning oil
from the tar sands
beneath the Boreal Forest
would bring about.

This planet that is our home
is one living organism
of which we are a significant part.
Our part is to see,
wonder at
and celebrate
its beauty,
its intricate systems,
its interdependence,
and to pay attention
and speak up
and take action
when it is threatened.
August
reminds us.

Here,
suggestions
for August reading:

Bill McKibben’s recent article in Rolling Stone.

About the environmental significance of the Boreal Forest.

A book by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
to help us face our challenges
and move into action: Active Hope.

And,
one way to get involved: 350.org