I am watching the sun rise this morning in the deep woods. It is at best just a wreath of light through the heavy foliage.

I am reminded of the off-hand title given to a literary work, “The Sun Also Rises” (is it Hemingway?), which suggests, oh yes, in addition to all the other horrendous things that are happening at the moment, the sun also rises. It is the ordinary amidst the extraordinary.

A small flock of geese passed overhead and announced themselves with their honking to greet the sunrise. Three chickadees dart about in a white cedar tree to suggest that it is time to be busy again with the sunrise.

I notice that rascally sun does not jump vertically into the sky, as I expect it to. It slips gently southward as it rises. I can trace its pathway through the foliage. In all the many years I have watched the sunrise, I had not realized this before. That would seem to be a change; but, of  course, it is no change at all.

One of the themes I have found repeated in my years of sitting in the deep woods is the constancy of change.

Change is one of the phenomenon I feel I can always depend upon in nature.  And it is, I wager, the reason why we humans have developed the science of taxonomy, to try to establish some order in the world of this capricious lady called Mother Nature.

And perhaps it is the reason why I have struggles with the concept called “climate change,” The climate changes — hmm.

Maybe I have considered this climate change inappropriately. The advocates of this concept are not saying that this change has not happened before. Climate change has been going on since the birth of the earth.

The difference is that we believe that a creature exists for the first time upon the face of the earth who has the intelligence to alter this climate change. He may not have the  moral fiber. But he has the intelligence, (and perhaps the universal pronoun will have to change to “she” before this can happen).

It seems to me that those who represent these two pronouns will have different feelings about nature. They will have different approaches to this planet.

He will say, grab it while you can. He will use high-flown phrases and condone his approach, like “manifest destiny.” In this reference to males of human history I will cite one exception. He was born in Palestine 2,000 ago.

She will say, nurture the planet. She will call the planet Mother Earth. And she will call all that is on the planet Mother Nature.

Indeed, the planet will change in the next few decades. Either we humans will be wiped off the face of the earth, and then the earth will restore itself. Or else we will become totally different human beings, and we will use our intelligence and moral strength to turn this change around and recreate a healthy planet once again.

Fifteen robins gather briefly in an open space near me. They gather to migrate. Bless them. Bless them.

James Alger, who lives in Fargo, N.D., has been a summer resident of the Leech Lake area with his family for over 45 years. Over that time he has grown to love and appreciate the people and the woodlands of this area.


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