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June 2017
Vol. VII, No. 297

June 2017

“Irises," Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, J. Paul Getty Museum.

“Irises,” Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, J. Paul Getty Museum.

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring:  For years now, I have been reading and sharing the  work of the brave scientists and journalists who have dared to bring us the very bad news that the collapse of what I generally refer to as Gaia is imminent. My certain knowledge that our entire, interdependent ecosystem, or biosphere, is now facing the Sixth Extinction, and sooner as opposed to later, dates to just before my reading of Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert’s seminal work on the subject. Seven months ago, here at Weekly Hubris, I began publishing essays on point by Dr. Guy McPherson, and my readers and friends have, predictably, begun—as a result of reading McPherson—churning through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (in no particular  order, and over and over again). Guy’s June essay, titled “Faster than Expected,” updates the projected timeline of life on Earth. Writes McPherson: “I doubt there will be a human on Earth by mid-2026. Indeed, I doubt there will be complex life on this planet by then. It’ll be a small world, as was the case in the wake of each of the five prior Mass Extinction events on Earth. Bacteria, fungi, and microbes will dominate. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, humans will lose habitat on Earth before the last human dies. The final human will probably die after running out of canned food in a bunker. And he or she will not know human extinction has occurred.” I myself have taken on board Guy’s (and so many others’) research not with any joy but, this spring, as I come to grips with the terminal illnesses of two dear, young friends, I have realized ever more clearly that, as a result of Guy’s reporting . . . we all have time to celebrate the luminous achievements of Homo sapiens while, yet, mourning our mutual demise—together. Guy is here to say we have sufficient time to seize, and squeeze, the days, though they are numbered. And, since how we live from here on out supersedes that we live, I will continue here as I began: celebrating the unique and exquisite voices of Weekly Hubris’s band of writers . . . this month, Diana Farr Louis, writing from Greece about trout, and lasting friendship; Dr. Skip Eisiminger, entertaining as always, this June about celibacy; poet Claire Bateman, introducing us to the work of Malena Mörling; and Anita Sullivan, with a heaping serving of whimsy—the tale she spun for her toddler son about the origin of moons.

“Death Throw,” by Mike Beauregard.

“Death Throw,” by Mike Beauregard.

Going Dark

“Faster than Expected,” By Guy McPherson

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2017—As I’ve pointed out previously, I doubt there will be a human on Earth by mid-2026. Indeed, I doubt there will be complex life on this planet by then. It’ll be a small world, as was the case in the wake of each of the five prior Mass Extinction events on Earth. Bacteria, fungi, and microbes will dominate. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, humans will lose habitat on Earth before the last human dies. The final human will probably die after running out of canned food in a bunker. And he or she will not know human extinction has occurred. According to the Pentagon’s JASON Group, the situation for life on Earth will be far worse than I have ever described. A well-informed insider there wrote on 19 December 2016: “THE JASON GROUP at the Pentagon is getting new data (upon my constant requests) that the effect of over 450 reactors melting down will most likely destroy the Ozone layers. Rather than going Venus, Earth will end up more like Mars. Very dead with almost no chance to regenerate an atmosphere. Report to be published in 2017.” (Read more . . .)

Hermaphrodite at the new Thebes Museum, just one of hundreds of eye-catching exhibits. (Photo: Christa Vayannos)

Hermaphrodite at the new Thebes Museum, just one of hundreds of eye-catching exhibits. (Photo: Christa Vayannos)

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“A Day Too Full Of Events To Be Briefly Described,” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2017—Although the excursion had been planned for two months, its beginning was inauspicious. One couple, feeling unwell, had dropped out, and the traffic leaving Athens was so horrendous that the morning news commentators interrupted their daily analysis of our negotiations with the IMF et al to query the cause. The 12-km drive from central Athens to Kifissia, at worst no more than 40 minutes, took well over an hour that Friday in early April. Luckily, the traffic dispersed (again for no obvious reason) and it then took about the same amount of time to get to our destination, Thebes, some 93 km away. The objective of the outing was to show a bit of flowering countryside to a dear friend from Stockholm, visit the new museum at Thebes, and lunch at a trout farm near the ancient sites of Orchomenos, which we remembered as being close by. There were seven of us in two cars, six women and one sole gentleman, also a native of Stockholm. (Read more . . .)

Nuns on the beach (Photo: Getty).

Nuns on the beach (Photo: Getty).

Skip the B.S.

“Holy Half-Wits: Celibacy,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2017—Strolling in Rome many years ago, I followed a bevy of elderly nuns past some shops near the western end of the Palatine Bridge. As they passed a bridal-shop window, I noticed that several nuns glanced at the manikins, resplendent and beguiling in brocaded silks and veils of their own. I could not see the nuns’ faces, and they paused only briefly to look, but I had to wonder what they were thinking or if they spoke of the decision that had made them “brides of Christ.” Had they ever felt any remorse since taking those vows that, in part, echo the requiem mass? Face down before some stony altar, they lay, “dead to the world . . .  hidden in Christ” henceforth and forever after. In a personal letter, Helen Hunt Jackson was frank to the point of rudeness with her friend Emily Dickinson when she wrote, “When you are what men call dead, you will be sorry you were so stingy.” Of course, if Miss Dickinson had married and had children, it’s unlikely we would have the many great poems of hers we have. However, the man who retires to a male-exclusive residence like Mount Athos to spend his days primarily in prayer is guilty of what Shakespeare might have called “a waste of spirit in an expense of shame” or what I call a rebuke to life. (Read more . . .)

Malena Mörling.

Malena Mörling.

Speculative Friction

“How Wondrous Strange,” By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2017—“How Wondrous Strange It Was at that Moment to Be in the Flesh” first appeared in Ocean Avenue, Malena Mörling’s first book. Mörling, born 1965, is a Swedish-American poet and translator. Her two collections are Ocean Avenue, which won the New Issues Press Poetry Prize in 1998 and Astoria, published by Pittsburgh Press in 2006. She has translated works by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, the Finnish-Swedish poet Edith Södergran, and numerous other Swedish poets as well as the American poet Philip Levine. She was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2007 and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship in 2010. Mörling is a Research Associate at the School For Advanced Research on the Human Experience in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The poet was born in Stockholm in 1965, and brought up in southern Sweden. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Core Faculty in The Low Residency MFA program at New England College. (Biography derived from Wikipedia.) (Read more . . .)

“Wheat Field with Crows,” Vincent Van Gogh, July 1890.

“Wheat Field with Crows,” Vincent Van Gogh, July 1890.

On The Other Hand

“How Do They Make Moons?,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2017—Most of us who have spent some time in the company of children will know about the subversive power contained in some of their urgent but innocent questions. My own favorite example comes from a question my three-year-old son Timothy asked 39 years ago, when I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a rare city that has managed to keep its deep magic alive and visible for those visitors and inhabitants who may be paying attention to such things. A group of us were taking a walk at dusk near the city landfill, which was located on a spot from which you could get a pretty good view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We lined up silently on top of a mound, looking across the uneven ground towards the dump itself, to await the full moon that was just rising into the limpid New Mexico heavens. After the enormous moon had freed itself from the uneven snags of the horizon, Timothy broke the silence and asked: “How do they make moons?” (Read more . . .)

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