7:03 a.m. 46 degrees, wind W 0 mph; steady rain, good morning to stay in
bed, but Shadowfax had diarrhea while the sun was somewhere above the
western Atlantic. Sky: twin ribbons of ground fog above both branches of
the Ompompanoosuc, fogless elsewhere; three black crows, silent, beneath a
gray, leaky sky. Permanent streams: forty-eight hours out from the deluge;
much-reduced flow. Wetlands: color saturation on the theme of brown, hints
of green; red and orange across the marsh, last embers of autumn. Pond:
concentric circles and coruscating sparkles; leaves and pine needles pile
into the southeast cove. Thronged with expanding and interlocking ripples,
the surface of the pond reminds me, one more time, *Inclement weather bears
*Color *short-lived, more memory than substance, six weeks squeezed into
two. Brown, the new orange. Some maples, a blend of both brown and orange,
like a vestment of monarch butterflies, shed leaves, shed color, shed
water, shed the condensation of a season.
In the alders, a fleeting glimpse of a Lincoln sparrow, a sulky bird with a
finely streaked buffy breast, named for the president who preserved the
union and abolished slavery. The name *Lincoln sparrow* is not likely to
change, ever. In August, the American Ornithological Union (AOU) renamed
McCown's longspur, a plain-colored, grassland relative of the cedar
waxwing, *thick-billed longspur*. The AOU acknowledged that John P. McCown,
a bird collector and amateur ornithologist, had also been a Confederate
Publicly, the National Audubon Society, the American Museum of Natural
History, and the Sierra Club grapple with the gloom of their own respective
heroes: John James Audubon, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir. If they were
alive today and behaved as they did in their own lifetimes, Audubon,
Roosevelt, and Muir would questionably be labeled *white supremacists*.
They were men of their times, not ours. We're products of our times, not
I certainly don't condone their anti-social behavior and wretched beliefs .
. . but, as a lifelong naturalist, whose boyhood was unburdened by things
that hopped and crawled and flew, I can't forget their contributions to the
understanding, the interpretation, the protection of the land that I love.
If Roosevelt had not acceded to the White House, in 1901, we wouldn't be
rallying against President Trump's endorsement of industrial tourism in
Grand Canyon National Park . . . there would be *no* Grand Canyon.