The last few winters I lived in upstate New York were eerie. One February, we opened our windows to beat back heat, and still I couldn’t sleep. There was something about that windy, too-warm weather that felt untouchable, like I couldn’t affect it, out of my hands. Just how things are now. The poem I wrote, “Inversion,” tries to call out that strange, unjustified resignation of agency I felt in the face of what we’ve made.
That same winter, I read about these reindeer in Siberia unable to eat enough to survive because warming, weirding temperatures have left the lichen they rely on trapped beneath far more ice and snow than usual. Over 80,000 have died in the last 10 years. Here’s the photo of frozen reindeer that I couldn’t stop thinking about and wrote about in “Impenetrable”:
Photo by Roma Serotetto, University of Lapland.
I’ve been unsure how to write about climate change. But Kathleen Dean Moore and Scott Slovic’s Call to Writers follows me to every page. Writing about wildlife in a far-away place or the way a crocus blooms too soon might seem too removed, too small respectively. What about the inequitable human costs? What about moving beyond just grief and witness? I’ll keep trying.