The first ruby-throated hummingbird arrived here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere late last week -- none too worse for the wear after his long flight across the Gulf of Mexico from his winter home in the Yucatan. He is the first of a flock that will eventually number in the several dozen, over-summering and taking advantage of the Colonel's sugar largess aboard the vast lands of the Tallahatchie Free State.
The first hummingbirds normally arrive here after the 1st of April each year.
However, this calendar year has started off anything but normal.
Although the first three months of the year were supposed to be Winter, the icy-breathed old man stayed in Canada and Spring sprung in January.
Among the loyal legions of you who regularly imbibe of the irregular literary libations ladled out in periodic posts hereon, there are certainly several who have just leaned back in their ergonomic chairs, taken a swig of their lattes, and exclaimed,
"Aha!! Global Warming!!"
Among the loyal legions of you who regularly imbibe of the irregular literary libations ladled out in periodic posts hereon, there are certainly several LSU and 'Bama grads who have just leaned back, scratched the peak of their hat racks, and asked,
"Whatsa ergonomic chair?"
Start drinking lattes and it will come to you. That, and an insatiable desire to purchase anything with Barak Obama's likeness plastered on it.
Little known fact: Lattes cause liberalism.
The Colonel digresses.
The Colonel is not a Global Warming (or Climate Change, or Environmental Evolution -- call it whatever you wish) denier. Nor does he strongly contest the contention that modern man's carbon fuel effluence has contributed to the increasingly effective carbon dioxide greenhouse surrounding this big blue marble.
He just doesn't think it is really anything over which to commit collective suicide.
The Colonel can accept the bases of most of the theories and notions about the consequences of the Earth's atmospheric temperature fluctuation -- whether amplified by modern man's actions or not.
He is just not ready to discard the adjective "modern" in order to attempt arrest of the amplification.
The Colonel wonders, with what is left of his rapidly diminishing cognitive abilities, "Wouldn't it be much more modern for man to figure out ways to adapt to the change in climate to our advantage, rather than frantically cutting off our collective post-modern proboscis to spite ourselves?"
Even the most casual review of the history of man reveals clearly that among his greatest attributes are his abilities to shape, and adapt.
Still, there is an even deeper and more worrisome problem with the climate change fear-mongers. The fear they purvey is a spirit-killing spear to the heart of man.
In his 1950 Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech, William Faulkner eloquently expressed the point toward which the Colonel has heretofore ineloquently bloviated,
"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up?"
Faulkner spoke generally to a world gripped by the fear of impending and seemingly unavoidable nuclear holocaust.
He spoke specifically to young writers who, accepting the prevailing conventional wisdom that man's minutes were irrevocably numbered in the shadow of runaway nuclear fission mushroom clouds, had, in his words,
"...forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat."
Faulkner warned that man, generally, and a writer, specifically,
"...must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands."
Faulkner spoke to the young writers of his age, but his words hold the power of universal inspiration today. He summed up his firm faith in the God-given spirit of man with,
"I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."
To which the Colonel need only add,