WESTMINSTER ART FESTIVAL
an annual juried exhibit of the visual arts on an environmental theme
sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church
Too much, Not enough by Nancy Hoy Nott
"Climate refugees have yet to be recognized officially
by international law or included in the UN refugee convention."
The loon calls over the south end of
the lake in mid-December.
She should have left sooner.
Too much warmth has kept her here
though her partner has left.
They walk the dry riverbed now
as their only path to hope.
Cracks and dust where water flowed,
footprints of a family where fish should be.
The finch winters in the phoebe's nest,
fooled by warm December to stay and rest too long.
No insects to support his flight now,
no mate for this early spring.
Island nation first to see the start of each day
now becomes the first to disappear underwater.
Their small boats not adequate vessels
to move tot he next island;
the next island a country not willing to take them in.
The turkey vulture used to be a summer guest here,
wintering in South America, gathering on the beaches.
Now, they ahve taken up residence here all year,
soaring and seeking food needed by hungry winter foragers.
They are number 5035 on a list at the border.
Maybe, on a good day, 40 will be let in.
"I can go a few days with our food," she says,
"but my children cannot."
I'd Rather Write about Butterflies by Jill Marcusse
Inflatable rubber boats crowded with orange
life-jacketed refuges beach and are emptied.
Fleeing war, their homes gone, they seek
security but find security barbed-wire against them.
Secure the borders. This belongs to me. —
cry the governments of the Haves. Lacking a soul
they spew fear and hate. The Have-nots
are stranded. In derision called drifters, boat people,
they are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters
like you and I. They gathered their children, left all
behind to seek a place of safety, a place of opportunity
to begin again. They find closed borders.
The camps they are forced to stay in
have no schools, no future for their children.
The migration is accelerating. The water’s rising.
The life-jackets are being abandoned.
We clutch our serenity, our sunsets, our gardens fluttering with butterflies, while our government sells war,
detains and imprisons people asking for asylum from them
at our borders. Are we complicit? Caring?
The orange Painted Ladies migration from Mexico
north is epic this year, with pretty pictures, videos in slow
motion of the butterflies flying over poppy fields
orange, accented lavender in Super Bloom.
In actuality the Painted Ladies fly low and fast
Like bats out of Hell, one California witness wrote.
The climate is changing. The world is changing.
Let us open our hearts. Open our borders.
Borders are in Season by Kenneth Arthur
"For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heavan...
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. - Ecclesiastes 3
Creations swirls, shifts in endless motion
seeking balance in rhythms guided
by season. Sandhills dance in devotion
blown in on warm spring winds. I'm reminded
when autumn arrived my grandparents packed
their Airstream and fled south after first frost
as if nature betrayed them and attacked
without mercy. But no borders were crossed
in their sojourn and they, like cranes, would soon
return home, a privilege the outcast
Salvadoran and Syrian can't assume
until threat of violence and bomb's blast
have faded into history. Borders
matter, mostly to my white elderly
grandparents to keep poor and brown horrors
from disturbing their childhood memory
of peaceful, pleasantly calm suburban
Streets. Oh, to be a crane and take to wing
when grandpa is possessed by his bourbon
fueled harangues, to soar high above and sing
free from borders and the calamity
of fear - this is what forms a foundation
upon which loving community
blooms, swirls and shifts in endless creation.
Out of Ashes by Deborah Darling
We are returning north,
back to our wool sweaters and ten thousand lakes.
At a friend's farm we sip sweet tea, say our goodbyes,
until that voice on the phone,
the moving van is on fire.
Live oaks stretch into an unspeaking sky,
cascades of dull moss weeping.
Under a July sun, burning onto bronze water,
mattresses lean against the fence, seared.
Sooty footprints lead into rooms that reek of smoke.
The say it is a bad time to have a baby. Number five.
I sit on the screen porch wrapped in a damp towel, swollen,
wait for him to come to us with eyes the color of August water,
wait for him to bring our hearts home.
When the cold comes it sneaks between pine boughs,
through window panes into our bones
so that we huddle at the stone fireplace
with cups of hot tea and quilts.
We dream of hospitality, Magnolias,
Calloway Gardens, Stone Mountain,
high rocky streams in the hills
while the lake turns black, the wind-ruffled blue,
and the geese come back, landing noisily on rough water.