What do we really know? Rainforest lungs of the planet, and we northerners enjoined to rail against Brazilian excess here, in the temples of Canfor, Weyerhauser and further west, Macmillan Bloedel with their measuring eyes. My grandfather, too knew how to estimate, from the ground both the height of a tree and its likely board-feet; but understand, he moved by hand and in photos, it’s his own sons on the roof. Such luxury, a sturdy house big enough. Rainforest lungs, bepanthered and howling with small cousins of man and womankind; in school, if we stuck it far enough, our kind of Indians could learn about The Yanomamo, stranger than monkeys awesome and fragile, needing to stay stoneage a luxury worth protecting, wild people of our own holding it down for the Twentieth Century, the line you know the line. Here is a mystery: we got high enough with our sensors and robots and cameras to pick up the thin red evidence. It is the Sahara who protects the Amazon. Scirocco lifts sand into wind highways that run west, where it seeds clouds over Amazonas. So, one desert, one forest two lungs? If we regreen the erg, what of the giants westward? If the rainforest falls, will sand switch tactics, seize seeds in hot fists and go savannah then jungle, breathing and shrieking in its turn? What do we know, epochally? Are we already emphesemal?How many lungs does a planet possess? Taiga, tundra, prairie, swamp how many lungs? Are we truly evil? Or is this enviro-angst just a dying gasp from churches lashing their way across the lands, sighing, ‘O Lord I am not worthy to receive You,’ but sucking up all the air. Luxury and poverty. Rattle in the lung. What do we know? Still, birds preen in northern morning sun in the tree outside my window, an elder in an urban tribe even now swelling with buds, waiting to exhale. If there is a choice, as the Master sang, let the rivers fill let the hills rejoice.* Whatever organ I inhabit, if there is a choice, I’d be mitochondrial, so long as I can keep a little luxury, my robe and slippers, coffee and time for wondering, what do we know? *Leonard Cohen, from 'If it be Your Will'