Halloween seems especially portentous this year.Some of us thrive in this introduction to what was a major set of Christian holidays that encompassed many pagan traditions.The lynchpin was All Saints Day (All Hallows), which in good Christian fashion upheld its favorite sons (and a few daughters) to remind the rest of us what a sorry lot of humanity we are.Followed by the more democratic All Souls Day where the vestments went from white to black, it was preceded by Halloween.Through mostly Celtic additions from Samhain, the first of the three days became decidedly spooky and came to be a commercial holiday.There’s more to it than that, of course, but we all know Halloween.
This year a number of other phenomena are converging on today.Not only is it a full moon, but a famed blue moon—the second full moon this month.It feel like something could happen.And if that weren’t exciting enough the powers that be have decided to end Daylight Saving Time tonight (well, technically tomorrow morning).And Tuesday is the most importation election day in the history of our nation, when we decide whether to retain democracy or become a monarchy.Seems like a strange confluence of phenomena.Meanwhile, outdoors a pandemic rages and some locations have had early snowfalls.The last of what had been Hurricane Zeta blew through here yesterday.Who needs Halloween to be scared?
For some years I’ve been contemplating the spirituality of Halloween.We live in a death-denying culture while knowing full well we all die.Halloweenhas become a holiday when we can think about it openly.Pretend we’re someone/something we’re not.Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we might learn something from it.It has become a boon for horror films, but they’ve been successfully spread through the rest of the year as well.There’s plenty to be frightened of in July and January too.Still, there’s something about Halloween.Some of my earliest memories are of this particular holiday.Poor as we were, we always had costumes for the day.I remember sitting on the school bus, wearing a mask, thinking that nobody knew who I was, and I could really be the hero or villain that my costume suggested that year.Now we wear masks all the time and we’re frightened every day.Halloween is coming along with a blue moon this year.There must be some significance to that.
It’s a chilling thought.An article in the New York Times said it, but we were all thinking it.Snow days may well have become another victim of Covid-19.No, it’s not snowing yet (but give climate change a chance!), but New York City schools have figured out that if students can learn from home then one of the truly treasured memories of our youth may no longer be necessary.In fact, snow days ended for me when I began working remotely.My supervisor had suggested, even before that, that I take my company laptop home daily, in case of inclement weather.The idea of awaking, wonder-eyed, at the world covered in white—that cozy feeling of knowing you had no obligations for the day but to enjoy the pristine world out your window—is a thing of the past.
Technology has changed our lives, and some of it is even for the better.It hasn’t made work easier for some of us, but has made it longer.We used to talk about kids and their continuous partial attention, but now work is always at home with you and that time signature on your email says something about your work habits.As the days are now shorter than the nights, as they will be for six more months, finding the time to do what you must outdoors (it may be cooler, but lawns still insist on growing) is always a bit more of a challenge.And when the snow does fall you’ll still have to shovel the walk.All time has become company time for a truly linked-in world.
The real victim here, it seems to me, is childhood.Snow days were a reminder that no matter how strict, how Calvinistic our administrators wanted to be, the weather could still give us a smile now and then.A legitimate excuse not to have to go to school and, if parents couldn’t get you to daycare, a day off for everyone.The strict number of limited holidays allotted by HR had limited power in those days.Although we all know that well-rested, happy workers tend to do better jobs than those who are constantly stressed out and who have trouble sleeping, we’ve now got the means to make the sameness of pandemic life the ennui of everyday life, in saecula saeculorum.Thanks, internet.At least now we work where we have a window and can look out on nature and can see what we’re missing.
Homeostasis is, if I recall correctly, the state of equilibrium that entities and systems seek.When we’re too warm we seek someplace cooler and when we’re hungry we look for something to eat.It’s a great process of evening things out because we live in a world of extremes.Well, relative extremes for a planet that suited to life.Autumn came in with a chill this year, at least around here.We had a couple of nights with frost before apple-picking season even began.Over in Denver they went from a heat wave to inches of snow overnight.I often wonder, if our species manages to survive long enough, what life will be like once everything evens out.Until then, because of human climate degradation, we’ll be facing more extremes.That’s the way the GOP likes it.
Meanwhile, there may be evidence that life exists on Venus.Or at least in the atmosphere of the hottest planet in the solar system.Up through my college years I toyed with the idea of being an astronomer.I’d learned in high school (for we were a Sputnik-era school in rural Pennsylvania that had a working planetarium) that it was mostly about math.I’m afraid I have no head for such things.Still, I remain fascinated by other planets and their potential.I’m in the market, you might say.Venus had captured my young imagination not only because Ray Bradbury and C. S. Lewis wrote stories about living there, but because of the images from the Russian Venera (blush, giggle) probe program.I knew in high school (planetarium, remember?) that Russia had landed probes on the rocky surface of Venus that had only functioned for a couple of hours at most before breaking down in the extreme conditions.Extremes, again.
Venus could, it was thought, never have supported life.The new evidence, however, stands to show us just how little we understand life.It exists in the most inhospitable environments on our planet.When life was found near black smokers on the ocean floor it was considered a fluke.Maybe life is the norm instead of the rarity our exaggerated sense of self-importance suggests.Venus, after the sun and moon, is the brightest natural object regularly visible in our skies.Both the morning and evening star, it beckons to us.Although not definitive, we’ve found evidence of life on both Venus and Mars.And yet many of us prefer science deniers to lead our nation.So I think of homeostasis as I look at Venus out my early morning window.
With all that’s been happening lately—as 2020 shudders along—we find ourselves at the equinox.For some of us the weather has already been unseasonably cool, feeling like mid-October rather than September.It stands as a reminder that the wheel of nature continues to turn, despite human foibles and plans.Some trees have begun to sense the change and have started their winter fast while others keep their green to suck the last possible sugar from the sun.Days have been getting shorter since late June, of course, but now the drama will increase until the winter solstice has us in the dark for much of the time.It all depends on where you live, but for me the temperate zones have always been home.
I suspect our various predilections toward the oughtness of the world depend in large measure on what we experienced in childhood. I knew winter before I ever experienced summer and the transitional seasons have always been my favorites. The idea that we can take more time and reflect, it seems to me, mirrors what happens in autumn. It’s cooler, so we spend time indoors a bit more. Some years that doesn’t kick in until later, when the heat is on and there’s a coziness to a house that’s been left to nature’s fever all summer. Windows are shut and locked. Artificial warmth reminds us that we can find some solace inside. Meanwhile the trees show us the proper way to face harsh conditions, and yet half a year from now we’ll be eagerly watching for buds. The Celts, temperate zone dwellers, thought of this change as the wheel of the year, slowly turning.
From where I sit in my study, with south and west-facing windows, I watch the path of the sun.Having worked in a cubicle with no outside windows for years, I was always disoriented at the end of the day.Now I can watch and begin to understand.The difference is really striking if you have a single place from which to watch it unfold.The sun is so much higher in the sky in July that it’s evident we’ve entered a new phase now.Instead of being overhead at noon, the shining orb rolls more to the south, sending blinding rays directly through my window.When it reaches the west (where it will, before long, sink before touching that window) I know the work day is over.It’s no wonder our ancient ancestors kept this transition with holidays we’ve long sacrificed to capitalism.I can still, however, see the changes and appreciate them for what they are.
Jacob, it is said, was quite a dreamer.While fleeing from his brother Esau he had a dream of a ladder, or stairway, to heaven.Well, “Heaven” as we recognize it didn’t exist then, but you get the idea.Angels were climbing up and down on it, I’m guessing to do roof repairs.You see, neither my wife nor I are what you might call tall.In fact, I’m a bit shorter than the average guy and we can’t reach the top shelf in our kitchen, let alone the ceiling.Or, God forbid, the roof.So when tropical storm Isaias (not to be confused with the prophet) dropped upwards of five inches of rain on us, some of it got inside.Our roofer, vexed as I was, promised to get over the next week but there’s more rain in the forecast.I had to get up there to do some temporary patching.I needed a ladder.
Ours is an older house.The roof is way higher than any ladder we have.I have one that allows me to get as high as the ceiling, but being acrophobic I don’t use it much.It doesn’t come halfway to the lowest roof.The hardware stores have ladders, but delivery’s a problem.A ladder twice as long as our car seems like a road hazard, strapped to the top.I asked about delivery at the local Lowe’s.It would cost a third of the price again of the ladder itself, and that’s only be if they could deliver it.Their truck was, ironically, broken down.Wasn’t this a DIY store?Could nobody there fix a truck?I put a face-mask and rubber gloves on for this?The world isn’t easy for the vertically challenged.I really don’t want to climb that high, but with the ceiling below already coming down I’ve got to do something.
I wonder if Jacob’s ladder is still lying about somewhere, unused.We don’t live far from Bethlehem.Maybe I can scoot over the Bethel and pick it up.Then again, maybe angels deliver.I hear they can be quite accommodating.Of course, if they’d keep the rain off in the first place that would’ve been helpful.I’m pretty sure that Plant and/or Page had a leaky roof.When they went to get up there they’d found somebody had already purchased the ladder (I think they call it a stairway in England).So I find myself with a leaky roof and no way to get to heaven.
People have been debating how to pronounce Hurricane “Isaias,” an hispanic name based on Isaiah.Pennsylvania, which has few distinguishing features, is generally well enough inland not to have too much hurricane damage.Isaias, however you pronounce it, dumped over five inches of rain in the small town in which we live.Multiple roof leaks sprang up in our house and a small part of the ceiling in one room came down.Not exactly wrath of God level treatment, but unwelcome nevertheless.The real problem was the short amount of time in which the rain fell.Averaging about an inch per hour, the water simply overwhelmed the devices put in place to keep it outside.Being of my particular disposition I can’t help but think of the prophet Isaiah.
Not a classical prophet of doom per se, Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament.He is remembered for “predictions” and soaring rhetoric that promises deliverance.He’s also a prophet known for his woe declarations, as reflected in the Hebrew Bible.This storm, I suspect, has delivered more of the woe than of the hope.Streets were flooded as the local creek burst its banks.Our own street was closed as I called our roofer who, I’m sure, had more than wanted popularity in one day.Being a homeowner, I quickly discovered, is largely a matter of trying to keep the water out.Our sump pump was working overtime and still the rain came.
My book Weathering the Psalms was intended to be the first in a series of volumes exploring meteorotheology in several books of the Bible.The weather, you see, is a popular topic of discussion since in ancient times their meteorology was theology.After the Psalms my exploration was intended to move toward the prophets.There are dramatic events where these saintly folk were able to bring down rain, or withhold it.Israel never experienced hurricanes because they don’t form in the Mediterranean.Meteorological terms, however, shift over time just as by the time Isaias reached us it was a tropical storm.The wind buffeted us a bit, but it was mainly a rain event.I thought at first that I would look at weather terminology in Isaiah and see what I could find there.I don’t know what my conclusions would have been since I was cut off before I could get that far.Like those who cast their bread upon the waters, after many days it came back, ironically in the form of Isaias.
The summer solstice comes whether we want it to or not.Today is the longest day in the northern hemisphere although, as I write this the sun has not yet risen.It was a sleepless night, making this day seem even longer than it already is.Over on Horror Homeroom, where they understand sleepless nights, my piece on the movie Midsommar will appear.I won’t say here what I say there, or you might not go and read it.I will say that for a horror film Midsommar boldly sets itself in a sun-bathed atmosphere, making it all the more unsettling.To see more you’ll need to visit the Homeroom.
There are implications for the longest day.One of the most obvious is that from here on out days will be getting shorter.That’s the thing about anticipation—we crave the light when it’s in such short supply in December and January.This year of Covid, the spring blended into a long stretch of social distancing and isolation, even as the days were growing longer and the weather warmer.It was like some spokes were missing from the wheel of the year.Now that summer’s here many people are acting as if the need for caution is gone.Midsommar may help with that, since it shows that the daylight sometimes shows us what we don’t really wish to see.
Ancient peoples kept an eye on the seasonal changes long before they learned to write.Etched into the landscape markers like Stonehenge and Avebury and countless others were oriented toward celestial points on the solstices.Equinoxes were also observed, as well as the half-way points between.This altering of the earth to commemorate the progressing of the year took great effort, so we must assume it had great importance.You don’t move boulders unless you feel strongly compelled to do so.Such compulsion strikes us all as religious.
So it’s the longest day of the year.What will we do with it?When we look back at it, will we see what we wished we might have done with all that light on our side?Will we treat it just like any other day?The beauty of holidays (of which capitalism recognizes far too few) is that they teach us to stop and reflect for a few moments on the messages our planet sends us.Our longest day is also a message.What we do with that information is up to us.
It’s funny how old fascinations have the power to reemerge with the slightest provocation.I guess writing a book will do that to you.I just finished Peter J. Thuesen’s Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather.There’s a certain kinship among those of us enamored of this relationship.Thuesen finds himself in Indiana, and I was in Wisconsin during my research and writing of Weathering the Psalms.I still haven’t reconciled myself with tornadoes, which were far too likely during my years in the Midwest.As Thuesen explains, there’s just something about them.Neither scientist nor theologian can fully explain them and the feeling of awe spans both disciplines.The book covers a wide range that includes early Protestant settlers and their ideas of providence as well as modern understandings of atmospheric dynamics.Still, the tornadoes…
Randomness also lies behind both tornadoes and science.The eerie function of quantum mechanics makes it seem if there’s a kind of willfulness to even particle physics.Too quick to join in are those among the evangelical camp that want to raise the flag of intelligent design.Thuesen interrogates their theology as he asks questions about both theodicy and global warming.Tornadoes are notorious for killing one person and leaving another right next door completely unscathed.Literally tearing families apart.Some of those we meet in these pages have turned to black-and-white religion for answers.Others tend to see things more in shades of gray.Does God send storms or merely allow them?Are victims singled out or simply unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the right time?America’s armchair theologians have their ready answers, but the weather remains unpredictable.
Readers will find interesting connections throughout.The celestial orientation of religion is pretty obvious as well.Even though modern believers don’t accept a heaven directly overhead, the orientation is still there.Their maddening obtuseness when it comes to global warming is more than just a little naive.Either that or they’re secretly gunning for armageddon.Whichever it is, Thuesen treats all comers with respect.Storms are awe-inspiring events.I recall standing on the edge of a farm field in Illinois and staring up at a lightning display in clouds towering thousands of feet above me.Looking out the south window one night as a cloud continuously lit by lightning made its slow way from west to east just south of where I stood.It was a religious experience.How could it not be?If any of this resonates with you, this is a book you ought to read.
It reminded me of a nightmare.The box, containing a book, was soaked through.A sudden thunderstorm had come before we knew the box was even there on the porch and memories of several boxes of rain-ruined books came back uninvited.Water and books just don’t mix.This particular book, I knew, was Peter Thuesen’s Tornado God, which I had ordered back in December and which has just been released.The irony wasn’t lost on me.My own second book, Weathering the Psalms, was a rather inelegant treatment on a similar topic and I’ll discuss Thuesen’s book in further detail here once I’ve read it.The point is that no matter how arrogant we become as a species the weather just remains beyond our control.The rainbow at the end of this small storm was that although the packaging was soaked, I found the box before the book itself had time to get wet.
My research, ever since my first book, has largely been about making connections.The weather is so quotidian, so common, that we discuss it without trepidation in casual conversation.It is, however, one of the most dangerous things on our planet.Severe storms kill both directly and indirectly.Cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes can do so on a massive scale.So can their dramatic opposite, drought.Snow and melting ice caps also threaten life, as do floating chunks of ice in chilly oceans.It’s no wonder that the weather has been associated with gods from the earliest times.Even today literalists will say God is in the sky although meteorologists and astronomers can find no pearly gates when they look up.We just can’t shake the idea that weather is some kind of reflection of divine moodiness.
As weather becomes more and more extreme—it’s already a system that we’ve tipped seriously off balance—I suspect more and more people will start to assign it some kind of divine agency.This June we’ve already gone from shivering mornings with frost on the roof to nights when sleep is impossible because it’s so warm and humid, all within a matter of a couple of days.And this isn’t that unusual.Wait’l the gods really get angry.Weather is closely related to the water cycle, of course.We can learn about such things from books.We can’t take them out during a storm, however, and homeownership is all about keeping water out, or only in prescribed locations indoors.When the delivery driver leaves a box on your porch, however, it remains within reach of the storm gods.
“Ne’er cast a cloot ’til May be oot,” as we heard it in Scotland, was a warning, loosely translated, to “never take off a layer until May is over.”That bit of lowland wisdom fits this spring pretty well.As I was donning full winter regalia for my jog this morning my thoughts naturally turned toward the weather.Memory distorts things, of course, but I keep coming back to my youth and thinking late May used to be reliably warm.There were chilly mornings from time to time, but yesterday held a touch of November in the air, as if the world somehow switched axes.Even the usual animals I see—deer, groundhogs, ducks, and the occasional fox or raccoon—all seemed to be sleeping in this morning.Who could blame them?
I postulated in Weathering the Psalms that the weather is somehow connected in our psyches with the divine.It’s God’s big blue heaven, after all.The weather is something we can only control in a bad way, though.While other people are fixated on surviving the coronavirus outbreak Trump has been quietly (although well documentedly) been relaxing environmental regulations so that when this is all over the beleaguered wealthy will have further income streams.And so global warming gets a head start on opening the doors of industry again.Those older than even me tell me the weather is far wilder than when they were young.Perhaps it’s just the Anthropocene hadn’t had time to settle in yet.Or maybe environmental degradation is spitting in the face of God.
First light is beautiful.I’ve been awakening before the sun for so many years now that I can’t recall what it’s like to stumble out of bed when blue begins edging the curtains.When it does I pull on my sneakers and head out the door.It’s easy to pretend out here that everything’s okay.When I do spot a deer, statue-still until I’m mere feet away, I wonder what life was like before the koyaanisqatsi of industrialization.When our human impact on the earth was humble, like that of our fellow animals.Now the weather has turned.It’s chilly out here this morning.I’m wearing a stocking cap and gloves and I’m watching my own breath forming the only clouds in the sky.The weather is a kind of psalm, I guess.I should pull on another clout and consider the wisdom of my elders.
It’s a dilemma. How do we celebrate Mother’s Day during a lockdown? The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things. Given that it was snowing around here yesterday (not to be blamed on the virus), even May doesn’t seem very cooperative this year. On Friday night I made an emergency trip to Target for essentials. One of my ulterior motives was to purchase a Mother’s Day card for my wife. Given the lack of social distancing at the card rack, I wasn’t the only one who had this in mind. The remainder of the store had shelves of daily necessities picked clean. How to celebrate moms during a pandemic? I guess by trying to stay alive.
Those of us far from childhood homes can’t visit our mothers. Even if we could we couldn’t take them out for dinner. If we send flowers we can’t send gloves to protect their fingers—the stores are out of those. If we send flowers to plant we have to send plastic to cover them too, having had four nights with freeze warnings in a row. Talking to my Mom yesterday she recollected the year that it snowed on Memorial Day. I shouldn’t complain. Mom would rather I didn’t.
Perhaps the best we can do for Mother’s Day is to start treating all women better. One commemorative day a year doesn’t make up for a lifetime of second-class citizenship. Our mothers are the reason all of us are here. Isn’t that reason enough to see we’re all part of a single family? Women put up with a lot to take care of us. Even so we deny them an amendment granting them equal rights. Politicians are saying “Happy Mother’s Day” even as they continue to withhold basic human rights from women. We could celebrate Mother’s Day by putting our sentiments into action, transforming daily life into equal pay and equal protections.
There’s a pandemic outside. There’s some snow out there too. But there’s a warmth inside and for that we have our mothers to thank. If we really mean it when we send our mothers cards and flowers, if we really mean it when we call, if we really mean it when we give her a hug, we’ll show it by our actions every other day of the year. We need to be sincere when we say it, or don’t say it at all. Happy Mother’s Day!
We are all, I think, looking for hope.Probably due to the way I was raised, I often seek signs.There’s no way to know if said signs are mere coincidences or the more intense variety known as synchronicities, yet we have a hopeful sign here at home.On our front porch we have some plant hangers.Spring crept up on us this year and we haven’t got around to putting any pansies in them yet.The other day when I was stepping out to get the mail, I noticed feathers in one of them and feared there’d been a bird-related accident there.As I took a step toward the planter, the head of a mourning dove popped up.She blinked at me curiously, but didn’t fly away.I knew then that she had built a nest in the as-yet unused planter and she was sitting on her eggs.
Monday was fiercely windy around here.And rainy.I wondered how any birds could fly in such weather.A mourning dove flew up—perhaps one of the pair on our porch—and landed on the electric wire leading to our house.The wire was swaying and bucking so furiously that the dove constantly had to shift and fluff and flutter just to stay in place.The poor bird was in constant motion.Then it showed a sign of animal intelligence.There’s a much larger wire that runs down our street, from which other houses are supplied.It’s more stable in the wind due to its girth.The dove flew up to that wire instead.There it was able to perch without having to constantly adjust itself to the gusts.Peaceful and intelligent.That’s what the world needs.I have hope.
The dove has long been a sign of peace.It’s understood that way in the Bible.It was the dove that brought an olive twig to Noah, indicating that although all he could see was water there was, somewhere, dry land.These days we need to be reminded that although it seems that the storm will last forever, even hurricanes eventually exhaust themselves.The dove, clearly not happy about the horrendous wind buffeting it on that wire, nevertheless persisted in a kind of stoic optimism that things are as they should be.There is great wisdom in the natural world.If we can get to a window we can see it playing out before our very eyes.Now when I step out the door, I glance at the dove, and she looks back at me. We wink at each other.She doesn’t fly away, for she understands.She has a wisdom to which we all should aspire.
The year they cancelled Easter.Well, not exactly.Perhaps I’m merely a product of the commercialization of my time, but my thoughts go back to the Grinch.“It came without boxes,” he said, “it came without bags” (and any more might be copyright infringement).You get the point—holidays aren’t reliant upon their trappings.Can Easter come without colorful eggs?Without baskets and bonnets?Without Peeps and chocolates?Yes, it can.We’ve taken another holiday with religious origins and associated it with what you can buy.I know it’s more than that for some people.It’s singing stirring hymns (all of which can be found on YouTube), and dressing nice (which can still bedone at home), but mainly I think it’s the sense of togetherness that’s missing.The freedom of bursting from our personal tombs in which we’ve been stuck for three weeks.
Around here snow was falling on Good Friday.A friend told me her company decided since everyone was working remotely they would give them an extra holiday that day.Others of us slogged on as usual, for unlike Christmas, the Easter/Passover complex is not about getting days off work.These are, I guess, working class holidays.Our capitalistic outlook wants us to spend money, though, on holidays.Halloween (on which I foresee a plethora of plague doctor costumes) has become almost as lucrative as Christmas.The spring holidays—St. Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, and Easter—encourage spending as well.Can we not get to the heart of a holiday without pulling out our wallets?Spring holidays are all about the return of life after winter.It was snowing, but I could hear lawnmowers in the distance.
With capitalism growing old and sluggish, the next spending holiday isn’t until Mother’s Day, yet another spring celebration associated with flowers and life.My wife has been saying that what she misses is being out to see things coming back to life in spring.Some of the trees are putting on quite a show already.Magnolias and dogwoods have started to scatter their petals with the snowflakes.Our daffodils have been blooming since March.The forsythias are already going green.Life is returning.That’s what Easter, and in its own way Passover, is all about.Life after imprisonment—freedom.Liberation.We have to put them off this year, but they’re all movable feasts.We keep quietly apart in the hopes that life really will return after disease and death.And it will come regardless.It always does.
Being invisible, the wind is easily forgotten.Until it begins to really blow.I don’t know about where you are, but this past week was a very windy one around here.Thursday especially.My office has a couple of windows and each view shows different kinds of trees.The south window reveals only a stolid oak or maple in a neighboring back yard a few doors down.I don’t know this neighbor and I’ve never been close enough to get a good look at his deciduous tree.Its leaves are down, of course, and although its branches moved in Thursday’s gusts there was never really a question of it coming down.Trunk stout and sturdy, it has stood through many windstorms and will likely see many more.
My west window opens to some lofty pines across the street.At least sixty feet tall, their trunks, like many coniferous species, stand fairly straight.The way these trees bent in the wind worried me as a home owner.And as a human being.You see, I have done some woodwork.A guy with as many books as we have either runs himself broke on buying bookshelves or learns to make his own.I’ve spent plenty of my money on one-inch pine boards—the standard shelving material.The 1 x 10, which is really 3/4 of an inch by 9 and 3/4, is the usual bookshelf board.Not even an inch thick, it isn’t easily bent.Incorporated into the trunk of a tree, it’s absolutely immobile if I press against it.I’ve tried to move a mature tree trunk. Even a good-size branch.Mere humans can’t.And yet I see these very same trunks swaying like they’re waltzing with the wind.
No wonder the weather has always been associated with the gods.I mean, on Thursday last I saw these giants in the earth bending in arborescent obeisance.The wind is easily forgotten.As I worked on Weathering the Psalms, I easily sketched out the chapters on rain, lightning, and even snow.But wind.If you exegete a storm often the most damaging aspect is the wind.Hurricanes and tornadoes damage due to their great wind velocity (the former also from impressive rain dumps).What we call EF5 (or F5) tornadoes are so violent that any instrument directly in their path can’t survive its onslaught.Winds swirling over 300 miles per hour are pretty much incomprehensible.And yet when they dissipate, those violent winds are once again invisible.Isn’t that just like the gods?
It’s a good thing global warming is a myth, but somebody forgot to tell the hyacinths and lilies in my backyard.February in Pennsylvania is not when you expect to see spring flowers.Now I’m fully aware that unseasonal warm snaps and cold spells aren’t an indication of the global climate; they’re far too localized.One thing I’ve learned in my several decades of life is that heat takes time to transfer.If you’ve ever had to wait for a pan of water to boil when you’re hungry, you know that to be true.On cold morning’s my coffee’s ice coffee before I finish the mug, but it does take time for that transition to happen as the cup empties.With something so inconceivably large as the atmosphere, it takes time.As our hemispheres take turns pointing at the sun and warming up, the air tries to reach equilibrium and so the weather goes.
Scientists are now talking about, once we get the deniers out of the White House, what long-term remediation plans we have to make.We’ve already set in motion extreme weather events.We’ve had decades of warning, but those who control the money just can’t bear to let any of it go.It’s a safer bet to wreck the planet.You can just cash in your insurance money and buy a new one.That’s the way it works, isn’t it?So I’m standing outside in my shirtsleeves in February staring at April flowers who think winter’s over already.I don’t know what to say to them.
You can’t drive a car without a license, nor can you practice law or medicine.To be a world leader you don’t even have to be literate.I often imagine what the future survivors will say.They’ll likely be there, since people have a way of getting by.They may wonder if we knew this was coming.Of course, the internet won’t be up and running then, and who knows what’ll happen to electronic information when there’s no power left to keep the servers going.In any case, my perhaps futile answer to their imagined question is yes.We did see this coming.Some of tried every legitimate tool in the box called “democracy” (you’ll need a dictionary for that one) to introduce sanity into the discussion, but bluster wins over hard thinking every time.I cup my hands around the tender, if resilient leaves.They’re only doing as nature directs.If only our species could pay such attention to what the planet is saying.