What the hell is going on? Please tell me it’s not only me who thinks that the world has gone mad… Three hurricanes at once- a few weeks after another record breaking storm. Kim and Trump are having a pissing match- with the highest stakes possible. Putin is so cocky that he insults Trump openly (and I’m not sure Trump even understands the adoption/sanctions connection). The President of the United States is planning on spending billions of dollars on a fence, when the reservoirs and levees around Houston haven’t been improved since the 50’s, and the environment is changing before our eyes. An enormous iceberg broke off of Antarctica this spring, the Zika virus got stronger, the list goes on and on. Oh, yes, let’s not forget that there was a full solar eclipse.
Closer to home, the smoke has returned. When the jet stream is doing what it should, the smoke from the interior goes east. There are usually outflow winds for an hour or two just around dusk, but it lasting for days and weeks is very odd.
It changes the lighting, making everything look yellow. Not a sunrise or sunset yellow, but we all know it; the yellow that comes before a storm. It’s accompanied by a rare stillness. There is no movement in the trees, not even a flutter. The usual cacophony of birds is silent, even the trees have gone from screaming for water to a weak whimper. We are all holding our breath, waiting.
The forest fire situation in BC is dire. The level of destruction falls squarely on human shoulders- with some help from the Beatles. Mountain pine beetles, that is. Much of BC’s forests have been logged, even 150- 100 years later, you can still see the stumps of the magnificent trees that once grew here. Forests that were logged initially weren’t re-planted, they were left to re-seed themselves. After the middle of the century, massive areas in BC were clearcut and replanted. With pines. The exact same species. Hundreds of thousands of them. It was chosen as being perfect to grow in these conditions, and was desirable commercially. It was a species developed in Sweden. How it did not occur to anyone to even ask if it was a good idea to use a non-native plant, I don’t know. Turns out the pine beetles LOVE them. The result is hundreds of thousands of acres of dead, dry, pine trees. All standing up, surrounded by a bed of dry pine needles. Add unusually hot, dry summers, and you have a recipe for disaster. A lot of effort has gone into mitigating the damage, and we learned an important lesson about the dangers of monoculture (not that people always use that knowledge). Controlling a forest fire with dead trees sanding row on row is simply not possible. Especially conifers- if you’ve ever put softwood into a fire, you know that the sap exploding can throw embers. Picture that on a massive scale. The trees don’t just burn, they explode. We live on the windward side of the Rockies, and it’s a rainforest. Trees along the coast have very little drought tolerance. We had a drought in 2015 as well, so there trees haven’t had a chance to recover. The leaves of the deciduous trees are going brown, rather than turning colour.
Our neighbours to the south add a certain ‘flare’ to things. Trump appears to be coming unhinged; I had hoped that he was as dumb as a fox. Damn. Not only is Trump a narcissist with a personality disorder, he’s stupid. Stupid enough that he doesn’t even know that he’s dumber than a bag of rocks. The guy congratulated the crowd turnout in Houston…sorry buddy, wrong script, you’re not actually on the campaign trail. It shows such an utter lack of emotional intelligence; how could he possibly not notice that the people in the crowd are in crisis, they need a calm, capable voice. He doesn’t even know enough to fake it.
I am not a religious person. I believe that nature seeks balance, that what happens with the weather, etc., is not directed or purposeful. Today though, with not one, but two hurricanes bearing down on Miami and Trumps multimillion dollar golf resorts (not to mention stopping oil and gas production in Texas…), it does seem a bit more purposeful.