Tag Archives: global warming

A Journal of the Plague Year: #29

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s hot. Is it hot? It’s hot in here. It’s hot out there. It’s so hot. Squirrels are dying. Baby hummingbirds are abandoned. The crows are clearly pissed. For three days in a row Portland saw temperatures in triple digits—three record breaking days in a row. The fourth day promised to be a chilly 97 degrees. Finally, some relief! In fact, somewhat miraculously, it did cool down over that third evening, over two hours about 15 degrees. 8:30 on Monday evening, from 103 or so to 88 in the shade. That was insane. We had no central air, but instead, there are window units in the bedrooms that couldn’t keep up, a basement that is cool until one gets used to it and realizes that, relatively, it’s not really all that cool, and we have the great privilege of owning a tiny RV with kick ass AC—so we were living in that thing with the dogs for the duration of the heatwave.

This school year has been a bit of a hellscape sandwich. On top of everything was the Covid 19 pandemic, but September began with massive wildfires that shut everything down and made breathing dangerous, February brought us a freak ice storm and the loss of power for six to ten days, and summer break begins with a record setting heatwave. One of the mildest climes in the continental United States finds itself with Baghdad temperatures.

Now, almost midway through July, things have cooled down. But we haven’t seen any rain in a while, and our “cool” days have all been in the mid 80’s, a couple of 90-degree reprises. This, we can live with. But I understand our neighbors to the south are not fairing as well. Death Valley, California, while normally a hot place, reached temperatures a few days ago of 130 degrees. All year, with the weather and the pandemic, we have, it seems, been covered by clouds of impending doom. 

And yet—there is good news. In Oregon, having reached the 60% fully vaccinated threshold, we are, it seems, completely back in business, have reopened “the economy,” have dropped altogether the mask mandate. It’s been a bit of a shock to be out in public. Can I trust these people? What is that whole bit under the eyes, there? Noses? Mouths? I think I remember those! Should I keep my distance? Within a day, it seems, the public has gone from fully masked to no masks. I still have these panics when I’m driving some place—oh my god—did I forget my mask? Should I go back? I still find myself carrying one around with me, just in case. It amazes me how we have become so accustomed to mask-wearing, a thing that was SO strange in the beginning, now, we feel kind of naked without them—or still super anxious that people around us are not wearing theirs, even though we’re not wearing one either. Let us keep our fingers crossed, however, that this is a trend that continues, that we are really, if not completely, almost out of the woods.

Back in drumming business!

And rock and roll is back in town. Live music is a thing again. Last weekend I played my first two drumming gigs in public in fourteen or fifteen months. It was glorious. Seeing friends again, hugging people, shaking hands (tentatively, still), and having face-to-face close proximity conversations: we need this. I need it. In fact, I’m realizing how much I need it, surprisingly so. I think I had kind of convinced myself that the introvert in me had become accustomed to my relative isolation and had learned to like it. And now? Not so much. It feels good to BE with people again. Is this the last of the Plague Journals? Somehow, I doubt it—but I think I might be close to wrapping up this series once and for all. I’m totally okay with that. 

Don’t stand so close to me NO MORE. The Nu Wavers at Tumwater Winery in West Linn, Oregon.

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Filed under Reportage, The Plague Year

#235: Snowpocalypse 2016


Four days, two last week and two more this week,
have been added to our holiday break, the result
of some kind of snow event, the first, hardly anything
to write home about, the second, enough for snow people
and dangerous driving conditions. A few of my colleagues
took hours to get home yesterday afternoon and I hear
some young people were stranded at their schools.
No one’s unhappy, necessarily, about the loss of teaching
and learning time from the school year, but there is always
a price to pay: a day to make up this summer, some significant
pain in the ass about units unfinished or assignments
suspended in mid-air and students desperate to recover
some semblance of success by the semester’s end, finding
themselves suddenly strapped for opportunities. And
because we can’t drive, we’re stuck with walking for now
if we need groceries or want to see someone who lives close.

But no one’s complaining.

I’m happy to see snow again. Over the last couple of years
I wondered if I would ever see it in our neck of the woods,
you know, with the warming and all, last year the warmest
on record and looking like a trend. So certain I was of this,
I failed to winterize my little camping trailer, so I’ve got
the heat blasting out there so the pipes don’t freeze.
This morning, I took a selfie in the snow, took a picture
of the house, made some big snowballs with my son,
got into a social media fight with a guy I don’t know,
and this evening, I walked out to the mailbox, folded some laundry,
read a little about our country’s impending doom, and watched
interviews on the Daily Show with Barack Obama and
Ta-Nehisi Coates. I drank wine, and I listened to some stupid
but really good 70’s rock and roll. This has been day
two of my Snowpocalypse. And I say: so far, so good.

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Filed under Poetry