7/1/2021- Clouds again the first half of the day. Thank you for small blessings.
I am trying to process Heat Dome 2021, still trying to find the humor, some kind of positive takeaway message after seeing what I wrote nearer the experience itself. A palpable harbinger of doom, the arrival and prolonged stagnation of a pressure system offering the hottest temperatures on record region-wide presents dark comedy at best. Even conjuring up a satirical image of Mad T-Rex beyond Heat Dome, I struggle to find the chuckles after a heat wave that left 45 dead in my city as temperatures peaked around 112 degrees Fahrenheit, after noting the conflagration of Lytton, B.C., when it peaked at 121 degrees on Tuesday, after fleeing my friend’s Seattle home incredulously in the middle of the night to return to my own simply for the safety of air conditioning.
A character emerges to me through the stress of flight impressed by temperatures promoting physical distress and worse. Perhaps due to my affection for Reggae’s rhythm and tone of perseverance in the face of another human evil, I am inclined to think of a form inhabiting rebellion against a system that has produced such a mess of paradise. Knotty Dread, a human physically and mentally discombobulated by glaring light, heat, dehydration; the Knotty denomination manifest in the persistently clenched muscle tissue from dehydration and fear of displacement by ever more capricious weather, the Dread a vehicle for the unified sinking feeling as we proceed to an extinction caused by our greed and denial of causality. Nor do I wish to impugn or appropriate significance from the rebellious stance of the island adherents of Jah Rastafari. In fact I embrace the spirit wholeheartedly: my line of thinking is commiserative. All of the smalls; black, brown, white, are aligned in suffering at the hands of the very wealthy and wicked (demographics not necessarily mutually related and who themselves reportedly suffer, yet both hedging at our expense on more attenuated, or at least more comfortable, rates of decline). Ok, possibly a little very dark humor there.
I left south Alabama 25 yeas ago for the Redwoods, and I recall then bitching about the incessant rains of the PNW, complaining humorously, and sometimes not so, that I would move each winter for a number of years. I long now to complain about the rain again. As summers have grown hotter, fires more consistent in the last 5 years, I’ve acquired an AC unit, air filters, loads of reef killing sunscreen, extra water filtration and storage systems. This experience has reminded me that my Southern heat card has expired, been rescinded. I cannot abide 107 or 112 comfortably or peaceably, even at only 20% humidity. Earlier in my Portland life, I do recall sweaty days and nights, chilling out on the porch late night until the house cooled off enough to sleep. With the cold mist that used to enshroud the Pacific Northwest, I regaled in these blips on the calendar that reminded me of why I had moved from south Alabama. No more. I am a-scared.
Now the hot nights become the norm here, and there is no cool down whatsoever when the temperature stays close to 90 overnight! Heat Dome 2021 has shaken me to a heightened level of concern even for one who has been well apprised of climate science for years. The effect of experiencing such heat up closely inspires, among many thoughts, a compassion for others in parts of the world who have and will likely continue to experience far more extreme displacement because of disastrous changes in the weather over which they exert very little control. Even living in a place that loudly broadcasts greater agency, I reside in only a slightly more comfortable boat. Money won’t save us.
Perhaps Hemingway’s Green Isaac will keep us cool though, as the fires lick our toes. Try 4 oz. Coconut Water, 2 oz. Gin, 1 oz Lime juice, 1 oz simple, 2-3 dash Angostura. Lotsa ice, shake it like your opinion matters, leave in the chipped ice to cool down your heatstroked brain enough to contemplate your next move.