Fall                                                                    Harvest Moon

einstein-einstein-quotesWe’ve had a bit of snow today, lonely heavy flakes mixed in amongst cold rain. Still, for September 25th, it was, in fact, snow. The first snow of the season for us. Loveland Ski Area got four inches yesterday. We’ve had a lot of rain over the last three days and temperatures have hit the high 30′s.

Life at 8,800 feet in the arid west is different than sea level in the humid east. When rain comes like this, it’s unusual, noteworthy and downright helpful. Not ordinary or taken for granted. Thanks, sky.

Climate change has invaded the mountains, too, with more frost free days and hotter daytime temperatures in the summer. We do not, of course, face the sort of high profile danger hurricanes or tornadoes bring, though the fire threat is real and potentially as damaging. Drier summers, occasioned by shifting weather patterns, though not unusual here, are becoming more of a threat. Nowhere is safe when the atmosphere itself begins to heat up.

I admit to a certain weariness with climate change awareness, Trump watch fatigue, the increasing markers of social inequity like income gaps, degree gaps and gender gaps. Perhaps the next few months will find some surcease for me, not because these problems will attenuate, but because I’m taking a break. I’m glad not everyone is, but I need a rest from these matters right now.

A season or two with fires in the fireplace, a white mantle over the yard, some lights and holidays sound good to me.



Lughnasa                                                           Eclipse Moon

20150927_073243The fall change has quickened. More and more gold on the mountains, aspens along the road have gone yellow. The air is cool and the sunlight changed by its more acute angle. Elk, moose and mule deer bucks have scraped off the velvet and gone into battle to promote their genetics. As temperatures go down, bears know the time to gather calories before hibernation wanes.

Fall has a certain purity here. It doesn’t mix its colors, green and gold dominate, a bit of yellow here and there, but none of the splashy palette of the humid east’s deciduous forests. At first I missed it, the sudden brilliance of a Minnesota fall, now I find the more restrained colors have their own beauty. It’s a different aesthetic here, more abstract, less cluttered.

I can’t imagine a world without fall and winter. If climate change ushers in such a world, I hope I’ve left already. This feeds my soul. That would weaken it.



Lughnasa                                                            Eclipse Moon

alpine glow during totality, Tetonia, Id.

alpine glow during totality, Tetonia, Id.

Fire. Wind and rain. Earth shaking. All under the Eclipse Moon, just after totality. Could this be the havoc wreaked by the black sun? As inferences go, it may show correlation, not causation, true, but in the long history of humanity this inference has been noted many times. “We’re all gonna die!” something like that.

Well, maybe not all of us, but a surprisingly large number have succumbed to natural disasters just here in North America over this lunar month. And, the month’s not over yet. Not to mention the billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses, roadways, other public infrastructure.

n263470Climate change doesn’t affect earthquakes. But, it does turbocharge wildfire seasons, heat up ocean water and increase the amount of available moisture in the atmosphere. These changes are happening at a level of climate change still considered very modest and not at all as severe as the level already “baked in” by both increased carbon emissions, now above the problematic 400 threshold, and the trapped heat in the world’s oceans.

We’ll learn, eventually, to live with the most dire of these changes through adaptation. Moving cities further inland, developing better fire management regimes, moving crops as the seasons change.

Without drastic carbon emissions reduction though, to near 100% by 2100, these impacts will be looked back on wistfully as the good old days. It’s no wonder that the Kingsnorth’s of the world have come up with dark ecology, how to brace for the ecocide. The odds against dramatic alterations to the climate have gone down as resistance to necessary changes has gone up.

The month of the Eclipse Moon is a harbinger. What will our world be like in 2024 when the next total eclipse crosses U.S. soil? Comparing those two months may lead to more inference like this month’s.