LOCAL VIEW –Thirst Speaks–

Weather is unfair. Some get rain and some don’t. There is nothing particularly evil about this unfairness. It is just how the Creator made creation. Sometimes you get a bumper crop, and sometimes you are lucky to get a single turnip. The politicians in Washington can legislate all they want, but they aren’t going to alter the fall of raindrops from the clouds. Prayer might work, but legislation doesn’t.

One interesting thing about droughts is that they tend to perpetuate themselves. The dryness creates hotter temperatures which deflect moisture around the periphery of the core. This is quite obvious when the drought is gigantic, as the Dust Bowl was in 1936, but even in the cases of smaller and more local droughts rain has a strange propensity to snub those who need it most.

A current drought afflicts southern Vermont and New Hampshire, along their borders with Massachusetts, and today it was uncanny how the thunderstorms, moving east to west, avoided the lands that thirsted most. There were flash flood warnings blaring from the weather radio, as we dealt with dust. Here is a radar map of rain from this afternoon.

The impressive storms south of Boston and Albany and over Springfield were moving west to east, as were the string of lesser showers to the north approaching Concord. But most irksome to me was the storm right on the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, approaching the coast. It was a cluster that had looked hopeful as it entered Vermont in the morning, but “dried up” and vanished from the radar as it crossed over me, and only reappeared and blew up to a big thunderstorm as it neared Portsmouth on the coast. Is that fair?

I know, even as I grouse about the extra work I must do watering my plants, that it is fair. The actions and reactions of nature are not only fair, they are beautiful. They are incredible harmony, and the only reason we complain is because we are not in harmony with the harmony. We have our own specific desires that are blind. For example, I transplanted some wet, cucumber seedlings into dusty soil, and failed to immediately water them, and the next day it was too late; they had withered and watering didn’t revive them. Never in my experience have cucumber seedlings needed to be watered so immediately; this June is “A First”. However I didn’t blame the drought; I blamed my inability to adapt to the “sumptuous variety of New England weather”. The weather itself is fair; what is unfair is our responses to it.

Sunday is suppose to be a Day Of Rest, and therefore I suppose working in my garden makes me a sinner, but I tried to lessen the eventual penalty I must pay by making my work into a sort of worship. Rather than cursing the drought I was praising the Creator for the amazing variety that makes my fingerprints different from all others, and also makes every summer unique. Not that I didn’t hope for rain. I hunched my eyebrows to the west, seeking the cumulus that was building.

Storms can build up from innocent-looking cumulus with surprising speed. In fact the vast expenditure needed to create the Doppler Radar produced images which shocked the indoors meteorologists who lobbied for it, which leads me to a bit of a sidetrack.

Back in those days congress didn’t just print money when they needed it, and they told the indoors meteorologists they needed to cut their budget in some areas before they would fund the expensive Doppler Radar. So what the indoor meteorologists did was to fire hundreds of outdoors weather-observers. They figured it was worth it, for they figured Doppler Radar would allow them to track individual thunderstorms in the manner that individual hurricanes were tracked. But what the Doppler Radar revealed was that there is no such thing as “an individual thunderstorm”. A storm was a “complex” of updrafts and down-bursts, forming “cells” of various types, sometimes fighting each other and sometimes assisting each other. The Doppler Radar revealed that, rather than a swirl like a hurricane that could be tracked, a thunder storm was a pulsating blob that made dividing amoebas look dull: breaking in two or into three, or becoming mega-cells, or vanishing, in a manner which was basically impossible to predict, from indoors. What was needed was outdoors observers, but those good people had been fired to save money. It was sort of funny to watch how the indoors meteorologists tried to save face. They made it sound like they were doing the public a favor by enlisting them as “volunteer” observers, called “spotters”. A job taxpayers once payed for is now done for free, but you get what you pay for. Around here a “spotter” caused complete chaos in early June by thinking a shred of cloud was a tornado. I’d take an old-fashioned outdoors observer any day, as some had decades of experience.

A further disrespect towards the old outdoors observers involves indoors meteorologists “correcting” the records they kept. Dr. James Hanson was notorious for such fudging of facts. I think it was done to make modern “Global Warming” look worse than the murderous heat and drought of 1936, but that gets us into politics, and it is unwise to go there.

I’d do the job, if only the indoors meteorologists would get off their high horses and confess Doppler Radar only proved they were ignorant. They closed hundreds of valuable stations, run by valuable outdoor observers, to get a gadget that basically tells you a thunderstorm is bad after it already is bad. An outdoor observer can do the same. But hell if I’ll do it if the people I do the favor for behave as if they are doing me the favor. The fact of the matter is they are not God, they have no control of the weather, and it is far better to be humble in such a situation than puff your ego on a high horse.

Not that I blame them for liking Doppler Radar. It is a cool gadget. Another cool gadget tells you just when lightning bolts hit, and even when you can expect to hear the thunder. I actually like this particular gadget more than Doppler Radar, for it will inform you the moment a ordinary shower becomes a thunder shower. You can even set it to make an audible click, the moment a nearby cloud first makes a bolt. This gadget produced the map below, as the Doppler Radar produced the map above.

This is a wonderful gadget, because, when you focus in on your local area, it not only shows you where the flash you just saw, arriving in your eyes at the speed-of-light, hit he ground, but also shows you a slowly enlarging circle, expanding at the-speed-of-sound, to tell you when to expect to hear the thunder. However even this gadget has its weakness. As an outdoors observer, engrossed with worshipful weeding of my garden on Sunday, I noticed I was hearing thunder this gadget didn’t admit existed.

The reason I could hear such thunder was obvious to me, although I am no Sherlock Holmes. Not all lightning hits the ground, but such lightning makes thunder. A storm can shoot bolts cloud to cloud, ten or even twenty miles from it’s core. Soft, cloud-to-cloud thunder can be heard by outside observers like me, even when gadgets are deaf.

I was in some ways glad it didn’t rain, as I had to weed the beans, and you can’t weed beans in a wet situation because doing so causes problems with a virus attacking the bean’s leaves. (No, it is not the Corona Virus and no, you don’t need to wear a mask. You simply weed when the leaves are dry).

Although drought may be good for beans when you weed them, after weeding they thirst for water. I had to water some flats of seedlings I intend to soon transplant, even as soft thunder muttered from both the north and south. The carrots and tomatoes were crying out for weeding, but I had to water first. It isn’t fair, but is just is how things are. And I eventually did weed some carrots and all the tomatoes, and also the peppers, as daylight faded and you actually could see the lightning to the north and the lightning to the south, which went along with the soft sky thunder. Yet still we remained dry.

As the late day June sun settled and the mosquitoes came out I decided enough worship was enough, and headed to my front stoop to relax with a worshipful beer. And it was then I felt I became a most blessed outdoors observer. I was witnessing stuff Doppler Radar misses.

Some storm to the south was a little closer than the others. The thunder was still soft, but a few flashes of lightning seemed brighter. And then I noticed, against slow moving higher clouds, speeding scud.

There was hardly a draft down where I sat, but the outflow of distant storms produced a wind, around a thousand feet up, of marvelous speed. (I can’t recall ever seeing scud moving so fast, outside of hurricanes). With an imagination like mine it was easy to see an angel on a speeding horse.

What this outflow did was to uplift a local cloud just enough to make it shower. At first it was just a few big drops, platting here or there, but then it became a soft roar in the crisp June foliage of parched trees, at first far away like a whisper, but then edging and sidling closer, until a brief down-burst hit the stoop I hearkened from.

In India they celebrate a monsoon’s first rain. The evening chorus of songbirds hushed at the approach of a downpour in a drought. It began as a sigh on the very edge of hearing, but became an approaching roar. All became giddy in a way only drought knows. My wife came out and stood beside me as the flooding baptism approached, and then began splatting fat, warm droplets down in a way that raised tiny clouds of the dust it pelted. And then all too soon the sigh faded away through the darkening trees. I looked up through parting clouds and saw the high heavens feathered with sunset’s crimson cirrus.

Through parched trees comes the sigh of marching rain,
And even evening birds bow heads, made mute
With gratitude. The drenched do not complain
For it’s been so dry that sunbeams refute
Green growing, and, as first fat drops pelt
The dirt, small puffs of dust are arising,
And now the sigh surrounds. I once felt
This way when a kiss brought a surprising
End to loneliness. But this shower’s brief
And already the soft sigh slides away
Through dimming evening; sweet mercy’s relief
Fades to memory’s grief, and dripping leaves pray
The way men pray when they confess they lack:
“Oh Lord, come back. Come back. Come back.”



On Monday we got a mini-monsoon. The heat encouraged a general updraft to form a weak low over southern Maine, which sucked cool and moist maritime air inland and then south towards us, where it clashed with muggy air. At first the showers continued to dry up, as radar showed them approaching, but thunder thumped all around, and finally we got a few more showers. Around sixty miles to our south one locale got four inches and suffered wash-outs, but for the most part we dripped in a delightful summer drizzle. Who would ever think I could delight in drizzle?

LOCAL VIEW –Tadpoles to Toads–

Our heat wave continues. We have been hotter than Florida, at times. Also it is dry as a bone. Each day some thunder grumbles in the distance, but they are small showers and miss us.

I am losing some seedlings in the garden, as I can’t devote as much time to watering as I’d like, and the sprinkler only waters a small patch at a time. I think I can recall some years when the soil has been baked this dry by late August, but I can never recall soil being like powder in June before.

It makes me think we are in for a cold winter. It is odd, but often the places most above normal in July are most below normal by the next January, (I have noticed this because Global Warming Alarmists always point out the places most-above-normal, which makes them like sitting ducks for the ruthless counterpoints of Skeptics, who are highly skilled at pointing out when places that “proved the world was warming” in July seemingly “prove a new Ice Age is coming” by the following February,) (It has happened too many times to mention, but the time that stands out in my mind was a few years back, when the Siberian tundra and taiga baked, and fires raged in the conifers and smoldered in the bone dry sod to such a degree that the smoke was visible from outer space, and smoke’s haze gave Moscow very bad visibility, which of course caused Alarmist hoopla, yet the next winter saw the the same tundra and taiga set a new Northern Hemisphere record for the coldest temperature ever recorded. [nearly minus 90 Fahrenheit; minus 68 Celsius.] This whiplash from above to below normal makes me think that, rather than attempting to water my baked garden, I should be cutting firewood!)

Not that I have time for either watering or sawing. I have to do my taxes. Usually they are due by April 15, but due to the Corona Virus the due date was extended to July 15. So I of course put it off. Don’t lecture me. If you had any idea how busy my life is, you would be on my side. And what side is that? It is the side that states bureaucrats should be put in jail for cluttering the lives of active people with the demand that we waste precious time keeping tedious, nitpicking records.

When I do my taxes I basically face a giant heap of receipts and bank statements and credit card bills, in many cases wrinkled and/or faded by a dashboard’s sunshine and/or stained by coffee. Amazingly, I am adept at putting the deplorable disorder into chronological order and in all the proper stacks and columns, but God knows I have better things to do. Children are crying and my goats are nagging and my seedlings are withering and the ducks, chickens and rabbit demand feeding, and my dog sighs deeply, and also I am a poet and need time to write. But lazy bureaucrats with nothing better to do insist, so I comply.

Actually it is fun, in a strange way, to look at all the receipts and remember all the stuff you hardly noticed doing at the time, in your rush. (Or in my rush, at least.) It becomes obvious to me that bureaucrats are cursed not only because they plague the innocent, but also because they miss so much that is rich and beautiful.

It might be fun to some day be audited, and to then watch the face of the IRS auditor as he gradually woke up to the richness of my life, going through my receipts. Where he looks at a drab screen and clicks a dull keyboard day after day, my receipts hint at a wider world. True, a receipt is not the same as the actual event, in the same way seeing a bear in a nature-documentary does not increase your pulse in the same manner as meeting an actual bear in the actual woods. But a documentary can open your eyes.

For example, the auditor might note a couple of suspicious receipts for things that seem to have nothing to do with running a Childcare; a tiny aquarium dip-net and an adult book about toads. Then the auditor might make the mistake of asking me to explain, for all that is scrawled on those two receipts is “tadpoles to toads.” I’d then lean back and grin and get garrulous; the audit would take days, if the auditor wasn’t careful.

Tadpoles to toads? Well, in the sweltering heat I had to quit my heap of receipts and do my best to continue a theme of one branch of my so-called “curriculum”. My hard-working staff appreciated having fewer hot-and-bothered children in their groups, as I collected some older and more-inventive rascals to go to the nearby flood-control-reservoir in the oppressive heat and humidity, to check up on the tadpoles.

Small kids have a strange mixture of tenderness and heartlessness towards small creatures, one moment ripping legs off to see how an insect responds, and the next cooing terms of endearment to a crippled “pet”. (Sometimes they kill frogs by hugging them). It is a hard job to teach them to respect life, and to teach a great Truth: Sometimes the way to be loving is to not touch. This is especially true concerning blondes, and also tadpoles.

Wood frog tadpoles look a lot like toad tadpoles, and I bored the kids exceedingly by telling them the difference, during the cooler days back in April when the last ice melted and the amphibians awoke. Both wood frogs and toads spend their lives in the woods away from ponds, but the wood frog’s mating music sounds like a cross between a plucked banjo string and a duck, while the toad has a beautiful, long trill. The frog lays eggs as a mass, while the toad lays long strings. The wood frog lays eggs in vernal pools away from a pond’s predators, while a toad lays eggs in the shallowest water where predators seldom go. The children yawned. As far as they were concerned a tadpole was a tadpole.

When the small children get haughty with me I know I likely deserve it; (children have little time for an old man’s garrulous yammering), but one approach I have is to be just as haughty right back at them. I lay it on thick, slapping my forehead and staggering about exclaiming, “Oh! How could you say such a thing! A tadpole is just a tadpole? Incredible! Simply incredible!” The kids find such antics amusing, and then tend to actually listen.

This year I ranted, “You call these piddling things tadpoles? Now, a bullfrog tadpole, that’s something to see, and takes two years to mature. It’s got to swim like a fish, to live so long. These little pathetic black blobs can barely move with their tiny tails; I’m surprised they don’t drown, but they will be turning to frogs in just a few weeks. Better to just call them pollywogs, not tadpoles.”

Our drought created a crisis for the wood frogs, for the vernal pools began drying up. This brought out the compassion in the children. Where they had been mercilessly poking and tweaking the tadpoles just days earlier, all of a sudden they were faced with a mass of squirming tadpoles facing certain death in the final remaining water of an evaporating puddle, and decided to conduct an emergency evacuation to the nearby flood-control-reservoir. Rushing back and forth with small cups of tadpoles kept them busy for most of a hot morning. I cancelled my hike-and-lecture for that morning, for they obviously were having great fun, and also were displaying kindness (and were quite puffed up about how noble they were being.) One boy made a wailing noise like an ambulance as he rushed the small creatures to the pond. I didn’t spoil their party by mentioning what they were likely doing was feeding the bass.

They put the wood frog tadpoles in the shallow water where the toad tadpoles were just starting to appear, and, as the two species look nearly identical, (like black punctuation marks with tails too skimpy to be commas), there was understandable confusion, and they felt, in the following days, that the toad tadpoles were “their” wood frog tadpoles. I didn’t puncture their illusion, as they had slightly more consideration for the creatures by taking ownership, though they still managed to kill a few by scooping them from the water in cupped hands.

Toad pollywogs crowd the shore in amazingly shallow water, at times seeming beached like miniature whales. This made them easy to catch, and I tried to dissuade the kids from “rescuing” them by pushing the tadpoles out into deeper water. Not only did this compassion accidentally smush some of the tiny creatures, but it put them out where fish lurk, and even though toad tadpoles have the same poison adult toads have in their skin, and can kill some fish, other fish either have iron stomachs, or don’t mind dying. In any case the pollywogs wriggle in the slime of algae by the shore. Not only do they eat algae, but algae grows on their skin, and in some weird way having algae grow on them helps them grow faster. Yet, even as I tell the kids all this interesting trivia, I can see the little cartoon thought-balloons above their heads saying, “Too much information” and “Who cares?”

In yesterday’s heat and humidity they cared less than usual about all my talk about toads. All they wanted was to wade, the deeper the better. I stated they could wade up to their thighs, and they tested that limit constantly, and also squatted down to be immersed to their necks, so I became more of a frowning lifeguard demanding they retreat to shallower waters, than a professor of toadism.

Even though I never had to get wet saving anyone, it is surprisingly cooler right next to water in a hot spell, and eventually the cooled children grew bored of getting wet and started to meander down the shoreline, as I trailed along behind. At one point they came rushing back due to seeing a water snake, but it turned out to be the inner tube of a bicycle, that somehow wound up in a remote spot. I didn’t scold them for being fooled. It takes a professor like myself to spot the difference.

They were fascinated by the sunfish-nests just off shore, sandy areas cleared of all algae and protected by a jealous fish. They were puzzled by how few tadpoles there seemed to be, all of a sudden. Then they were grossed-out by what seemed to be lots of fleas, hopping about the shore. But they were not fleas. They were incredibly small baby toads.

We had lucked into wandering the shore during the brief period when toads all rush inland together as a minuscule stampede. Not one toad showed the slightest interest in fleeing us back towards the water. They headed inland even when it involved climbing steep slopes and cliffs. They were so numerous the children could hold four or five in the palm of their hands, despite my instruction that baby toads are too fragile to be picked up.

A toad’s metamorphosis must be amazingly fast, for there were still some tadpoles in the water, yet I only saw a single example of a tadpole in an intermediate phase, with both tail and legs. Perhaps my eyes are less keen. Someone should study the subject. But I did have the brains to not start talking about “metamorphosis” with the kids. They seemed entranced, without needing my help.

I felt I was seeing a sort of verification of my personal philosophy involving children and nature, which seems completely opposed to some socialist views. Socialists seem to feel it is best to herd children into indoctrination centers and to badger them with a guilt which suggests that man hurts nature, and they should never hurt nature by treading on its dirt, and therefore the only moral response to nature is to only experience nature in dark auditoriums via videos.

An odd thought occurred to me, and it was this; A socialist would have a hard time with the relationship between toad tadpoles and algae. They would either see the toad as the bad guy, for eating the algae, or see the algae as the bad guy, for growing on the toad and in a sense “eating” the toad. What is hard to intellectually grasp is that both the toad and the algae benefit, (and they even have the audacity to benefit without obtaining permits from bureaucratic socialists).

In like manner a small-minded socialist shudders at the sight of a child ripping the legs off an ant, or accidentally killing a tadpole, and cannot see how nature could benefit from such an experience. However nature does benefit from the interaction, for in the process the child is awakened to the marvel God has created, and falls in love with nature. Watching the children marvel over the tiny toads made me feel they were becoming people far more likely to preserve a woodland than to tear it down.

I also felt that perhaps I was demonstrating to socialists everywhere that sometimes a small business can do what Big Government cannot. A thousand small, independent neighborhood schools is better than a single vast institution. Having a field trip of several thousand kids on the shore of the flood-control-reservoir would have trampled the experience utterly.

In an odd way it seems to me that socialists, with their love of organization and order, are the ones ripping the legs off little ants.

They fail to see the Light, and therefore are enamored of shadow. And that seems worth a sonnet, before I get back to my taxes.


What fools these shadows seem, approaching
The Light with swords drawn, yet all shrinking
The closer they get. The Light’s reproaching
Their arrogance, but they go on thinking
They’ll snuff the Light, dreaming darkness rules.
They think in darkness no one will see
Their plots, but darkness makes them the blind fools.
Without the Light they will simply cease to be.
Without a Creator, the creation can’t
Continue. So it goes. As they persist
The Light reveals their nature. With each rant
They get smaller. With a toddler’s small fist
They approach Light shrinking like shadows at noon.
Worms under rocks shrink from even the moon.

LOCAL VIEW –Dove Sonnet–

Our drought and heatwave continues. Not all that hot for Texas, but hot for these hills; ninety ( 32 celsius).

Yesterday it was so hot my dog lay about all day, then took off on me as we walked out to the car in the evening. She was out all night. Smart dog. Definitely not a mad dog or Englishman. She must have had a good time; she had a definite sparkle in her eye this morning. I was just glad she was alive, and I didn’t get fined.

Too hot for politics. I only watched snippets of the Trump rally. Few wore masks. The BLM leftists were blocking the entrances. I was impressed by the restraint on the part of most of the Trump supporters. The left seems to be itching to divide the country, and the hot weather doesn’t help, but things remain hanging by a thread, as if we are midst a domestic cold war. My approach is to limit the news I watch. Worry doesn’t help.

I thought it was a good sign that the first bird to sing in the dusk before dawn this morning was a dove.


This dawn a dove’s first coo beats the thrushes
First gushes of song; Mars glares though black haze
to the east. Heat’s paused. The cooing hushes
A fretful, sleepless child, who at long last lays
A hot cheek on the pillow’s cool side,
Finding instant sleep. Mars fades as the coos
Query the blushing east, a sane aside
Midst a heat-wave’s madness; water’s cool blues
Midst yellow dust; a momentary pause
Midst the riot of thrushes, as if all birds
Cocked heads to heed the recital of laws
Unbroken midst shattered glass, unspoken words
Which make even stars grow modest and fade.
The old dove coos from the cool of the shade.



Longest days awaken some memory
Which I doubt it is Christian to admit:
Some echo from past lives, wherein you see
Beyond the everyday. Because of it
The pumpkin twilight on the black ridge-line
Strangely moves one, after the long, hot day.
Like a thoughtless dog, one sniffs a divine
Perfume which utterly distracts dismay.
Does mood have a scent? The sweet aftershave
Of summer’s late twilight allures, enchants,
And seduces my mind from the dark cave
It dug for itself with self-righteous rants,
And though I drive home, I see my heart roams
As within I steer towards the highest of homes.


All worldly bliss must come to an end, though
Joy is Grace; only fools would deny it.
Symphonies must swell to a crescendo
Like birdsong’s explosive summer riot
At sunrise. Why sulk that this too will pass?
Would it be as lovely if made everyday?
And listen beyond the birdsong. Even the grass
Hearkens to faintest thunder far away,
Thirsty for drenching. Those growls will grow
And morning will purple; lightning’s flashes
Will mount to a second wild crescendo.
Then, as sheets of rain part branch’s thrashes,
You’ll change your tune, and you’ll say its OK
That crescendos are things that wander away.



My prayers were answered. When I shivered
In April’s falling slush I wished hot sun
Would beat down. Hot sun is now delivered
And I sweat in the shade. I am the one
To blame for the soil turning to powder
And blooms turning their faces from the sun.
All wilts. My wife wishes I allowed her
To do my praying, but I am the one
Who must stand in the garden, a scarecrow
Holding a hose. And I can think of worse
Ways to spend my time. My plants barely grow
Despite my efforts, but I will not curse.
It is more fun to splash than complain,
Recalling the shivers of cold April rain.


Like many citizens of the United States I am appalled by the behavior of some of my brothers and sisters, since Donald Trump was elected. People who once were on their best behavior have revealed hidden hatreds and lusts, which they once disguised. Trump threatened in a way I can’t imagine, for I am not addicted in the manner those in “The Swamp” are. It has become apparent that “draining The Swamp” has brought out the snakes.

Most astounding to me is the increasing levels of deceit. Six years ago the term “Fake News” was rarely used. Not that one-sided propaganda isn’t thousands of years old, but formerly the two sides of any issue could be in a sort of “loyal opposition”, and disagree with dignity, respecting the differing view. Even when civil procedures broke down and war occurred, it was mayhem with dignity, practically a blood sport compared to the cold slaughter made possible by modern science. In essence people now disagree without dignity.

Dignity is what separates an ordinary person, who owns honest needs and also confesses honest wants that are not needs, from an addict. An addict thinks their cravings are such a necessity they embarrass themselves. A baby needs milk, but an addict will sell that baby’s milk because he or she wants (insisting he or she “needs”) their next fix. When an addict has received their fix they may be able to pretend they are not addicts until the dose wears off, but threaten to take away their next dose and they can’t resist their lower impulses; they are defined by their craving; their surrender to lowness makes them craven.

The denizens of The Swamp have increasingly exposed their true, craven nature as addicts to wealth and power, over the past decade. They like to portray themselves as people born to handle wealth and power, but have proven themselves incapable. Perhaps the most grotesque example involved a terrible earthquake which afflicted the already-impoverished people of Haiti. People all over the world donated money to help Haiti, but the swamp-creatures insisted the people of Haiti were ignorant and needed “handlers”, and then the “handlers” kept most of the money for themselves, as Haiti got very little. It was a greed so vile and shameful a great effort was made to erase all mention of it, but the people of Haiti will never forget.

People catch on. They learn the inhabitants of The Swamp are incapable of handling the money and power they are entrusted with, and seek to remove them from their positions. In the United States such a removal involves electing an entirely different leader, such as Donald Trump.

To the addicts of the swamp this was like threatening to take away a heroin addict’s heroin. They basically have gone berserk. Trump threatened to take away their next fix of wealth and power, and, like a heroin addict, they have behaved badly, and have embarrassed the United States with their complete lack of dignity. It seems there is little they won’t do, for their next fix.

Basically rich people are behaving more badly than poor people, who have far more reason to be desperate, but who generally behave better. This is not to say the poor can’t be swept up into a frenzy and can’t riot and loot, but largely they are not the instigators of their own demise. The poor may pick up a brick and throw it, but they do not organize pallets of bricks to be delivered to sidewalks just before demonstrations, and seed crowds with rabble-rousers; they lack the resources for such skullduggery, especially on a nationwide level. What we have recently witnessed was an organized effort, and took lots of money.

Going into all the details of how the so-called “elite” behave badly would take pages and pages, and become a long rant about a conspiracy theory which has turned out not to be paranoia, but in a nutshell it involves a denial of Truth. To the elite Truth is a toy, and like all addicts they lie and pretend, to get their next fix. However such behavior recoils upon them. They get caught by their own dishonesty, are “hoisted by their own petard”, but being exposed makes them all the more desperate and increasingly dishonest. They get themselves into a hole, and desperately dig deeper.

The concept of “getting yourself into a hole” is at least 3000 years old. Within Psalm 9 the king-poet David sung along with stringed instruments, in his shiggaion,

…Whoever is pregnant with evil
Conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
Falls into the pit they have made.
The trouble they cause recoils on them;
The violence they cause comes down on their own heads…

This is The Law. It is Truth which “the elite” refuse to recognize or obey. “The elite” feel unity is a foe, and division is their friend, which is why they now strive to pit people in the United States against each other, according to their skin-color. They do not want the United States to stand united, but to fall divided, because they have a badly-thought-out idea the alternative will improve things (and feed their addiction to wealth and power). They like the idea of division, as long as they remain the top-dogs. What they don’t see is that they are digging the hole they find themselves in deeper, and deeper, and deeper. They fight The Law, and in the end The Law wins.

What is The Law? The Law is Truth, and Truth is God. That is what The Swamp is up against, not a mere political opposition, and all I can conclude is that I sure am glad I am not in the hole they are frenetically digging for themselves.

Or am I? When an addict digs a hole for their entire homeland, innocent bystanders find themselves in the same pit, and cannot stand by any longer. But what can they do? To do nothing makes one an addict’s “enabler”.

Stand by the Truth, and the Truth will stand by you. Things can turn on a dime. As the poet-king David concluded in Psalm 6,

“All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.”

LOCAL VIEW –Coffee, Aspirin and Planting–

People who want to garden for pleasure should make certain to keep their gardens small. The smaller the better. I recommend a single planter. Otherwise gardening is more like jogging five miles in the morning: When you face the hill at Mile-Three you question your own sanity.

There will be, of course, the exultation. That is what runners call a “second wind”, but, before that “second wind” comes, one sees their mind fill up with quarreling, as if a buck private was screaming back at the screaming sergeant at boot camp, or even like a patient picking up a knife to defend himself from a surgeon approaching with a scalpel. It is such a mental ruckus that its occurrence mystifies all those who have idealized ideas about gardening.

In fact many who begin “gardening for pleasure” in April abandon the enterprise as a bad idea by June, and by July they are getting nagged by bureaucrats on the local zoning board for their patch of towering weeds. Be forewarned.

To me the actual pleasure of a big garden involves a more fundamental and ancient joy, called “avoiding starvation”. It has been 400 years since my first European ancestors stepped onto these shores, and the first 300 years saw most Americans rooted to the soil, living lives that made it very obvious that if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. There was no real escape; if you went broke you didn’t receive welfare; you went to the “poor farm” and went on working.

Currently our society is going through a period of confusion wherein many think they can, like ticks and leeches, suck off the lifeblood of others. Not merely the poor man on the dole; but the wealthy politician profiting from other’s taxes; the slippery investor on Wall Street; and even the retiree collecting an oversized pension, may be attempting to reap more than they sowed. This is bound to create resentment among those who reap less than they sow. The spectacle of a bloated Union Boss driving a fancy car and wearing pinkie rings, as the worker on the factory floor he represents pays dues and wears pants with frayed cuffs, does not inspire confidence, or even the desire to work harder. If anything it suggests laziness pays, and inspires sloth.

It is good to escape this confusion into the more real world of a vegetable garden. It is a reality which persists even when it is easier and cheaper to buy food at a market. And, if the societal breakdown ever collapses to a degree wherein the shelves are empty in the markets, perhaps the connection to the ancient joy of survival will be less of a mere concept, and more real. Money is worthless if the markets are empty, whereas dirt has value when it holds potatoes.

However, in the rush to finish spring planting in June, the “joy” is most definitely unapparent. It is then one is most like a jogger approaching a steep hill, muttering to himself, “Why do I do this? Jogging is STUPID!”

Perhaps the most difficult moment is arising from bed in the morning. The physical work involved in small-scale gardening made me achy even as a young man, and as I approach age seventy the pain seems more constant; I never seem able to “get in shape”. Also I seem to work in slow motion. I spend far more time leaning on my hoe than actually using it. Not that anyone is going to want to hear the violins of my self pity. They’ll just affirm the voice in my own head: “Why do you garden? Gardening is STUPID”.

Rather than whine to others, I turn to the blues, and try to make sonnets of my grouching:


Who knows if songbirds are ambivalent
When they first awake? Who fathoms bird brains?
Perhaps they need some bird-equivalent
Of coffee, before cascading refrains
Of music fill our forests. Perhaps…perhaps…
I hate to think of birds as superior
To a poet, yet dawn’s a complete collapse
Of my morale, and I’m inferior
To birds, before my first cup of coffee.
I glower at pert birds; call each a twit;
Resent their singing. They seem to scoff me
As I drag to the pot with zero wit
And the only thing I’m able to praise
Is the coffee in
this cup I now raise.


All I get from gardening is my lame grunts
As I rise in the morning. Pathetic!
I feel I won’t survive the few hot months
Before harvest. Reward? Others will get it.
My harvest’s to limp to, (before coffee),
My aspirin bottle…and guilt, as before
Coffee and pills God should look down and see
Me at prayer. I guess, with my limbs sore,
I could pray for a morning that’s pain-free;
For mercy, and miraculous healings,
And dirt with no big rocks as I spade it;
Yet I suppose that might hurt God’s feelings.
I should thank Him life’s just how He made it:
Old men plant saplings, although they won’t see
The apples that some day will hang from the tree.

This is not to say that, after aspirin and coffee, old gardeners can’t find joy in new gardens. There is the joy of old efforts from prior years; the rhubarb and asparagus that spring up without my raising a finger, from old roots. And there is the first handful of flat snow peas, small servings at dinner twice as delectable as any store’s, and all the more delectable because I beat other local gardeners by two weeks, and harvested first. And then there’s the faithful old standby, so good for children as it can be harvested in a mere twenty days, the radish.

What could be fresh and new about a radish? Glad you asked. I can recall growing radishes as a rugrat back in the 1950’s, yet in all these years I never knew you could eat the greens. Last night I had a mess of delicious radish greens fried up in olive oil with garlic, which goes to show you every spring hold’s something new, and also that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

For example, strips of black plastic make for less weeding between potatoes during July heatwaves. Black plastic may be ugly, newfangled stuff, and likely screws up the ecology of soil chemistry in some unforeseen way, but old men are allowed to resort to cheap tricks to avoid bending their creaky backs….I think…



Too briefly do sweet-scented lilacs bloom.
Almost before you notice them they’re gone.
They seem grim reminders of fair youth’s doom
And how day sinks to drabness, after dawn.
Must melancholy taint all life’s beauty
With misery? Just because the bouncing
Step of dawn slows to a steep hill, weary
And shadowed, climbed to stars? The pouncing
Leopard of sorrow spoils all parties with ends,
But that is no reason to never dance,
Cheer a child’s team, or never to make friends.
Gambol like spring flocks, for brief is our chance
To blush with the blooms. Nor are blooms our best.
Blooms only hint at the honey of harvest.


The jarring of the windless night’s sacred calm
Is an abrupt cascade of cheerful song
Sung by a small thrush: A musical bomb
That draws eyes instinctively east, where dawn
First stripes jet horizons with hopeful blue.
That bird! It constantly puts me to shame
For it always sees daybreak before I do,
And the first thing it does to start Day’s game
Is sing. I wish the same was said of me,
But first I want coffee. With grouchy face
I await the slow cup, yet my eyes see
Dawn needs no coffee to rise and erase
Humbled stars, nor does that thrush need caffeine
To shout out its praises at what it has seen.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –High Summer–

This is an amazing time at the Pole, where it could become a very hot place. Despite the low angle of the sun, it is high enough to continually warm the ground beneath.

Imagine the sun rising in your neighborhood on a cool summer morning just to the point where it starts to warm a little, but then imagine it just stalls there. At first it wouldn’t warm much, but as hours passed the gradual warming would add up. Even though it didn’t get as high as it gets in your neighborhood at noon, it also wouldn’t sink and cool with another night. Persistence pays, for after twenty-four hours it would have heated more than your neighborhood’s sun does, on the same summer day. The simple fact the sun never sets at the Pole makes the Pole a place receiving more radiance than even the equator receives. For six months the sun never sets at the Pole, and just rolls around and around the horizon, heating and heating and heating. If there was any justice on this flipping planet, the Pole would get warmer than the equator, by July.

Here’s a little “solar insolation” chart that proves my point. The equator gets a steady 33 to 36 units of energy year round, but during the height of summer, (in July on the North Pole and in January on the South Pole), the poles are getting 45 units of energy. (North Pole summer is at the top-center.)

It seems to me that, if we insist upon freaking out about sea-ice and viruses and the color of skin, we really should be freaking out more about the Poles not getting as hot as they should. Surely, among the trillions of stars, there are millions of planets the size of ours, and tilted to an angle similar to ours, and I’ll bet they have the decency and self-respect to get hot at the Poles, and to send blazing hot warm-fronts southwards during the height of summer, and I’ll bet they look at us and say, “What a bunch of freaks!” (At the very least, it would explain why we Earthlings freak out about everything.)

The reason our Poles don’t warm like they should is because the south one is a vast plateau of ice nearly two miles high, and the north one is a sea clotted with ice. This tends to suggest our Creator was having a bit of fun when he made our abode. And I’m not going to begrudge the Maker a bit of fun. I imagine it’s no easy job creating a universe. If you have grievances, take them to Him. (He’ll likely ask you where you’ve been). But don’t come grousing to me. I’ve been trying to create the Great American Novel for decades, and seldom get past page six.

Another bit of fun our Creator had while messing about with our planet was to create mountains that don’t even have the decency to stay in the same place. Entire continents drift about like unemployed bureaucrats, and nothing but mischief can come of that. In the geological past conditions were so different that it actually was warm up at the Pole, and a jungle grew up there, with hippos in the pools. They must have been hippos with really big eyes, to see in the dark six months of the year. Hippos with a lot of hair to keep them warm in the winter, that they shed in the spring. But I digress.

The point I am trying to make is that it is perfectly normal for it to get warm at the Pole in the summer, but every blasted year some blithering reporter wets his pants about how ice is melting, or how it has gotten hot over the tundra.

I was actually reassured to see the BBC freaking out and getting hysterical in this manner. As a person who enjoys sea-ice, I was starting to feel a bit forgotten, the way acid rain and the ozone hole have been forgotten, as everyone rushed off to be alarmed by a flipping virus too puny to take on most any blokes but poor, old folk who are toeing the threshold of death’s door. It was good to see the BBC revert to a more traditional and conservative pack of complete claptrap, which I could relate to.

What bothers me is that I’m never fast enough, when it comes to exposing the claptrap as the pure pseudoscience it is. Other websites always beat me to the punch. Usually it is “WUWT” or “Real Climate Science”, but on this occasion it was “Not A Lot Of People Know That”. They just whipped out the old records to show the BBC was wrong, and temperatures up over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) are not “unprecedented” on the Tundra, and therefore not all that “astonishing”.

Of course recorded history doesn’t impress hysterical Alarmists all that much. To them history is a statue to topple, a weed to rip from their lovely, lovely garden where you shoot all messengers. Rather than learning from mistakes, you shoot the honest fellow who tells you you’re mistaken. Maybe it doesn’t solve the problem, but at least you don’t have to hear about it. Instead you only hear the squeaking flattery of people kissing your….posterior.

This may make your posterior feel good in the short term, but in the long run it is sad. In his drooling dotage Mao had people so cowed they would only bring him reports of what a howling success his economic reforms were. In fact the opposite was true. Yet no one dared tell him so, and instead brought him falsified figures, showed him doctored photographs, and took him to carefully prepared villages where everyone spoke glowingly about how wise his reforms had proven to be, and Mao was so far gone he believed it all. Meanwhile, behind his back, the “Gang Of Four” he had chosen as his hand-picked successors faced a growing throng that wanted them…replaced. “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

The summer at the Pole is a short term event, only two months of the year. However it is seductive. One of the saddest tales I’ve heard, of adventurers on the ice, involved two chums who were so hypnotized by the warmth they neglected to put on the usual, protective, “dry-suit” garb, and were crossing a stretch of sunny ice in their long underwear, when the ice gave out, and they plunged into water chilled below the freezing point of fresh water. One of them set off their emergency signal, but when rescuers rushed to the scene in a helicopter all they found was a sled dog, running around an empty hole in the ice.

Truth can be a bugger, if you mock it. And one of the best ways we’ve found to avoid mocking Truth is to honor history. Don’t tear down statues; learn from them. If you don’t learn from mistakes you are doomed to repeat them.

It is for this reason I have studied all I can find about sea-ice, and the diaries and logs of those who have traveled where I have never been. It began because I enjoyed sailing, and enjoyed the exploits of fellows who dared amazing voyages in the north. My Skeptic side was born as I admired the Vikings, and immediately became aware Alarmists wanted to erase the Viking’s history. It did not fit their “narrative”, and indeed they wanted to entirely “erase the Medieval Warm Period.” They didn’t like the facts and figures the same way some don’t like statues, and want to topple them.

Back then they did not topple statues of Eric the Red and Lief Ericson, but what they did amounted to the same thing. They fudged and falsified data, attempting to make Greenland look warmer now than it was when the Norse could dig graves in what is now iron-hard permafrost, and Vikings could raise 100,000 sheep and goats where we now can’t raise ten, without imported fodder. What they were attempting was so obviously clap trap, and so like like burning the books of history, that I took a stand.

We are talking twenty years ago. Perhaps longer, but it was twenty years ago that Alarmist behavior first began to raise more than just a suspicion, on my part. I had actual evidence certain people were mocking the Truth.

At first people laughed at me, and called me silly and paranoid, but as the years have gone by it has become increasingly obvious some are mocking the Truth. Heck, twenty years ago no one talked about “Fake News”, but now it is practically a given. No longer is this a trivial disagreement about an obscure subject: Sea-ice in some far off place most of us will never see. Instead we may well be seeing things come to a head, and be midst the battle of our lives.

In some ways sea-ice is becoming irrelevant. Instead the focus is on abolishing the police. I don’t want to go there. Instead I’ll return to sea-ice for the same reason I originally went. I need an escape, and looking at sea-ice is like watching a cloud in the sky.

Not that I can ignore the BBC, and not that I can resist countering their Alarmist trivia with counter-trivia they are careful not to mention. For example, the North American (where I live) snow cover has been well above normal all year, and continues above normal even as it retreats north and fades away in the summer heat.


This trivia is worth blathering about because blindingly white snow-cover reflects sunshine, (and makes you wear sunglasses), and having extra reflective snow makes a mess of the BBC “albedo” arguments, which state that, because there is less ice and snow, more sunshine must be absorbed, which supposedly will overheat the planet.

Another bit of trivia involves Greenland’s icecap melting, which it does every summer, (at lower altitudes near the coasts), under the intense arctic sunshine. The BBC likes to show the amazing melt-water streams rushing to the sea, and to then fret about rising oceans, but this year mum’s the word, (so far). Why? Because the melt is retarded this year. In fact there have been two winter-like snows this June, adding rather than subtracting. In the brief time we’ve kept records, there has never been a storm in June that added over four Gt/Day to Greenland’s icecap. This year there has not been one, but two.


Like I said, this is trivia. It is a small part of our Creator’s amazing creativity, which involves so many variables it makes your head spin in awe. However, if the BBC is going to put on a white lab coat and raise an index finger with their trivia, it’s nice to counter-point with a raised finger of trivia that makes them look like imbeciles.

In the end what matters most is not trivia, but the Truth. Are you for it or against it?

In the last Civil War someone asked Abraham Lincoln if God was on the side of the Northern States, and he replied what really mattered was whether the northern states were on God’s side. The same is true today, as things take on some of the aspects of a Second Civil War. If you prefer the political correctness of Fake News, you do not stand by Truth, and cannot expect Truth to stand by you.

Meanwhile the clouds cruise by overhead unconcerned. The sea-ice is melting like it always does under the unending summer sun, at first at the periphery, but increasingly all over the place.

Under the endless sunshine three quarters of the ice melts every year, and this year is no different. There is less sea-ice during a warm AMO than during a cold AMO, as expected.

Temperatures climb up to two separate plateaus. The first is when temperatures reach the point where salt, which loses its power to melt ice below a certain temperature and blows around the Pole like dust in the wind, regains its power and start melting the ice again, sucking up a lot of heat in the process. (Think of the salt in the ice of an old fashioned ice-cream-maker, sucking the heat from the cream.) And the second is when the melting point of water is reached. Melting ice also sees a lot of heat sucked up, with available heat becoming latent heat during the phase-change from solid to liquid. Until the water becomes ice-free the water remains stuck at the freezing point, influencing the air just above it.

The temperatures at the Pole hover just above freezing due to all the sea-ice and ice-water, despite the nonstop sunshine. There is nothing new about thawing, slushy sea-ice in the summer. Here are the temperatures from 1958. The blue line represents the freezing point. Each summer the temperature is above freezing for roughly sixty days.

The most notable variable seems to be the effect of the AMO, which is hanging onto its “warm” phase, despite wavering down towards the “cold” phase at times last winter. It will be interesting to observe (God willing) the changes expected to occur when the switch becomes definite. It is forecast to happen during the next five years.

In the meantime the variable I like to watch is where the sea-ice is pushed by the wind. During the last year, despite a lack of big gales, there has been a steady push offshore from Eurasia, piling the mass against Canada and Greenland.

Barring major events, this situation will mean the Northeast Passage is likely to be passable while the Northwest Passage is likely to be impassable. Of course, the behavior of sea-ice is less predictable than the behavior of the BBC. The BBC will focus on how ice-free the water is along the coast of Eurasia, while failing to note that despite temperatures well above freezing and the sun remaining up at midnight, the sea off Barrow, Alaska remains clotted with ice.

The thicker sea-ice was also moved south towards Fram Strait, which initially sped up the drift of the MOSAiC expedition, but eventually made resupply a problem. It was difficult finding flat ice to land planes on, due to all the pressure ridges, and eventually it was decided to rev up their icebreaker Polarstern and sail down to Svalbard, resupply, and plow back to their original anchorage in the ice. This has proved difficult. First, they were delayed getting to Svalbard, as the ice was so thick that some days they didn’t move much farther than the ice drifted. They did finally extract themselves, resupply, and now are heading back north through the ice, but are now being slowed by the thicker ice again.

As they struggle north they are feeding my craving for views of the summer sea-ice. One thing interesting to see was how excited they were by a flipped berg with algae on the bottom. Of course, I pat myself on the back. I noted such things using the old floating North Pole Camera and the O-buoys, and though I couldn’t study the micro-critters to the degree they are, I published a post about how marvelous micro-critters are, on WUWT back in 2015.


It is good to see these young whippersnappers catching on. They are learning the algae on the ice-bottom is different from the open-water algae. Fascinating stuff!

I wish them well, up there in that splendid summer sun.

Stay tuned.


So much “virtue signalling” is currently going on that one simply has to become irreverent towards the New Puritans, and one good way to do that is to take a time machine back to 1997, and a hall where the exact same people who are so very “woke” today were laughing themselves to tears at the political-incorrectness of Alf Garnett.


I can’t hear the thrush sing, ‘midst hammering
Of political nails. Clamoring throngs
Demand music from a poor, stammering
Singer they drown out. Mobs demand sweet songs
From guitars they break; cruel rapists wonder
Why there’s no sweet love. Having shouted down
Meek poets, Silence is like clear thunder;
Quiet knows bullies earn high heaven’s frown.
Deep down all hearts recognize that dismay
Is not a kind master, and that salted soil
Grows no flowers. As fool’s raging destroys
Humble hope, ruining works that men toil
To make song, not all that’s heard is mere noise,
But also the silenced, ostracized meek
Who are praying for Silence to thunderously speak.