I’m taking a break after a good day of getting 2021 off to a good start by paying all last year’s taxes and bills. I actually have a little left over, thanks to President Trump, (but I guess we can kiss such profits good-bye).
I’m thinking, or perhaps wistfully wishing, that maybe it is time to quit, which is also called “retiring”. If you look back to the start of this blog eight years ago you can have a good laugh at my expense, for I fully expected this blog to be dedicated to old poetry.
I saw things like this: Life was divided into roughly twenty-year-periods. My first twenty years was being a child of the suburbs, in some ways spoiled rotten and in others terribly neglected. My second twenty years was learning about life on the street as a mad poet, sleeping in my car and living in campgrounds and seeing for myself “the poorer quarters where the ragged people go; seeking out the places only they would know.” This led me to value what suburbs don’t, and to a third twenty years raising five children. However, with the children raised and out on their own, I fully expected, as I started this blog, that I might spend my declining twenty years nibbling a pencil and writing about what I have seen.
No such luck. Or perhaps I have written about what I have seen, but what I have seen is that life doesn’t stop. Rather than the past, I find myself writing about the present.
Well, enough is enough. I’m now pushing age 68 and it is high time to sit back and reflect. Not that idiot politicians care a hoot about the wisdom of elders. They pontificate unconstitutional and unlegislated rules banning family members from gathering beside elders on their death beds, to hear their final words. What gives with that? (Likely it is because their elder’s final words might be, “The governor is a jackass who deserves damnation in hell.”) (And the old-timer would be quite correct.)
In any case, I chose to do what this blog was originally intended to do, which is to drag out old poetry and reflect. I chose to reflect on Christmas, 1970.
In a way those times were like current times, as there was great division in society. The Vietnam war was raging and youth was rebelling. In my own family my father was the epitome of furious politics, as my mother just wanted peace and quiet, which led to their divorce. My mother then set about being free of politics, and just enjoying life as life should be. But she had six children, who were not inclined to sit about sipping tea on a cozy patio, especially as they might wind up in Vietnam. So in some ways her children were as bad as her ex-husband, but she couldn’t divorce her children.
This led to a very odd Christmas in England. My stepfather was teaching in Oxford on a sabbatical, and my mother was rejoicing in a society which didn’t have a Vietnam War, and where a sort of Un-American class system had people know their place, with servants happily servants, and bosses very politely bossy. My mother absolutely adored the order of it all, and set about arranging a perfect Christmas with perfect ornaments and background music and colored foil and the perfect roast, and invited my older siblings over to delight in the splendid luxury, but they arrived and looked about scowling. Wearing radical clothing, (my sister an obvious femi-nazi), they were horribly ungrateful about luxury.
I myself had arrived nearly four months earlier, and got a sort of clout on the side of my head by attending Dunrobin, which was an attempt at a slightly more liberal version of the extreme discipline of an old-fashioned English Public School. Basically they snatched you from your mother (or nanny) and made you run yourself ragged and study yourself senseless. It was basically the Marines for twelve-year-olds, and Dubrobin was reluctant to accept me, for some felt that at age seventeen I was too old to be “trained”.
In any case, after four months of “training” I was reeling and in some ways suffering an emotional breakdown. All I wanted was to go home for Christmas, and bathe in some sort of normalcy. I just wanted to get back to normal, which was a nice American generation-gap, where I could sip an Old Fashioned with my mother and stepfather, and smoke marijuana with my older siblings. But my siblings didn’t dare smuggle any pot in their suitcases, and my mother seemed focused on some odd struggle involving beating luxury over the heads of my older siblings, as they sought to beat her over the head with the wisdom of granola. Oddest was no one could find the words to talk about differences, and instead “acted it out”. (I’ll leave descriptions to your imagination.)
I found the situation miserably uncomfortable, and not the going-home-for-Christmas I wanted, and eventually fled to a girl I knew in London, hoping to find solace there, (but her father took pains to make sure I found no such solace.)
But, before I fled my dysfunctional home, I did write a poem which, a half century later, seems proof that some sort of High Power exists in Christmas, even when every possible thing is going wrong.
Understand that, as I wrote the poem, I was was only seventeen and thought I was a dedicated Atheist. However I italicize the word “idea” (which was not stressed in the original) to show that even a young punk can see glimpes of the Almighty. Christmas indeed rose through the wreckage.
Christmas rose through the wreckage:
Ribbons, strings, crumpled dream tags
And other items in the smudge
That rises as the spirit sags.
It didn't smile this year
As it had in the snowy past
Which sags as it is clear
That none of that living can last.
Christmas rose as angry air
Bringing an IDEA through the lack
Of love that fed despair
And death of smoldering black
That beat truth aside
As air, as truth was weak
Through lack of truth, or pride,
or the power to let feelings speak.
And the IDEA was that truth
Whole and proud and strong
Enough to break any tooth
Or claw of those things wrong
Enough to take another's life
So ruthlessly; to interrupt
Another's song; to make strife
When nothing's to be stopped
And nothing gained can be kept
Until the end of it all.
Have you ever wept?
Did you ever call
For help when nothing
Stood by to help you?
Understand that call
With fond farewells my family all departs
And quiet descends in my battered home
Which bears the scars of young and growing hearts.
Wistful walls are worse for wear. The young roam.
Family is a most strange worldly treasure:
The more you gather; the more it bankrupts.
It is a wealth no banker can measure
And in fact it's proof such sweet love disrupts
Our intellects. Family is a madness
To misers, because, free as mother's milk,
It gives without charging, making gladness
Even when the naughty children all sulk.
It frees you, for as families grow
You find you get more, the more you let go.
As I begin this post it is Christmas Eve and a warm south wind is picking up. The piles of powder snow are wilting as only the most fluffy snow can wilt.
A few mornings ago the thermometer registered zero at dawn, (-17 degrees Celsius), and the fluffy snow wasn’t wilting a bit. Instead a storm that didn’t even show on weather maps drifted over. The weather map didn’t even show the orange-dashed-line indicative of an upper air disturbance.
As this disturbance passed over it gave us an extra inch of snow lighter than Pablum (before you add the water); fluff so unsubstantial that you could see through an inch of it, to the outline and brown color of a dead oak leaf that landed atop the prior powder before the current fluff fell. Meteorologists would note the snow had a 25:1 ratio, which basically means a bare .04 inches of what would have been rain crystalized into slightly over a inch of snow. Conversely, such snow has so little water-content that a bright sunbeam can turn an inch into .04 of an inch, which is turning something into next to nothing.
However before the sunbeams strike, such snow is not next to nothing. It is snow atop snow, and seems like adding insult to injury. With one’s muscles already aching from removing the prior foot, even a mere inch seems like mountains made of a molehill. Tires spin when one has last minute Christmas shopping to do. The dust of fluff makes one quiver in an un-Christmassy snit. The puff of snow is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. One needs a crow to shake the snow from a hemlock branch into one’s face, hitting one in the chops like a slapstick pie, to give one a change of mood. One needs a miracle.
It is now Christmas Day and the snow is all gone. The snow now is more than next to nothing; it is utterly nothing. The storm that moved north to our west has done a magic trick with south winds and warm rain.
Perhaps that is this year’s Christmas miracle: The snow that had plows out all night long, battling to keep roads open, has been disappeared by a snow-removal which has done far more than men’s plows can (merely shove the white burden to the curbs), and has even removed snow from the hills.
The Alarmists, of course, leapt from old worry to new worry, for the brooks all rose. With the rain combining with the snowmelt, we experienced a Christmas freshet. There were flash-flood warnings, but I didn’t heed them.
I drove about after the morning-unwrapping-of-gifts and before the afternoon-feast, simply admiring the bounding brooks, all at bankful, or just above, flooding a few low parking lots and the lower spaces in riverside campgrounds, but closing no streets. Temperatures were balmy for December, up around sixty (16 Celsius), and I drove with my windows open despite the rain.
In my eyes the freshet was also a Christmas miracle. What the Alarmists forget was how worried they were about drought and low well-levels only a month ago, when our rainfall totals for the year were more than ten inches below normal. I counted it a blessing to have it pouring on Christmas, for wells were being replenished.
The Alarmists were also fretting about possible wind gusts to sixty mph (97 km/hr), and falling tree branches taking down power lines and leaving kitchens cold, just when roasts were sliding into ovens. Never happened. We did get some good gusts that made me feel foolish for driving with my windows open. Sheets of driving rain entered the driver’s side window and exited the passenger side, and I needed wipers on the inside of my windshield. It wasn’t the same as a crow shaking down a dust of snow from a hemlock tree, but made me chuckle all the same.
It is now late evening on Boxing Day, and I’m feeling a bit warm and fuzzy, even with my house in some ways trashed. I’ll be able to heat tomorrow morning without using wood, just by lugging all the wrapping paper strewn about down to the cellar stove and burning it. The ashes will likely contain heavy metals and therefore won’t go into my garden.
In the future, I suppose, Alarmists will have us all wrapping presents in white paper to avoid the hazards of heavy metals, but in the present tense I’m fairly certain the local “recycling center” will not separate wrapping paper from more ordinary paper, excessively worried about heavy metals. In fact one fellow who works at the center confided to me entire truckloads of paper, as well as big bins of plastic and glass, are not recycled at all, when the price drops too low, and instead it is all trucked south to a massive “landfill” in Massachusetts where it is buried by bulldozers in dirt. If this is truly the case, then they likely appreciate that, rather than bringing them twelve huge trash bags of paper and cardboard, I bring them a small sack of ashes which I refuse to use in my garden.
It is amazing to me the heat generated by burning twelve big bags of paper and cardboard in a cellar stove. It only lasts around an hour, but the stove glows cherry red and the wooden floors upstairs become much nicer to walk upon, as the cellar becomes much less dismal and dank. It will not last, unless I add wood to the cellar stove (which I do when temperatures drop below zero [minus 17 Celsius]). But what is most applicable to this essay is the fact such a large amount of paper, literally three trips by car to the recycling center, is reduced to ashes I can carry to the trash in a small sack while whistling Dixie. Just think of all the gasoline I’ve saved by not driving, and the propane saved by generating heat burning paper in my basement. Surely the environmentalists will be pleased…..(not).
At this point, if I was clever, I would compare the huge amount of snow-removal avoided, simply by shifting winds from north to south and changing over an inch of snow to a mere .04 inches of water, with the huge amount of trash-removal avoided by heating your home for an hour with cardboard boxes and wrapping paper. However I have feasted more than is wise, and my paunch is bloated, and therefore my mind is less sharp than usual, so I won’t display such wit.
Later —- Instead I will simply add that life could be far simpler if Alarmists didn’t make everything so difficult. For example, life is much easier if you don’t walk around wearing silly masks which do no good, according to six peer-reviewed articles in the New England Journal Of Medicine and the English medical publication The Lancet. Yet Alarmists insist upon making what should be easy be hard.
Down in Boston, Alarmists became concerned about the salt spread on roads for snow removal, which made some sense for we don’t want salt in our wells and drinking water. However Boston’s streets largely were drained by storm drains which discharged into Boston Harbor, which was salty to begin with. This process was hurried along on snowy winters by front-end-loaders which filled dump trucks which drove to the harbor and dumped the snow into the water, but Alarmists made this illegal, claiming it hurt the ecosystem. Consequently mountains of snow would build up in parking lots and along curbs, clogging drains and causing street-flooding and, in the end, melting in the spring and winding up in the ecosystem anyway. The problem made me roll my eyes. To me it seemed that what should have been done was to determine if the road salts contained any “additives” which were actually harmful, and to ban those “additives”, but instead snow-removal itself was banned, which seemed a typical Alarmist case of overkill. It made life in the city far harder, especially a half decade ago when Boston had four snowstorms in a row. Once again Alarmists were making life harder.
But one thing about humans is that they are endowed with a creativity that finds a way, even in seemingly impossible circumstances, to make life easier. Sometimes life is even made more enjoyable.
For example, over a century ago, when the snow got deep, rather than remove it they brought out massive horse-drawn snow-rollers and pressed the snow flat.
Then people would park their wagons and take out their sleighs, or, if they couldn’t afford sleighs, they’d take the wheels off their wagons and attach runners. Then people glided about, making fond memories and songs about how fun it was, until snow turned to slush and you experienced what was called “rough sledding.” In any case it was ingenuity which made life easier.
The modern example of this ingenuity was a snow-melting-gadget some clever fellow invented which drives about above roaring propane burners, melting all the snow. It uses enormous amounts of propane, and costs something like $5000.00 an hour to rent, but Alarmists couldn’t complain because all the water running into the storm drains had no salt in it. The big-city parking lots treated by this gadget were clean and dry without any piles of snow around them. The bottom line was it was cheaper than plows, plus front-end-loaders, plus dump trucks, plus court battles with environmentalists. In fact it made life easier, and the gadget was, in the eyes of some businessmen, a blessing and even a Christmas Miracle.
One definition of “a Christmas miracle” is a hardship made easy. For example, one is ill, but wakes up well. One is exhausted, but gains a “second wind.” One is hungry, but is fed. One is freezing, but finds a friendly fire. One is oppressed, but is liberated. One is sick of wearing silly masks, and has the audacity to take them off.
I actually prefer Christmas miracles of a more stunning and supernatural-seeming kind. For example, as I explained in prior posts, one year I desperately needed five dollars, and then a five-dollar-bill blew across a parking lot and stopped at my feet on Christmas Eve. That was so amazing that to this day I don’t expect anyone to believe it actually happened.
Equally stunning, to my way of viewing life, was that a bum like me could abruptly become the father of three. That was a miracle in and of itself, and I felt asking for more would be ungrateful. Here is a picture of me with my future wife and children, when I was ending my time of sleeping in my car, and beginning my time as the patriarch and provider of a family of five. All who knew me were deeply concerned, for they felt I was about to precipitate a disaster.
Soon afterwards there came a Christmas eve when all three children were crabby and in no mood to help me get them to a Christmas Eve church service, where I had to be on time because I was part of a choir and relatively important, for I had to sing a brief solo. As I ushered the whining, miserable children a bit forcibly out the front door and down the front steps I recall my wry sense of humor kicking in, and rolling my eyes to heaven and saying it was enough of a miracle that a bum like me should have such problems, and I certainly should not expect more. And it was just then I received that year’s Christmas miracle.
I don’t expect anyone to believe it happened, but what happened was this: As I ushered the resentful, fretful children down the steps I think the pompom on my hat bumped against the wind-chimes that hung at the side of that porch, and those chimes played the first notes of a carol so distinctly my jaw dropped. Just guessing, it may have been the first nine notes of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.” Whatever it was, it was far too many notes, played too perfectly, to be easily dismissed as “coincidence”, and made me feel warm all over. Under my breath I think I said something like, “Lord, that was utterly awesome, but I think I might have preferred a five-dollar-bill.”
This year I kept my eyes wide open, for I was expecting the supernatural, but, to be honest, all I saw was a foot of snow vanishing between sunset and sunrise, and that is easy to scientifically explain.
I also saw my family expanded by thirty years of living. This too is easy to scientifically explain, and Alarmists will likely complain and worry about “over population.” My immediate family now looks like this:
This picture is from less than two months ago, as my youngest son was married in California. Please notice we wear no masks. Please notice we are not “social distancing.” Especially notice the old geezer in the middle is myself, a fool who smoked for 40 years who now suffers from COPD, who everyone should be avoiding, to keep me from getting the coronavirus, but, lastly, notice I would rather die than be separated from my family by Alarmists.
I’m the one who must die when it is time for me to die, so shouldn’t anyone ask me my opinion? Do I want the schools closed, for me? No. Do I want the churches closed, for me? No. Do I want the small businesses bankrupted, for me? No. Do I want dying elders denied family at their deathbeds, for me? No. So who wants such things?
Alarmists is who. They prefer making things difficult.
Without going into a very long sidetrack explaining Alarmists, I’ll simply point out my life disproves their logic. In some ways it seems the reason for my existence. To get from there to here involves what I personally believe is a miracle, for it involved beauty I cannot take credit for.
Go back to that first picture, when my family only numbered five, and realize how alarmed me and my wife-to-be made Alarmists. We nearly instantly decided we’d marry, but only confessed to each other after ten days, but we knew people would be alarmed if we told them we were going to marry after knowing each other so briefly. So we decided to keep it a secret, until they might be more approving. Yet the absurdity is we decided to keep our secret for a further 21 days. It seemed a very long time, to us, but to Alarmists? Actually, to be honest, I think they would have only have been pleased if we never married. There would never be a picture of a family of five, let alone a picture of a family of seventeen.
Thirty years have passed since I alarmed the Alarmists. If I was allowed the time to go into the details of the struggle my wife and I have seen this post would expand several hundred, or perhaps thousand, pages, but let me leave that for future posts, and simply state I called the Alarmist’s bluff. They stated I couldn’t, but I did.
Not that I did it alone. I relied on faith, on my belief in Christmas Miracles. I knew I was just a bumpkin, but had faith in Something Higher, and look what has happened! One Christmas I’m sleeping in my car as alone as alone can be, and another I’m the patriarch of a rather large and fascinating crowd of seventeen, encompassing three continents.
Alarmists cannot point at such increase as proof of their success. In fact they can only point at decrease. Abortion is only an example. They base decisions on the premise life will be worse if there is more of it. The exact opposite is the Truth.
But without the Reason for the season
All boxes are empty, and mankind is trapped
In a heartache without rhyme or reason.
So come again, Lord, into our dark night
And startle us with the power of joy.
Demonstrate you are the Author of light
In the simple way even a small boy
Understands, and yet the wise professors
Are mystified by: The wordless glance
Which uplifts a heart; the view of shores
No rich man can buy; the way your eyes dance
And cause sour-pusses to sing in the rain;
The way Your soft touch frees the hurting from pain.
We just had a foot of powder snow, very different from the last storm, which was wet, heavy snow which froze like concrete. That snow was like shoveling lead, but this was like shoveling feathers.
I was prepared for the storm, but as usual storms tend to stress out various forms of equipment, so that one gets phone-calls and texts of the unwelcome sort, just when one thinks they can settle by a cozy fire.
At first things were proceeding in an orderly manner. Half the customers and an employee were unable to show up at our Childcare, but my son-in-law was snow-blowing the drive for me, and my wife and the rest of my employees were having a wonderful time doing Christmas crafts with the children indoors, as temperatures outside were below fifteen degrees (-9.5 degrees Celsius) and the whirling flakes outdoors were not appealing to them. But they were appealing to me, so I headed out to shovel out my home parking area, which was much easier than usual, with the snow as light as feathers.
I noticed something I often note in December, namely: What a good job everyone does with their clean-up operations, early in the winter. Later, when the snowbanks get higher, and it takes more effort to get the fresh snow over the older snowbanks, things look increasingly sloppy, and by the end of winter the mess can be great, as everyone is haggard and beaten-down and basically concludes, “Why bother; it’ll melt in a week.” But now everyone is fresh and strong, and also knows, “This stuff could last four months,” so the snowbanks are cleanly cut with precise edges, and walkways are wonderfully tidy.
A second thing I noticed was that the snow, which had seemed to be slacking off after an overnight accumulation of around five inches, seemed to be picking up again. So I went in to study weather maps.
Usually this is a delight of mine. I derive great wonderment from maps, especially animated maps, which demonstrate how amazing chaos can be, and how we all look like fools when we try to predict it. I like to just sit by my computer and concentrate, but, as I have described in earlier posts, since my mother-in-law invaded the sanctity of my abode, concentration can be difficult.
On this occasion I entered my house to be confronted by an elderly woman on her hands and knees, her posterior sticking up, as she used a blindingly bright flashlight to penetrate the gloom of the bottom shelf of our refrigerator, where she rummaged about. I hesitated to say anything, as she is easy to offend, but after a time watching her rummage and listening to her grumble, I asked her what she was looking for. She stated it was a opened can of dog food, for her little cross-between-a-poodle-and-a-rat. I got down on my knees beside her, glanced through the churned objects on the lower shelf, and informed her there was no dog food. She sighed someone must have moved it, and, arising with much moaning and groaning, stated she’d just have to open a new can. I rose and decided to look in her own small refrigerator, on a counter-top four feet away. “Here it is!” I announced brightly, but earned a scowl. Besides very poor eyesight, the old woman has a bad memory, and I think she had simply forgotten we got her a refrigerator all her own (to avoid the churning of objects in ours), but, because it is embarrassing to admit you forgot, she insisted I show her exactly where in her refrigerator it was, insisting she had looked there, as if the situation was somehow my fault.
You may be wondering what this has to do with powder snow. So was I.
Eventually I managed a brief time looking at maps, and noted that the radar showed the patches of snow, which had seemed to be “drying up” were now “filling in”. It was all happening in a manner which was deeply fascinating, and which I yearned to study more deeply, but the yapping of a rat-dog and the growl of my far larger beast suggested concentration would likely be fleeting, if not impossible.
Dopplar radar has been wonderful, but not because it worked the way it was expected it would work. The cost was enormous, and to pay for the radar many observers the weather bureau had formerly funded were basically fired. The idea was that the radar would observe better than scattered individuals on the ground, but what the radars were expected to observe proved to basically be a misconception.
The misconception was that precipitation was a bunch of individual entities, which could be tracked like so many mini-hurricanes. Actual experience showed showers popped up and vanished with little regard to their own “entity”. Something else was in control. To look at patches of precipitation alone was like looking at a flapping flag without considering the wind.
In some ways Dopplar Radar cost us a thousand observers and hundreds of thousands of observations, to show us we know diddlysquat. However it is a very interesting diddlysquat.
Our powder storm was interesting because warm air to the south was attempting to ram north, but running into a rock-solid high pressure holding very cold air. On the surface the warm front could not progress north, but the warm air streamed north above the surface (which tends to be the definition of a warm front). Though the front made no progress, copious amounts of moisture did progress, showing as waves of snow rippling and pulsating north on the radar, even as the storm itself could make no progress north.
The storm was what I call a “zipper”, because the cold air behind the storm caught up to the warm front and occluded it, lifting the warm air off the ground, and in a sense cutting off the warm air from any further reinforcement from the south. The cold front continued to press east, turning more and more of the warm front into an occlusion, and an interesting band of especially heavy rain followed the progress of this “zipper”.
Sometimes the zipper becomes a new center of low pressure out to sea to the east, and this new storm causes the occluded front to turn around and become a sort of secondary cold front behind the new low. But this did not happen with this powder storm.
Instead, the uplifted air in the occluded front continued to stream north, behind the point-of-occlusion as it zipped out to sea. No new storm formed to the east, and it seemed every last drop of the warm air in the occlusion would continue to stream north. This continued streaming-from-the-south appeared unusual (to my memory) in storms that “go out to sea.” Usually behind a storm the wind veers to the northwest and precipitation tapers off.
Also the radar showed a fascinating detail. As all the precipitation headed south-to-north it ran up against precipitation associated with the stubborn high-pressure, which was heading east-to-west. At the point of collision everything came to a screeching halt, and there was a band of especially heavy precipitation which did not move south-to-north or east-to-west, but just stood still, and gave some locals amazing snow totals up near thirty inches. (76 centimeters). Largely this area (I think Joseph D’Aleo calls it a “disruption zone”) stayed north of us, but when even a slight bulge came south it was like someone shook the snow-globe, and the world outside my window was a whirl of white. The powder storm was far from over.
And it was right at this point, when it would have been most fascinating to concentrate on maps, certain distractions occurred.
First, I had to attempt to tell my mother-in-law that she might get her rat-dog killed if she continued to be generous with treats, both with her dog and my dog. I disapproved of rewarding dogs when they have done nothing to deserve it, but she seemed to be training my old cur to pester her constantly, and to growlingly regard her little pooch with deep and dark suspicion. My dog kills large rats in seconds, by seizing them and giving a swift shake. Dogs can be fierce, when competitive about food, and my mother-in-law’s kind generosity towards both dogs at the same time might get her tiny pet given a good shake, by my dog. It all might be over in a flash. But how does one tell a generous old lady such a horrible thing?
At this point my cellphone began buzzing and I became aware there were problems at the Childcare. The heat had quit working. The snow was building up fast, but the my snow-blower, which my son-in-law was using, had stopped blowing snow. I had to head over there, but as I did I noted the alternator light came on in my old car.
I figured out the heating problem pretty quickly. The heat shuts off when the exhaust-pipe gets blocked by a drift of snow. They had shoveled snow away from the exhaust pipe, but not looked at the pipe itself. Such modern pipes warm the air sucked in through a central pipe with the hot air exhausted around it, but the air sucked in was filled with powder snow which was incompletely melted and clogged the pipe. Once I pecked away at the ice, with crimson fingers out in the whirl of powder snow, I cleared the obstruction, and the heat turned back on.
No such proof of my mechanical genius was possible with the snow-blower. Gears in a gear-box had shattered to crumbles of metal. I handed my son-inlaw and old-fashioned devise called a “snow-shovel” and told him I’d be back to join him as soon as I attended to my car; the cold had caused the alternator to quit. My mechanical genius did not extend beyond checking the fan belt, which was fine.
I took longer at the local garage than I wanted; it is a gathering place, and one has to observe a certain etiquette; one doesn’t just barge in and demand service; one must await their turn to talk, and current politics meant a lot of talking was occurring. There was no quick fix for the alternator (spraying it with lubricant and tapping it with a hammer didn’t make it work) so I had to leave my car and get a ride through the whirling snow back to the Childcare. It took time, and by the time I got back the snow was at last slacking off, and the early December darkness had descended, with a hair of a crescent moon peeking through the clouds in a ruddy patch of draining twilight, to the west
I felt a little guilty about abandoning my son-in-law. He had shoveled the entire entrance, parking lot, and exit of the Childcare, and gone home to collapse in a heap. He’d been at it all day. I noticed he hadn’t even started his own driveway.
When I considered the situation it occurred to me I had little desire to go home to yapping dogs and distractions. I might as well grab a shovel and at least start my son-in-law’s drive. It turned out to be a brilliant decision.
I’m an old man who gets winded easily, due to the less-than-brilliant decision I made early in life to spend forty years smoking. If I ran a marathon I’d have to stop every twenty steps with my hands on my knees to catch my breath. However I have learned I can complete a marathon, if I don’t get discouraged and sit down. Maybe I’ll come in last, but sometimes a turtle can beat a rabbit. So I decided to at least start my son-in-law’s driveway, down by the street, where the plows had built a wall.
I’d shovel a bit, and then stand and catch my breath, and then shovel a bit more, and catch my breath, and shovel a bit more. This meant I spent a lot of time just standing, and I rather enjoyed that part. I was dressed warmly and worked enough to stay warm, and it is nice to work without the roaring din of a snow-blower. Off in the distance I could hear snow-blowers shutting off, one by one, as other men completed their clean-up more rapidly, and then the final plow-drivers passed, waving as they headed home, as I stood and shoveled, stood and shoveled, only pausing once to walk off and feed the goats, and being rather surprised on my return by how much I’d done. Oddly, rather than more tired, I became more exhilarated.
Talk gets so tiresome at times that I
Hear all as whining, whether it's a small child
Or old mother-in-law. I crave night sky,
Snow-shoveling alone, making a long, white pile
Beside a farm drive. With my snow-blower
Busted, there's no silence quite like silence
After deep snows. One becomes a knower
Of night noises, yet more solid and dense
Is the lack of noise, as the loud machines
And plows turn off, one by one, and whining
Ceases in the distance. As an old man leans
On his shovel, catching breath, the shining
Stars sing silent songs, and the crescent moon
Chases twilight, humming its silent tune.
The rare conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn briefly peeked out between clouds to the west, as red Mars glowered of war between shreds overhead, but I enjoyed peace. With turtle speed I completed the entire drive, smiling to myself over how surprised my son-in-law would be in the morning. If anything the driveway was too short. I decided to stroll the mile home over a country road as white as it was in 1968, when I first came north to meet my new stepmother on a farm, and she took us for a sleigh-ride behind a clopping horse. Back then there were eight houses on a road that now holds fifty, but I liked all the new strings of cheerful Christmas lights in the deep, muffled darkness. I was giddy, walking in a delicious weariness, hallucinating in the acceptable manner of a person seeing faces in clouds, with the clouds the white burden of snow on evergreen boughs. It was windless, and so silent that the only noise beside the squeaking snow under my feet was the ringing in my old-man ears, but even that became acceptable distortions, sleigh bells in my imagination.
There are worse fates than to be an old poet in deep snow in the country.
The deep snow will keep the fox denned tonight,
Nor will the bobcat leave his round footprints
Around my chicken coop. Nor will they fight,
Leaving their circling tracks as hints
Of their endless canine-feline feuding.
Nor will my chickens poke heads from pillbox
Coop; they'll stay inside, clucking and brooding
Over how mad I am, for I'm an old fox
Who wades through deep powder in starlight
And brings them grain and only takes eggs
And not their lives. They cluck I'm not quite right
In the head; it is a clucking that begs
That I please shut the door, and so they're missing
Seeing the starlight and powder snow kissing.
Call it paranoia if you will, but I suspect my obscure website is experiencing some form of increased censorship. It is only a hunch, but for some time it was only my charmingly politically-incorrect posts (regarding the fact science becomes bunkum once politics becomes involved) which were made difficult to find, (by certain dullard search engines), but now even my bland posts seem effected. For example, a formerly slightly-popular post of mine (during the hunting season) which has little to do with politically correct topics, which usually receives twenty to forty views a day (during hunting season), today abruptly received only three. It was my post called, “Why We Don’t Domesticate Deer.”
Call it a delusion of grandeur if you will, but actually it is somewhat flattering to believe that this old post, dating from 2013, which has received some 25,000 views, might now be deemed worthy of oppressing. It demonstrates how deeply upsetting and disturbing a good, old boy can be, as he rambles away about obscure topics, sipping a beer. Somewhere someone in pajamas is panicking. Alarms are going off, simply because an old coot like me gets garrulous. Tired nerds must get out of bed to read my awful poetry, and then to ban it using deft, modern, computer technology. (Dullards like to keep their lives dull.) Yet it is all for little, old me! I am unworthy, and humbled by all the attention. (It is far more attention than I’d get if they ignored me.)
On the other hand, it seems sad geeks in pajamas may ban me, without even attempting to talk with non-dullards like myself. I am not such a bad guy. If others have opposing views, I am actually glad to be friendly, and swift to clasp their hands and be interested and to learn what their views are. In fact I may be more interested in geeks than their girlfriends are, if they have any.
After all, a sheet of paper viewed from the front may look fat, but when viewed from the side it looks as skinny as paper. In order to understand the true nature of paper two views are better than one. One view is worse than two, but this is precisely what some geeks do, when they censor.
I have the feeling that certain powerful geeks feel their views are so smart, so magnificent, and so clever that all other views don’t matter. Such people disobey spiritual principles, (involving honoring parents and loving neighbors), in favor of a view which basically states, “My way or the highway.” Even if the vast majority of Americans vote for Trump, power-mad geeks will fabricate a vaster majority of fraudulent votes, to elect a senile puppet. Why? Because they think their view is wise, and others don’t matter.
But there is an itty bitty problem with their view. Let me see if I can explain it.
If you defeat the majority of voters, you are in the minority to begin with. Yet the minority you are part of are the worst people you could have on your side. Why? Because they too believe it is good to be fraudulent. And this means, when they smile at you, their smiles may be fraudulent. You cannot trust them.
What this means is that fraudulent-elect Biden should not trust his “comrades”, the same way Stalin did not trust his “comrades”. Stalin felt he had to conduct purge after purge, removing comrade after comrade whom Stalin felt had “counter-revolutionary” tendencies. This included Russia’s finest military minds, and the consequence was that tiny Finland trashed the Russian army, when it invaded Finland in 1939. Stalin hid the numbers, but it seems likely over a million Russians died in the botched invasion. Stalin then had to purge even more people, who dared be critical.
Not that fraudulent-elect Biden has the wherewithal to survive even a tithe of what Stalin amazingly survived. Biden might not even survive until his inauguration. Already some of his trusted “comrades” are back-stabbing. The mainstream press, which wouldn’t mention so much as a whisper about Biden-family-corruption when he opposed Trump, is now surprisingly honest about his son Hunter’s corruption. Why allow such criticism? Could it be some want Biden himself purged, now that Trump has apparently been purged?
It seems possible some sort of infighting is occurring. Evil is eating its own. This is the main problem with thinking the views of others don’t matter. If you believe it is wrong to love and respect your neighbor, and is smart to disdain the views of others, you are living by a sword which may stab your own back.
Consternation must be occurring among those who had high (and selfish) hopes of Biden elevating their own positions, and you can expect at least some of these Biden-supporters to fight back. I suppose they will angrily denounce the mainstream press for reporting what they formerly refused to report about Hunter Biden. They will state they should continue to refuse to report, as supporters of Harris state they should report, (and Biden should not become president). The supporters of Biden will then pressure the mainstream press to report the truth about Harris. The supporters of Harris will pressure the mainstream press to censor that truth. I would not like to be a member of the mainstream press as this infighting grows, because, where they once faced sure paychecks simply by being anti-Trump, they now face being fired, if they support the “wrong” side.
The fix the mainstream press is in is so sad to watch. Our founding fathers never intended our press to be “supporters”, basically compliant purveyors of propaganda, but that is what they have allowed themselves to become. Intellectually speaking, they have become putty.
But now they are in trouble, as they are forced to be something other than compliant. They are faced with a choice. Horrors! What will they chose? Hmm. They will likely merely run to ask superiors, “Should I stand for Biden, or Harris?” They will do what they are told. Like putty, they are mindless.
If you chose to be mindless, you will not see the writing on the wall, for you cannot think for yourself. You will be taken by surprise when, although you are among “winners”, in-fighting causes the walls to come crashing down.
Roughly 2870 years ago the Israelites were apparently in a hopeless position, “losers” up against “winners” even before a big battle was fought, because the “winners” consisted of not one but three armies, the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, and against such power there was no chance of victory. Then the unexpected happened, which involved in-fighting. The armies of Ammon and Moab took to quarrelling with the armies Mount Seir, which were trashed, and after that Ammon and Moab took to quarrelling with each other, and did such harm to each other that when the Israelites arrived to do battle they faced not three armies, but dead bodies “as far as the eye could see.”
The moral the Israelites took from the tale was that God will wipe out those who oppose God, and protect those who worship Truth. I actually think God was displaying compassion to the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, by allowing them to see for themselves how thinking that only your views matter, and others don’t matter, is an unsuccessful strategy.
I think God gives us free will for a good reason. He doesn’t want people to love Him because they are forced to do it. What kind of love would that be? Rather God wants people to love Him because He is the only One worthy of worship. But first people have to check out some “alternative lifestyles”, and to see them explode in their faces. Then, maybe, if they survive, they check out the Alternative to the alternative, and discover beauty, majesty, wisdom and love.
(Of course, if they don’t survive, then the only way they could possibly learn would be through having to go through the bother of living and dying all over again, which is tantamount to eternal death, for even if you reincarnated 800,000 times it just amounts to dying 800,000 times, which is a bit of a drag. Reincarnation is no escape, especially when you consider you will have to endure Algebra classes all over again. Far better to seek the Alternative to the alternative right now, while we have the chance.)
In fact that is exactly what the American people chose, when they reelected Trump. It took hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of fraudulent ballots to negate the will of the heart of America. America in fact chose the deeply spiritual beliefs of its Founding Fathers, and it was a wise choice. For, if you respect neighbors in a society so inclined you have only two hands to give with, but many hands giving back to you. Conversely, if you selfishly grab with two hands, in a society so inclined, you have only two hands to grab with, but many hands snatching from you.
Now, in conclusion, suppose you have two armies facing each other, or two football teams for that matter. One side works together, loving each other, and the other side works against each other, snatching from each other. Which side will see victory?
We now must endure a time of darkness and doubt, when it seems geeks have used fraud to negate the will of the majority, and gloat about their sleazy triumph. But their victory is founded upon division, and the divided cannot stand.
I am not saying to pop corn and sit back and watch, though there may be times when that is all we can do. In the small spheres of influence we are granted we should go right on loving our neighbors. But few of us have the power to overthrow governments. But don’t worry. They will overthrow themselves. Sit back and watch.
And have hope, for when an entire nation votes as America has voted, it does not go unnoticed by the powers in paradise. Already such powers are on the move, and we may well see, arising like a phoenix from the rubble of geek’s demolished dreams, an astonishing rebirth of a society founded upon beauty, majesty, wisdom and love. During winter’s darkest days we may see a Great Light.
The cornered rats bare fangs and disparage
The kindly hand extended holding food;
(Not worldly food, but spiritual porridge;)
But rats detest medicine, and snarl rude
Wrath. They do the math. They feel they will lose,
And indeed will lose lust. It seems unjust
To them; they feel robbed; so it is they choose
Their heroin. In heroin they trust.
Thus, for their low drugs of power and wealth,
They hate those who offer kindness, healing,
Forgiveness which ends addiction with health.
God pities them, but I have a feeling
They dig their own graves. They've no one to blame
But themselves for the sweaty blush of their shame.
We had a snow which may last until April, on Saturday. It was perhaps the wettest, heaviest snow I’ve ever seen, and I’m an old geezer who has seen a lot. I sort of liked seeing something new, even though I knew it would be back breaking to shovel, and likely clog my snow blower.
The flakes were as wet as flakes can be without being rain, but not slush, for slush is battleship gray, and these were white. At times the flakes were huge, the size of the big coins you don’t see any more, half dollars and even silver dollars. The snow fell in fits, furiously for fifteen minutes and then getting lazy for a while, and then abruptly falling furiously again. When it fell fast it piled up with amazing speed. I did not wear a hat when I ran to feed the chickens, and in something like five minutes I had a hat, a half inch of snow atop my head. But most noteworthy was the fact the heavy snow stuck like glue. Birches bent with astounding swiftness.
Fortunately the spasms of crazy snow were not prolonged. We only got around five inches. Even so, trees were losing branches and the branches were swiping down electrical lines. My lights blinked, but we never lost power, though people just down the road did. It made me think. What if such snow came down more steadily? What if it lasted three or four hours? We’d be wiped out.
What then happened was that the storm dragged down colder air, and all the juicy snow got glued where it had landed. Usually after a snow the back-side winds shake the snow from twigs and branches. But a hurricane would have had a hard time dislodging this snow, which was likely a good thing. It was so dense and heavy it would have fallen like rocks.
In fact, on Sunday morning, when I walked out to commune with nature in the undeniably beautiful snowscape, the electrical lines, perhaps because they were black and absorbed the brilliant sunshine, were shedding a few segments of the white burden they bore. The lines may be thick as my finger but the snow was as thick as my arm. As these segments of snow fell I expected them to land on the street in the soft manner snow usually falls, with a sort of puff, but instead they hit like bottles, or even bricks, as if they might chip the macadam. As I had no helmet on, it seemed wise to back away from standing directly under the electrical lines.
In conclusion, this snow seemed like a snow determined to stay. Some early snows melt away in a matter of days, but this one seemed to be like a primer coat of paint, and to form the bottom of the so-called “snow pack”, which can build and build and never be gone until April or, on North slopes, until May.
So of course I had to write a sonnet about the event.
The fat flakes fell wet and fast, more sticky
Than I ever recall snowflakes being;
A white glue which bent birches more quickly
than I've seen, and I've done a lot of seeing.
Then it all froze to rock, so one needed
A helmet to walk, as chunks fell like stones
From electric lines. Yet, though boughs pleaded
To be freed, groaning in the breeze, their moans
Went unheeded, for the glue was stuck too fast.
The snow seemed to feel its job was not complete
Unless made permanent: To make it last
What fell was not snow, but white concrete.
But I differed, not meaning to harass,
And told snow its beauty too must pass.
Although we all know snow must someday melt, (even if it lasts an ice age), we still have to deal with it. On Sunday morning I was not looking forward to dealing with the mess over at our Childcare. I remembered to count my blessings, for ordinarily I must start snow-blowing at five to have things ready for when we open at seven, but on Sunday I could sleep later. Still, Sunday is suppose to be a day of rest, and it seemed unspiritual to eventually budge my elderly posterior from its armchair and dodder to the Childcare to begin the work. But my son-in-law was more unspiritual than I, and resting less on the Day of Rest, and was busily doing the job for me. I allowed him to proceed. If the young wish to be unspiritual, I leave it between them and God.
This freed me to feed goats, chickens and our lone duck, (who all held a dim view about a potentially white Christmas), (which proves beasts are bestial and not spiritual), and then I was free. I didn’t have to snow-blow. Rather than hurry I could dodder, which is my definition of a Day of Rest.
I doddered out with my wife into the early December dark to a dinner we were invited to. It was a dinner for “care-givers”, including those who care for addicts, which I only mention because the snow so altered the way the world looked that we got lost on the way home. Not that we were truly lost, but things had changed beyond recognition to such a degree we abruptly had no idea where we were. Adding to our confusion was the fact a person fleeing the chaos to the south, but bringing along the filthy lucre (which perhaps was ill-gotten and perhaps to some degree caused the chaos they had fled), had used to the filthy lucre to build a dream-house in a pasture where we expected to only see a few cows. It was absurdly huge. We thought it must be a hotel, and immediately assumed we were on the wrong road, and must be lost.
It was so brightly lit I wanted sunglasses, but immediately afterwards we plunged into a dark section of country road hard to recognize because the trees were very white and bent down into the road, so we had to swerve from side to side to avoid the bent trees, brilliantly white in the headlights. Even though we had traveled the same road many times before, it wasn’t recognizable.
My wife confessed she didn’t like feeling lost on a road she had traveled many times; it made her feel senile, but I confessed I liked it. Why? Because it reminded me of when we first drove together, not yet married.
Are we ever more lost? Yet more happy? My future wife and I drove roads we had travelled many times, but they were unrecognizable. We sung and there was space for two other people, between us and my pick up truck’s passenger-side window. We had no idea where we were or where we were going, but it was bliss.
One time a crabby old wife, out driving with her husband, pouted at her husband while she pressed against the passenger-side window, demanding he explain why he no longer drove with her head on his shoulder, and his reply was irony perfected: “I haven’t moved.”
In any case we came around a corner and saw irrefutable evidence we were not lost any more, and even my wife laughed she was a little bit disappointed. We were back in the humdrum, with Monday just around the corner.
Monday came, and our Childcare was open. Only twice in eleven years have we been shut down by weather, once because an ice-storm dropped so many trees into the roads that, even though we were open, no one could get to us, and another time because every single parent cancelled the day before due to a dire forecast. In that second case we could have been open, but….why bother?
The coronavirus has also involved dire forcasts, but we have never being closed. At first we were open because we were “essential”, because nurses and doctors need Childcare, but very soon it became apparent that, even though they exposed themselves to the dreaded cootie, they felt their children should not expose other children to second-hand cooties, and withdrew their children. At that point we should have shut down, but at that point other parents needed us, as their children got in the way of “working at home.” One way or another we have remained open, even as huge sections of the economy shut down. There may be no crowds or hotdogs at the World Series, countless lovely restaurants may be darkened, school lunches may be banned, Churches my be forbidden from both potlucks and The Lord’s Supper, but we’ve quietly continued snack times. In my way it is my timid middle finger to the authorities, and to their unscientific and unconstitutional bullying. Not that they couldn’t close me down tomorrow, but at this point I think I’d stay open even if served papers; some things are worth going to jail for.
Which brings me to this Monday morning, as I dealt with a snow storm and a society midst a witch-trial-mindset about coronavirus cooties.
We structured the finances of our childcare on the idea we would accept certain children at 7:00 because they world depart for school at 8:00. At 8:00 smaller children would arrive. The total number of bouncing children would stay the same.
However the teachers-union decided the cooties represented too dire a danger, and shut down the schools.
Therefore all the kids who should leave at 8:00 do not depart, but all the kids who arrive at 8:00 arrive.
Already we are stressed, but the stress gets worse. The teacher’s union insists the children, whom they have denied face-to-face learning, receive “on line” learning.
What this means is that I, little old me, who knows very little about computers, must all of a sudden provide “on line learning” to a bunch of kids who were suppose to depart on the bus at 8:00.
My wife and I and our staff must interrupt my Childcares happy agenda at 9:00; 9:30, 10:00; 11:00; 1200; 12:30; 1:30; and 2:00, corralling certain children from the fields and herding them inside to be “on line.” Often the teachers “on line” have poor abilities with computers, and glitches occur, which puts me in the position of figuring out what the problem is, though I know next to nothing about computers. Fortunately both I and the on-line teachers I are rescued by the older children, who often save the day. (Rather than being educated, such children are actually making education possible).
It would be easy to take offence, and mutter rude things about the idiotic behavior of the teacher’s union. They speak a lot of blather concerning what they call “the science” concerning coronavirus, but when you ask them what scientific papers they are referring to, in what medical journal, they can’t reply. They haven’t fact-checked. I have. The corona virus is less dangerous than the common cold, to children. I clean the noses of children with the common cold on a daily basis, and I am an old, ex-smoker with compromised lungs. Now I have to do the teacher’s work for them, as well. Come to think of it, I do mutter a bit about the teacher’s union, and am doing so now, but then I consider what they are missing.
Sometimes we want our routine to be like concrete, and disruptions irk us. But there are other ways of looking at an old road becoming a new road.
We could not recognize the country road
Though we had driven it a hundred times
Over thirty years. A white overload
Of snow arched birches. Ivory designs
Hung chandeliers in the street, very white
In the jet black night, and we had to turn
Left and right to squeak by. A strange delight
Filled my heart. I smiled and began to yearn
To continue down this road remembered
From before we were married. We were lost
In love. All roads were new. It occurred
To me knowing the route comes with a cost,
While new worlds are wonderful to drive through
If one you love is sitting beside you.
One thing the fraudulent election has made blatant is that the media, and many others on the “left”, have a low regard for the Truth. All that matters to them is power, and its associated wealth, and the gratifications of various lusts which ill-gotten money makes possible. Like a desperate heroin addict facing withdrawal, such people will say anything, no matter how absurd, to retain their lowly concept of what constitutes heaven-on-earth.
This conniving dishonesty is something I have long suspected, when debating Alarmists about arctic sea-ice. In the rough-and-tumble world of the old Accuweather Global Warming website (back around 2005, before it sadly morphed into an echo-chamber) the old-school Alarmists I tussled with at least had the decency to supply me with links to various sources, such as IPCC reports, which supported their views. But when these links were put under the ruthless spotlight of Truth, various worms wriggled, attempting to duck out of sight like night-crawlers do under a flashlight beam on a wet summer lawn after dark.
One such culprit was James Hansen, who kept “adjusting” the temperature record in a manner that made current temperatures look warmer than the terrible heat of the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Most people found it hard to see how the adjustments were made, as they were made in the fine print of computer data, and many simply had to take Hansen’s word that his changes were valid, because he was a scientist and wore a white lab coat. However the statistician Steve McIntyre was familiar with the fine print of computers, as he often audited the financial records of businessmen who sometimes had shady dealings they wished to hide, and McIntyre took a hard look at Hansen’s data with the flashlight of Truth. Hansen immediately became nervous and re-readjusted his data.
Mind you, the above post is from August 8, 2007, more than thirteen years ago. Back then Alarmists had a bit more shame about being caught red-handed midst the fudging and falsifications of fraud. Now, it seems to me, fraudsters have become increasing brazen, as rather than punished they are financially rewarded, for being scientifically incorrect but politically correct. (A recent joke goes, “What do you get when you mix science and politics?” Answer: “Politics.”)
The question then becomes, can Truth push back against the denial of Truth?
Most Alarmists don’t seem to think so. On this side of death they are bribed by wealth and faux-prestige, and they avoid thinking about the other side, and the prospect of hell, by becoming Atheists. Even some Skeptics seem cowed by the juggernaut of falsehood, afraid of what the press might do to their reputations, careers, and happy homes.
Personally I feel Truth does push back. People make light of It and dismiss it as “coincidence”, yet is noticeable enough to even be given an urban-dictionary name, “The Gore Effect”. (In a most uncanny manner, wherever Al Gore went, to give a lecture about Global Warming, seemed to be a locale which immediately experienced record-setting cold.) Laugh at me if you like, but I have a sneaking suspicion something more than coincidence may be involved. If one is audacious enough to strut about thinking they control the weather, they are liable to get a gentle reminder from Truth that they don’t, and that, in fact, they can’t even predict weather all that well.
Another way Truth pushes back is through people like me. Despite all efforts to brainwash everyone, there are always voices, often the voices of small children, asking embarrassing questions, or making simple observations such as, “The emperor has no clothes.”
But even if absolutely everyone is brainwashed, (and sometimes I look around and wonder), Truth remains as true as ever, and is not lessened one iota by our madcap opinions. This endurance is, in and of itself, a push-back of sorts.
Many tend to see Truth as an inanimate thing, fact-like in nature. For example, it is true one plus one makes two. I am prone to a more mystical outlook, and to see Truth as being animate, and therefore able to be caring, which involves push-back.
I can’t explain my belief very well to doubters; I suspect it is born of seeing Truth be ravishingly beautiful in some natural settings, or be utterly awe-inspiring, as upon the lip of the Grand Canyon. Also the way nature feeds and shelters all its creatures, even those with brains the size of a gnat’s, suggests harmony and even love, (albeit crude love when the lion loves the antelope). But once you start talking about Love being a part of Truth, and fundamental to the fabric of creation, you are of course venturing out onto the waters of faith, which many have a problem with. To them it looks like walking-on-water: Because they can’t do it they believe it cannot be done. That is their belief, and I respect the beliefs of others, even if they don’t respect mine. I only bring up mine as a possible push-back Truth may have up its sleeve.
The funny thing is that many who are not particularly religious or spiritual go out for a walk on a sunny day to uplift their spirits. Even an Atheist may fight off depression by heading off to a park to “commune with nature”. It makes me smile a little, fondly, for what are they communing with? Is it not just a wee bit hypocritical to be talking to something you don’t believe exists?
“Communing with nature” is the best reason to study arctic-sea-ice, or any of the other chaotic systems covered by the heading “meteorology”. It is a simple cure: Revealed Truth is a good antidote to the lack-of-Truth on the news. Although swamp-creature elitists may censor Truth on Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and various search engines, Truth cannot be censored in the sky, or the weather, or in the antics of arctic sea-ice.
This past year has been noteworthy due to a general pressing of the sea-ice from the Eurasian side of the Pole to the North American side, leading to a thickening of sea ice in the Central Arctic and towards Canada, and a eyebrow-raising area of open water between the Central Artic and the Eurasian Coast.
If such a area of open water had existed when Nansen sailed the Fram, or De Long sailed the Jeannette, a heroic tale and a tragic tale would have been very different. No Skeptic should deny that such open water is hard to find in the historical record. (Various “proxy” records indicate similar conditions may have occurred during climate “optimums” like the MWP, before men with pens and paper ventured so far north, but that is another matter.) Skeptics should seek to avoid the denial so prevalent in the Alarmist community (even as Alarmists accuse everyone else of denial.) Not only is such denial a hallmark of deceit, which leads to bad engineering, (even in the case of “social engineering”), but also denial causes one to miss seeing the sheer wonder of God’s play.
The open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole created a situation conducive to the arctic waters losing more heat than is ordinarily possible. Ordinarily the cover of ice keeps the waters under the ice relatively calm, (though the MOSAiC expedition noted more turbulence under sea-ice than theory predicted.) Also the calmer waters are able to stratify, with the buoyancy of fresher water overpowering the buoyancy of warmer water, and a “lid” of cold, fresher water hiding saltier, warmer water beneath. Open waters messed up such stratification by allowing gales to churn the upper layers of the water, bringing some of the warmer, saltier water to the surface where its heat was lost to the perpetual darkness of the arctic night. All through October and well into November open water allowed for impressive amounts of heat to be lost to the atmosphere, resulting in Alarmist joy, for arctic temperatures were undeniably far above normal.
Less delightful to Alarmist thinking is the simple fact that these above-normal temperatures are not entirely indicative of heat entering the arctic, and can be seen as indicative heat is departing. The situation is sunless, and heat has nowhere to go but up, where it is lost to the void of outer space.
The above-normal temperatures were not static, but spilled south over Siberia, which delighted Alarmist by experiencing anomalies which made Siberia cherry red on anomaly maps for most of this autumn. However from late September onwards “above-normal” temperatures are below freezing over Siberia, and, because the above-normal air was also moister air, Siberia experienced early and increased snowfall, which was not so pleasing to Alarmists.
The open water over the sea and snowpack over the land created a general situation where the air rose over the sea and settled over the land. There was low pressure over the sea at the surface, and high pressure over the land at the surface. This situation could not remain static, and created circulations around the low pressure and high pressure, which in turn resolved into a sort of frontal boundary with low pressures running along it, moving along the arctic coast of Siberia.
What is hard for southerners to comprehend about this resolution is that the south winds ahead of such storms are relatively cold, while the north winds behind such storms are relatively warm. How can south winds be cold and north winds be warm? It is because the south winds are from the sunless snowpack of Siberia while the north winds are from the open waters of the Arctic Sea. The air at the surface of the snow pack swiftly falls below zero (-17 degrees Celsius) while the air over the open water cannot fall below the freezing point of salt water, roughly 29 degrees (-1.7 Celsius). The clash between the land temperatures and the sea temperatures can generate decent storms, and strong off-shore and on-shore winds as temperatures attempt to “balance out.” The below zero winds howling north constantly chill the ocean’s water until, despite all the churning and despite the water’s saltiness, it starts to freeze. At first the freeze is only in harbors and inlets along the coast, but then, in November, the entirety of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia freezes over with such speed some call it a “flash freeze.”
This flash freeze represents a final, and enormous, amount of heat lost to the arctic atmosphere. It is important to understand this loss. It involves the simple fact water, in its liquid state, consists of molecules bopping about in a more fluid state than molecules of water which, in its solid state, are basically sluggards. As water moves through the “phase change” from liquid to solid all the energy contained in its bopping about, called “potential energy”, is lost. It does not simply vanish; it is given from the water to the atmosphere.
One humorous hypocrisy I’ve noticed is that when ice is melting in the summer, and temperatures happen to be a half-degree below normal, Alarmists such as Hansen were and are always quick to point out that melting ice “sucks up heat”, but when the situation is reversed, and temperatures are a half-degree above normal in the autumn, such Alarmists almost never point out freezing water “pours out heat.” But the simple fact of the matter is that freezing water takes heat which was invisible, as “potential energy” in the water, and makes it readily available.
This year, because there was so much more open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole, the flash freeze was far larger than normal, and consequently the amount of potential energy released by the phase change from liquid to solid was bigger. How much bigger? I haven’t a clue. I’ll leave it up to the more honest scientists to figure out how to even measure such a thing. However it must have been a “sizable” amount. (I like that word, “sizable”, even though we use it when we haven’t a clue what the size actually is.)
In conclusion, a huge amount of heat has been given from the Arctic Sea to the atmosphere this autumn. My guess is that, if you could measure it, it would be much more than usual; perhaps even an “unprecedented” amount.
The next question should be, “What has become of all this heat? Are palm trees growing in Siberia?” No, in fact what seems to have occurred is that the snow is deeper in Siberia. What this might mean is that it will take longer for the snow to melt away next spring, which will mean the snow will reflect away the bright spring sunshine for a longer period, delaying the onset of summer’s warmth and mosquitoes. In fact it may be a case of contrary logic, where the extra heat makes Siberia colder in the long run.
Also there can be no denying that much heat in the arctic is simply lost to the night skies and the void of outer space. Even the snow falling over Siberia involves a double phase change, vapor from the Arctic Ocean turns to liquid and then to solid snow, and the heat released from these phase changes is lost from the tops of storm clouds to outer space.
If you want a warmer world, the last thing you should want to see is heat up in the arctic, because that is a bad investment. With the exception of a sixty day period in the middle of summer, the arctic is like a relative who always needs a loan and never pays you back: A drain. To make a warmer world we want a zonal flow, where the cold stays locked to the north and we keep the warmth where we like it, to the south. But this year we are seeing the opposite.
At this point I should shift my attention from the open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole to the odd increase of sea-ice on the North American side. I say “odd” because I haven’t see it before. It seems largely due to ice from the Siberian side being pushed towards the Pole, and also a failure of the Transpolar Drift to flush large quantities of sea-ice south through Fram Strait to melt in the North Atlantic. Ordinarily the Transpolar drift crushes ice against the north coast of Greenland, which is where we see the thickest ice on “thickness” maps, but occasional reverse-flows have actually pushed sea-ice north, creating polynyas of open water along Greenland’s northeast coast, while thicker ice has appeared in the Central Arctic.
The yellow and red in the above thickness map represents sea-ice more than ten feet thick. While there may be less of such thick-ice along the north coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago, the red and yellow in the Central Arctic is a new phenomenon.
In fact, when you add the lesser amounts of thick-ice along the north coasts of the American side to the very thin ice (lilac) towards Eurasia, there should be an appreciable decrease in the total volume, but a quick glance over at the volume graph shows the levels are the same as last year. I surmise the deficit is made-up-for by the surplus of thick-ice in the Central Arctic. In essence we are seeing the same amount of sea-ice spread out differently.
Now for the fun of it, let’s extrapolate, imagining the changes of the past year persist. Rather than the Transpolar Drift flushing sea-ice south into the North Atlantic, sea-ice continues to be pushed away from Eurasia and continues to pile up in the Central Arctic. After all, the Russians have had many sea-ice “drifting bases”, over forty in all, dating all the way back to 1937, and the Russian scientists noted that there was a drift other than the Transpolar Drift, which they found annoying as it took them far from Russia and towards Canada, which made resupply difficult and also brought them under increasing scrutiny from the “other side” in the Cold War. In other words, the Transpolar Drift is not an ironclad reality.
Now, also for the sheer fun of it, let us take out and dust off the word “unprecedented.” What is unprecedented about the current situation? Well, in the very short term, there is unprecedented build-up of sea-ice in the Central Arctic, simultaneous with unprecedented heat-loss from the waters north of Eurasia. Now extrapolate. The ice continues to thicken over the Central Arctic as the waters north of Eurasia continue to chill. See where I’m aiming?
One fascinating study is the currents of the artic. The water north of Eurasia does not just sit there, but cycle its way around the Pole all the way to Fram Strait. There are scientists who have done amazing work identifying and tracking these currents, and noting their variations. I hope they are adequately funded, for I assume the variations could become quite interesting, due to the waters north of Eurasia being so exposed and so churned the past six months. If even part of the milder, saltier water has been churned up from where it usually hides under the colder “freshwater lens”, that missing heat must make a difference to the equations that determine aspects of how and where such currents flow. I am very curious about what differences might develop. Not that I have a clue, but I’m quite able to play about with the idea that reaching a certain “tipping point” might bring about a change that seems dramatic to us mere mortals. History tells us of times the fish baffled the North Atlantic fishermen by packing up and moving hundreds of miles, rendering prime fishing grounds barren but turning sterile seas to sudden bonanzas. Such changes seem associated with the AMO swinging from cold phases to warm phases, and vice-versa, and, as we may well be on the cusp of such a swing from “warm” to “cold”, I feel we should be alert to unexpected changes. Not that I am so bold as to venture a prediction, but I am “just sayin’…”.
I have been too busy and beset with other matters to scan the daily polar maps to the degree I once did, but I still give them a swift perusal, and would like to share a couple of observations that tickled my imagination.
First, it has always been a mystery to me how the Greenland Vikings could do what they did. For example, how could they hand-dig graves in what is now permafrost as hard as iron? Obviously the meteorological conditions were very different, yet when I try to recreate the conditions in my mind’s eye, nothing works. Therefore, when so much of the Eurasian side of the arctic was ice-free last September, I hoped I might get a hint. Sure enough, as autumn proceeded, the west coast of Greenland and Baffin Bay (where the Viking settled) were well above normal. But for the life of me I couldn’t be sure of why.
My best guess was that all the sea-ice on the Canadian side of the Pole encouraged sinking air and high pressure. While this high pressure led to cold temperatures directly beneath the high, air was swept around the periphery of the high, and this led to a band of milder air sweeping all the way around from East Siberia and the ice-free Bering Strait and across central Canada to Baffin Bay. Just a guess. But what do you expect when my research goes so tragically unfunded?
A second interesting event involved the flash freeze of the vast area of open water north of Eurasia. As soon as those waters are covered by even a six inch skim of ice, a lot of moisture no longer feeds the storms moving east along the Siberian coast. Ordinarily the flash freeze occurs first north of East Siberia, and then west to the Laptev Sea, and then west to the Kara Sea, and lastly on to the eastern edges of Barents Sea, with the result being storms are cut off from their sources of moisture further and further west, and tend to weaken and dwindle away earlier and earlier as they move east. But this year the flash freeze occurred in a big rush, more or less everywhere at once, so I expected the next storm to dwindle away in Barents Sea right away. WRONG.
The next storm moved straight north the wrong way through Fram Strait and Svalbard, and became a fairly strong “Ralph” (anomalous area of low pressure) nearly crossing the Pole, before moving on to dwindle away in East Siberian waters near Bring Strait. In the process it’s east side brought south winds that extended all the way across the Atlantic to Norway, bringing a huge “feeder band” of southern mildness and moisture up to the arctic, where the heat (in my opinion) was squandered, lost to outer space.
If your neighborhood seems too cold at any time this winter, blame whatever it was that caused all that heat not to stay south, where we could use it, and instead to be sucked north and, like heat lost up a chimney, to be rendered useless.
One thing this surge of Atlantic air up into the Arctic did was to drive the advancing edge of the thin sea-ice backwards, reducing the extent of sea-ice on the Atlantic side and allowing the total extent to stop growing, and nearly reach 2016’s levels, which would have been “record-setting” and “unprecedented”.
I must confess I am less impressed by the “extent” graph than I used to be. Even if the edge of six-inch ice is pressed fifty miles north, it tends to create a big jumble of piled-up sea ice three to six feet thick, and also to expose fifty miles of water to churning. Factors other than “extent” seem more meaningful, not the least of which is why that storm took that odd route.
If you want to know why that storm took that odd route, don’t ask me. I’m just a reporter. Instead you need to fund some young meteorologist, and rather than asking him to produce results you want to see, ask him to study the Truth.
Lately it has occurred to me politics is all about producing results you want, but Truth is far more powerful, and also is more interesting. Maybe not convenient, but interesting.
As a sort of example, a few days ago the billion dollar computer models forecast a storm to lift from the Gulf of Mexico and move out to sea south of us. However the computer models failed to give enough weight to a second small low digging south across the Great Lakes.
When two such storms intersect, it is called “phasing”, and they can create a gale greater than the sum of the two.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, rapidly developing storms employ “advection” to cool the air’s “column” just enough to turn cold rain to sticky, wet snow. This is Truth, and it doesn’t matter what billion dollar computer models say. What it basically means is that I headed off this morning to feed goats and chickens in a cold rain, and weather changed to wet snow so swiftly I barely slithered home alive. (Thank God for anti-lock brakes.) Before the plows or sanders or salters could even start the roads were skating rinks, and a snowless landscape looked like this in ninety minutes:
Once you make it home alive, Truth is rather pretty. But one is made aware that Truth is the boss. Any other conclusion is absurdity.
There is something about spending a billion dollars on a computer model which smacks of disrespect towards Truth. The computer seems more aimed at circumventing Truth than in following Truth. Some people resent being followers. They’d rather fiddle with computers that can’t comprehend chaos and never are completely correct, than follow Truth which is always right. Sadly, all sorts of excellent scientific minds, such as William Gray’s, go unfunded, as gizmos get the glitter.
In the end Truth is boss, and Truth is beauty, and the best refreshment is to just follow Truth, as it does what it does, shifting cobalt and azure icebergs in the arctic twilight.
This storm showed its warm side. Now the warm rain’s Stopped and warm south winds rush by at midnight. A warm full moon ducks to the hushed refrain Of silent song, dodging clouds, its light Dancing with moon shadows. I had walked Out to my car, searching for nicotine, But the moon was a cop whose flashlight stalked My criminal heart, and at that crime-scene I stood arrested. My logic is tested But flunks the test. My thoughts can’t make sense Of how waking, not sleeping, leaves me rested. My dark worries required a future tense, But like a mothered child with a kissed brow I rush like the moon through lit clouds of the Now.