LOCAL VIEW –The Long Haul–

Winter tends to wear you out slowly but surely. I often notice how people start out winter being very fastidious about how neat and tidy the snow banks are when they shovel their walks, and gradually get more sloppy, especially if the winter starts early and turns into a hard one. People are less fussy about their hair as well, knowing hats will mess it up, and by late February nearly everyone in the market looks like they are having a bad-hair-day. It is harder on the elderly, and, as I age, I increasing understand why Indians described the old as “having seen many winters.” I also understand why people flee to Florida, though in some ways it makes matters worse unless they can stay south until May. People who go down for a week or two may return with wonderful tans, but they completely lose their tolerance for cold, and flinch from winds that don’t seem bad to me, and wear expressions like whining children under their tans.

This year has been a long haul. We got an early storm of wet, heavy snow which formed a sort of enduring primer-coat of frozen ice, and persisted despite a generally mild and kindly January with some thaws. Then, just when we thought we might escape harshness, the winds turned bitter and snows became regular. One big storm put down good snowbanks, and then there were a series of small snows, only 3 or 4 inches, (just enough where you can’t ignore it and must snow-blow the Childcare parking lot). I think the entire month of February has seen only three days when there wasn’t at least a flurry of snow, and those days tended to be bitter cold. It was so cold the snow was seldom sticky enough to roll balls, and for a long time I couldn’t complete an igloo I promiced the children, as I needed sticky snow to roof the tall walls.

I’m starting to feel the long haul of life, as well as the long haul of winter. Not that I am ungrateful to God that I can still do things some of my friends have had to quit, such as shoveling snow or splitting wood, (or making igloos, for that matter), but I am also having some talks with God about how He is eternal and I most definitely am not. Or at least my physical body isn’t.

There is actually a lot of writing about this subject. We mortals don’t need to be perfect to be useful to God. He makes use of cracked pottery, and in fact some of the greater saints suffered “thorns in their flesh.”

This has not kept me from grousing and complaining. Here’s a sonnet describing the sort of battles going on in my head:

A rusty old man with a trusty old maul,
I frown at a gnarled log in the woodpile.
It’s defeated me. I gave it my all
But it didn’t split. I grimly smile
To see how I lean on my maul’s handle
And huff and puff. What an old weakling
I’ve become! If I were a candle
I’d be a stub. I should be speaking
Wisdom; not chopping; but I like fresh air
And my wisdom also knows how to attack
A gnarled log. I study the grain with care
And then give the log one more mighty whack.
It flies apart. A pert chickadee
Above cheers an old man’s final victory.

I really do like getting out. It is part of defeating cabin fever, and keeps you from going “shacky whacky”. Also the chickadees really do come to investigate noise, providing there is no wind. They hide from wind, because they are so tiny they can freeze in a matter of minutes. But when it is calm they fearlessly rush towards noise, perhaps because falling trees exposes the bugs and grubs and (most especially) carpenter-ant-eggs they relish.

Besides chopping wood, and carrying it up steep stairs to stack it on the porch, and scrutinizing the shrinking woodpile to see if we’ll make it to spring, there’s plenty of shoveling to do, both at home and at the Childcare. Even trudging behind the snow-blower can make me huff and puff. It’s a grind, and wears you down. All my talk about how sunshine defeats viruses and exercise is good for you gets a bit stale as day follows day. When we finally did see a brief thaw, as a storm cut up to the Great Lakes, putting us on the warm side, it just meant the snow became sticky and I had to huff and puff building the roof for the igloo I promised the kids.

The staff used the slope of the sledding hill to roll down oversized snowballs, and built some creature from a Dr. Suess book, a sort of camel with more than two humps, taller than the children were. I was so achy that the fact the kids still had energy made me shake my head. However, as I took a picture of the snow-camel for the record, I suddenly noticed something.

Check out the two boys sledding past in the background. The boy to the rear of the sled is actually facing backwards, as if a bit jaded. Can it be that even the little children are running out of gas? Can it be winter even wears them down?

I began to think that perhaps part of winter involves NOT going outside, but retiring to a warm cave and hibernating a bit like a bear. Perhaps part of survival (and even spiritual advancement) involves being more inward. Bingo. Time for a sonnet.

It’s too early to think yet of springtime
But I feel the first stirrings of maple’s sap,
While rolling eyes at a pert chickadee’s crime
Of singing “spring soon” too soon. Winds still slap
My face in wincing ways; the day’s all grays
Without color; beauty is dulled; Subdued
Is inspiration; My goal is to laze
Indoors and do nothing. You can supply
The motivation for a change. I’ll sit
And work at slumber. My poetic eye
Will gaze inward as outward views submit
To gray horizons under gray skies.
Inward is where sweetest sap first stirs
And inward is where the house cat purrs.

Of course, just because I decided to rest more did not mean winter would allow it. The brief mild spell, and a quick inch of rain which froze, meant I had to shovel sand onto walkways and the Childcare parking lot. Then a series of three and four inch snows meant I had to trudge behind the snow-blower. The salt on the highways finally rusted my clunker (2001 Subaru Outback) to such a degree that the local garage (usually quite lenient) refused to pass it during an inspection, which meant my new clunker (2000 Jeep Cherokee) had to be dug from a mountain of snow. I couldn’t even rest on Sunday, the Day Of Rest, which always makes me feel like more of a sinner than usual. However man proposes and God disposes. And I did feel a forgiven when I saw a bit of amazing luck. The old Subaru suffered a cracked head which involved it abruptly producing an towering cloud of white steam billowing from the exhaust. And did this happen miles from home? No. It happened at the Childcare, where I could limp it fifty feet to where it stalled, nicely parked. And when did this happen? Exactly thirty seconds after I used it to jump start the Jeep, which had been parked so long it took twenty minutes to get going, for it’s engine turned over like it’s oil was a thick sludge of coagulated molasses. (A member of my staff told me the Subaru died of a broken heart, as I had jilted it for a Jeep.)

At this point I figured I’d made it through the long haul, and could take some time off, but just then a member of my staff called, and I had to cover for them.

Abruptly I found myself going on an unexpected hike. I figured I’d take it slow, and just sort of amble along, but the boys had regained their energy over the weekend. Also there was in places a crust which could support a 40 pound child, but couldn’t support a 155 pound old man. As we crossed a lake where all the powder snow had blown off the crust they scampered about as I had to “break trail”. Worst was they gave me a hard time about huffing and puffing. (I may be old, but I still have a young man’s ego.)

After we had crossed the lake we reached some cattails they boys wanted to cross, but I suggested we follow the nicely packed path made by a snowmobile in a different direction. The boys strenuously objected, so I patiently explained that when all the powder snow blows off a lake, it has to go somewhere, and where it winds up is in the cattails. The snow would be deep. The boys all exclaimed, “Awesome! Let’s do it!” I explained I was huffing and puffing already, and needed an easier trail, but they had no mercy on an old man. So finally I agreed, but I told them I wouldn’t “break trail” for them. They had to “break trail” for me. This sounded reasonable to them, so off we went through the cattails.

I was hoping they might learn deep snow gets tiring, but instead of teaching them they taught me. Two things. First, after sitting around playing video games all weekend boys have energy that is boundless. Second, boys don’t “break trail” very well. After twenty minutes I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time: Panic. I was drenched in sweat despite the chill, and wondering if I might die out there, which would be a very irresponsible thing for a child-care-provider to do. I did make it back alive, with old legs that felt like noodles, but it had started to snow lightly, and they’d changed the forecast from “a coating” of snow to “2-4 inches”.

It was 4 inches, so at the crack of dawn yesterday I was snow-blowing, and promptly broke three sheer-pins on a cobblestone which a car had somehow dislodged in the drive. As I replaced them, naked hands ruby red in the snow, I failed to count my blessings in the recommended manner, and in fact God heard me question the way He created creation. Not that I could do a better job creating the universe, but I had a few recommendations.

I limped home after that, and pretty much spent the rest of the day eating, napping, doing laundry, and sulking. I must have looked pretty sorry for myself when my wife came home from her shift at the Childcare, for she stated I needed to listen to a very sad song. “When You Meet Jesus Please Tell Him To Call Me Home.” Something about the twinkle in her eye hinted it would make me feel better, and I have to confess, at the risk of insulting a very sincere artist, it did make me laugh.

This morning the forecast was for a sunny day with temperatures well above freezing, and I took the dog out at dawn without my jacket on. Bingo. Sonnet time.

Without clouds to light, quite nondescript,
Clean sunrise peeks over the still, washed pines
And gets down to business. Today’s equipped
With light without frills, wholesome light which shines
Without rosy hues; even the roused crows
Seem less raucous: Stroking the silence
With purposeful wings, a black quartet goes
Someplace they and God only knows, from whence
Comes a call. Meanwhile, flitting and peeping
The small birds emerge from where they were hid
From killing winds, and songs that were sleeping
In the cold undo work that winter did
That sought to keep all the music controlled
In chains, that now melt in an ending of cold.

Not that the long haul is over. Some of our biggest storms occur in March. Thee Blizzard Of 1888 gave this area three feet of snow in sixty mph winds on March 17. And this morning I noticed the local road crews weren’t lowering their guard, waiting for the snow to simply melt away.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Feeder Bands–

I find it refreshing to go to the Pole in the summer, when the weather is hot, but even in the winter it is refreshing because it does what it does without any duplicity, skullduggery, hypocrisy or fraud. I study Washington D.C., if I want to study falsehood. When I want to get away from all that, I study the sky, or sea-ice at the Pole, where things are kept pure and, if not simple, honest.

Of course, it is a falsity believed by the false that they can exist independently of the Truth. We are all knitted of the same fabric and all subject to the same laws, and one interest I have in the false is how it (or they) must eventually face Truth, in the form of repercussions and consequences. Every action has a reaction; this is the Law.

The false tend to have a vague sense of guilt, which they try hard to ignore. The whisperings of their conscience are rebuked, and retreat to their subconscious, but they still remain effected. The effect seems to take the form of clutching at straws, hoping cure-alls will fill the void within, and will end their guilty sense of incompleteness, born of separation from the Truth.

The straws they clutch at often take the form of downright silly virtue-signaling, which they imagine will win them love and honor despite their separation from Truth. For example, if they feel guilty about destroying the planet with Global Warming, they buy curly lightbulbs, or if they feel guilty about their germs making others sick, they wear useless masks. None of this deals with the real cause of their guilt, deep in their subconscious, but it gives them a snide and cheap sense of superiority, without the bother of facing Truth. This is sad, for Truth is healing and, at its core, Love, but the false would rather be sick.

Some who have no belief in Truth or God still have the belief they can effect the repercussions and consequences of their actions. While they laugh at people who pray for rain, they buy curly lightbulbs to control the weather. While they scoff at throwing virgins into volcanoes, because a priest says it will make a drought end, they will buy an electric car, because a priest in a white coat says it will stop storms. They claim they are not superstitious, and rather are scientific, because “the science says so”, but they never deeply look into the science themselves.

If you deeply look into “the science” you are studying the Truth, and soon learn that, just as some priests are godless perverts, some scientists are science-less, and far more interested in grants and fame than Truth.

For nearly two decades I’ve debated the ins and outs of Global Warming, and seen lots of idiocy, but also that the Truth is a wonder and marvel, and proceeds regardless of the proclamations of politicians and their priests in white coats, the political scientists. (There is a joke that states, “What do you get when you mix science and politics? Answer: Politics.”)

The simple fact of the matter that the slight warming we have seen over the past forty years is largely due to changes in sea-surface temperatures, and not due to CO2. The sea-surface temperatures are largely caused by “cycles” we can track back through time, and know existed before the use of fossil fuels became widespread. Even though temperatures are up over where they were during the “ice age scare” of the 1970’s, that can be explained by the cycles of the AMO and PDO. In fact, currently a cold La Nina has wiped out a lot of the warming, and world temperatures are more than a tenth of a degree colder than they were during the warm El Nino of 1988. See any headlines about how it is now colder than in 1988?

The major part of the warming we have seen has occurred at the Pole, and is caused by incursions of moisture. It does not take much moisture to cause a fog at the Pole. We see this ourselves during the winter, when we can see our breath, which we cannot see during the summer. Our breath is no moister at winter, but a little puff of fog forms when we breath out. And, when that fog forms, the latent heat in water vapor is released, and more latent heat is released if the fog turns to ice-fog. This is a reason temperatures tend to stop dropping and plateau when fog forms. At the Pole, if you import Pacific or Atlantic moisture, (caused in part by warmer sea-surface temperatures), temperatures can shoot upwards as much as seventy degrees, on one occasion from -40 to +32. (Fahrenheit). This has a huge effect on “Average World Temperatures”, which is all out of proportion to the actual nature of the event.

We just saw an example of this, which is interesting in all that it demonstrates. The spike in the DMI polar-temperature graph was impressive.

But we had a similar spike last year, and it was immediately followed by a crash to below normal temperatures.

This demonstrates all that warmth brought up to the Pole is warmth the planet is losing. All the work that went into turning the water into vapor in the tropics is released at the Pole, and lost to outer space, as the water itself falls as light snow or a rime of ice-fog.

The mechanics of what brought the moisture north are interesting. The east sides of a series of Iceland lows pumped Atlantic moisture north, and then the moisture continued north, to take the place of the enormous, departing mass of arctic air which recently shocked Texas, and currently (greatly moderated) is pushing a cold front over Cuba and the balmy Caribbean. In other words, when it gets “warmer” (minus fifteen) at the Pole folk can be shivering further south.

The plume of milder and moister air forms what I call a “feeder band” and tends to create a “Ralph” (anomolous area of low pressure) over the Pole. The feeder band, though starting to diffuse, is still obvious in the DMI isotherm map of the Pole.

The weakening “Ralph” (there were actually two, which have now weakened to one) is north of the Canadian Archipelago, and forms a pump working in tandem with the high pressure over the Eurasian side.

The isobars demonstrate two factors which effect sea-ice. First, a wrong-way flow is in Fram Strait and over the Transpolar Drift, inhibiting the exit of sea-ice down the coast of Greenland and keeping the sea-ice in the Central Arctic. Second, the sea-ice flowing down the east side of Greenland, which briefly touched Iceland, has been crushed west against the coast by east winds north of the Icelandic Gales, dramatically lowering the area of sea covered by ice, and, despite increases elsewhere, causing a dip in the “extent” graph.

So, besides crowing about the spike in temperatures at the Pole, I suppose Alarmists can crow about a dip in “extent”. However the dip in extent doesn’t mean ice has actually melted; rather that the sea-ice is more compressed. This is demonstrated by the “volume” graph, which shows no dip whatsoever, and has passed 2020 and 2017 in the past month.

The “extent” graph becomes very fickle over the next few weeks, as it involves a lot of sea-ice that has a fleeting existence further south. I will watch Barents Sea carefully, because it whispers hints about how cold the North Atlantic is. If it briefly skims with ice we could see another upward spike, but if not we could have already seen our maximum extent, early this year. But notice that the “volume” goes on increasing until mid April.

I will also be carefully watching the “S” of thick sea-ice in the Central Arctic. It seems to be making no progress towards Fram Strait, and even to be budged the wrong way at times. For a while the isobars between the low towards Canada and the high towards Eurasia were quite tight, indicating strong winds were compressing the sea-ice. If the sea-ice builds in the Central Arctic the summer extent could be higher.

There has been a big difference in the movement of sea-ice in the Laptev Sea this year. It hasn’t been exported north, and fast-ice has formed along shores that saw polynyas last year. When the sea-ice moves it moves west in east winds. Notice the polynyas on the west side of the islands on the east side of Kara Sea. The Northeast Passage will see more sea-ice this year, and Russian icebreakers will be busier, unless things change in March.

Stay Tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Capitalist Pig Current–

It is odd to think of the Arctic Ocean as a radiator, but in the heart of winter it actually is warmer than the surrounding land. Despite the fact the sea is entirely ice-covered, the water under the ice is a balmy 28.5° Fahrenheit, (-1.7° Celsius) and that heat is constantly being lost upwards through the ice, as is shown by the fact sea-ice is constantly thickening at the bottom, as heat is sucked away from the water. The surface of the sea-ice may be far colder, exposed as it is to months of dark arctic night, but the sea-ice surface is appreciably warmer than the snow surface of land areas even a mile away. The surface of the sea-ice seldom dips to -40° while the surface of the snow in Siberia can reach -90°. Consequently the cold, dense air inland tends to flow out over the sea-ice, which tends to have warmer, rising air, especially in the autumn when the water may still be open or the “baby ice” is quite thin, and especially near the coasts where the contrast is most dramatic. Also it is often noticeable, when cross-polar-flow develops, that the air passing over the Pole warms, if it starts below -40°. On the other hand air from the Atlantic or Pacific, which starts far warmer, is cooled quite dramatically, as it moves over the Pole.

When the Atlantic or Pacific air is chilled, it tends to sink and press down and form high pressure, whereas when bone-chilling arctic air pours off the tundra it tends to warm and rise, creating low pressure, (which I call a “Ralph”).

There are of course other factors, one of which is a stratospheric warming event, such as we had a month ago, which causes the warmed stratosphere to expand, bulging the atomsphere downwards and bringing about high pressure at the surface.

This winter has seen a lot of high pressure at the Pole, with only a few invasions of milder air from the Atlantic swirling north and creating a “Ralph”. Initially the high pressure seemed attracted to the thick ice on the Canadian side, whereas low pressure was attracted to the “unprecedented” open water of the Siberian side, which swiftly became “unprecedented” baby-ice, and now is more than three feet thick and in places thicker, which seems to have caused the high pressure to become more centered. Currently the high is is quite strong, perhaps assisted by the Stratospheric Warming Event, and it seems to have crushed the latest attempt at a Ralph, which is a barely noticeable area of low pressure between Greenland and Svalbard.

A week ago the high was centered more towards East Siberia and Bering aStrait, and the low pressure at the edge of the map at 65° longitude was up at the southern edge of the Kara Sea, and the pressure gradient between the low and high created a wonderful cross-polar-flow which sucked vast amounts of frigid Siberian air across the pole to Canada. This had three interesting effects.

First, this crossed the Transpolar Drift at a right angle, in effect interrupting that drift and replacing it with the Capitalist Pig Drift (I just named it) which annoyed Russian Scientists in the 1950’s by pulling their ice-stations away from Mother Russia and over towards Canada. Not only does this differing drift tend to keep ice from being flushed down through Fram Strait, (decreasing sea-ice off the east coast of Greenland, but preserving sea-ice in the Central Arctic), but it also likely disturbs the water under the ice by creating a “turbulence” the MOSAiC expedition discovered, (or at least documented).

It was assumed the waters beneath the ice were relatively still, because they were protected from the wind by the sea ice. The Transpolar drift would flow slow, quiet and steady. To a degree this may occur when the ice moves the same way as the current, but when the ice is blown across the current the situation changes, for each pressure ridge has a “keel”. Because nine tenths of a berg is underwater, a modest pressure ridge six feet tall may have a keel thrusting down 54 feet, and a whopper of a pressure ridge thirty feet tall may have a keel sticking down 270 feet, (which provided good hiding places for Cold War submarines.) These keels also act like the blades of big spoons, sticking down into the current, and, when they stir across the current, causing considerable mixing or “turbulence.” The stratification of the Arctic sea into various layers of differing temperature and salinity can therefore be perturbed by a shift in the direction of the sea-ice above. (I’ll leave it up to more brilliant minds to figure out what the changes may or may not be, but I have noted increased melting when the protective cold fresh-water-lens was destroyed by a summer gale in 2012, yet this same mixing apparently chilled the warmer, saltier water under the lens, so it was too cold to cause similar melting when a similar gale happened in 2013.)

Second, blowing sea-ice towards Canada rather than down towards Fram Strait will pile sea-ice more thickly towards Canada, even as the baby-ice towards Siberia will be frozen thicker by the extremely cold air pouring off Siberia. However it should be noted that the Capitalist Pig Drift is not as strong as last year, when more sea-ice was shifted, and impressive polynyas of open water appeared along the Siberian coast. This year the polynyas are less impressive, and along parts of the coast a sort of fast-ice seems to be attaching itself to the shores. If this persists there will be far more sea-ice on the Siberian side at the start of the melt season, and it will be less likely we’ll see such impressive areas of open water on the Siberian side, next September. (The Laptev Sea usually contributes large amounts of sea-ice to the Central Arctic, as a sort of “export”, but unless things change, this year will see their exports be less.)

Third, the cross polar flow may warm the Siberian side to some degree, as the exported air is replaced by moderated North Pacific air, but the Canadian side gets colder. Canada does not appreciate this. They are quite able to generate cold air on their own, thank you very much, and need no help from the Russians.

The completely snow-covered tundra and taiga of Canada is able to chill even Pacific air to a degree where it is below freezing when it reaches the USA, and can contribute to an American snowstorm. However when Canada starts out with Siberian air, (even Siberian air “warmed up” to -30° by a passage over the Arctic Ocean), it can chill the air further, and give the USA some of its fiercest cold waves. We are quite likely to see this occur during the next two weeks.

These cross-polar-flows can grow nasty when they lock in and persist. For example, during the winter of 1976-1977 a flow from East Siberia over the top of Bering Strait and into Eastern Alaska persisted from November until February, giving me one of the coldest winters I can remember, and impressive sea-ice along the coast of Maine, where I lived back then. This year will hopefully not be so lasting, for the high pressure has shifted in a manner that now seems to be directing the Siberian air west towards northern Europe, and giving London snow. It will be interesting to watch for a growth of Sea-ice in Barents Sea north of Scandinavia. But, even with the cold redirected, the damage has been done in Canada already; the arctic is loaded for bear and ready to attack us poor mortals to the south.

What interests me most about the Capitalist Pig Drift is that it may be indicative of a change between a time sea-ice decreases in the Arctic to a time sea-ice increases. For example, the red “S” of thick sea-ice in the central arctic in the map below is a new feature, created by exported Laptev Sea sea-ice and the Capitalist Pig Drift. I’m watching it carefully, and so far it has shown little inclination to ride the Transpolar Drift down to Fram Strait, as textbooks say it should.

Also note the sea-ice off east Greenland has been compressed west towards the coast. It nearly reached Iceland a few weeks ago. That should decrease the “extent” graph, but the graph shows we are actually ahead of some recent years.

The La Nina shows some signs of weakening towards the coast of Peru, but still is strong. The northmost Pacific has cooled a lot, which we should watch, for that will effect the sea-ice melt in Bering Strait. Odd to me is the warm blob east of New Zealand. Joseph D’Aleo over at Weatherbell suggested it may be caused by deep-sea lava flows. I simply note it, and wonder what effect it might have; any anomaly like that is an action which demands a reaction.

Temperatures world-wide have taken a dive, likely due to the La Nina.

My guess is that we’ll see plenty of sea-ice all summer. No ice-free arctic, this year. And next September will see more sea-ice than last September.

Stay tuned.


He grew angry at inequality
Among snowflakes. How dare they be unique?
And fingerprints? He growled they should be
Outlawed. God should not be allowed to speak
For it’s unfair if all are not the same.
How dare a Mozart be born? In his hate
He saw your gifts as a reason for blame.
To the Gulag with you! Reeducate!
He felt you should not identify
As even girl or boy. One bland perversion
Should erase the beautiful, child-making sigh
Of sex, for blandness will make us all one.
God held His tongue, until even the sky
Grew fed up, and threw down its shining spears
And watered heaven with its tears.

LOCAL VIEW –Snowstorm–

“Snow”, in local jargon, is not cocaine, but the rough equivalent of what a con-artist tells you. A ruder word might be “Bullshit”. A false report, given in an attempt to influence you with trickery, is described as a “Snow Job.”

In the eyes of many ordinary local folk, the last election was not merely a “Snow-job” but a “Snowstorm”. They do not believe the “Fake News”. They honestly and sincerely believe Donald Trump was reelected. His victory was stolen by corrupt thieves of the Deep State, AKA “The Swamp”, who now are trying to pretend we can get back to life as usual.

Apparently we can’t. For example, here is one thing I have never seen before: It is February, and the election was back in November, yet in my neighborhood the Trump election banners have not been taken down. Every time I pass one, fluttering in the wind, I know things are not getting “back to life as usual.”

People keep sending me “links” which have been apparently been banned by YouTube and Twitter and Facebook, which suggest that many are not buying the “Snow-job.” A storm is brewing. A “Snowstorm”.

Apparently there is a part of American Society, the part which voted for Donald Trump, which feels violated. Raped. What’s more, they actually feel they are the majority.

Even if you are a minority it is hard to take being violated. When the Sioux were minding their own business in their own homeland, and a vast majority of American settlers overran their land from the east, they nobly fought to save their homeland, defeating Custer at “Custer’s Last Stand,” but in the end they faced the grim fact that for every one of them there were a thousand settlers. But they didn’t feel their cause was made less righteous. They felt someone, somewhere, must see they were right, and turned to the supernatural for help. They danced the “Ghost Dances”, asking ancestors to return from the dead and save them. You might think such a request was silly. But it scared the US Cavalry silly. The troops were scared to such a degree they decided they had better shoot people for dancing. Shoot people for dancing? Yes, it did happen, and even Sitting Bull, who defeated Custer, received a bullet.

I’m nervous because in a sense I see history repeating itself. Trump supporters are largely righteous people minding their own business, but stand in the way of what “The Swamp” sees as a “New Manifest Destiny”, which they call “Globalism.” Just as the Sioux were once seen as being “in the way” of progress, so too are Trump Supporters seen as being “in the way” of Globalism. However Trump Supporters are not a tribe of a few tens of hundreds, but may even be the majority of Americans, (if election results are as fraudulent as some suggest.) If Trump Supporters start doing their own version of a Ghost Dance, “The Swamp” may not have enough bullets to stop the dancing. Or, if they do, it would be a bloodbath of such proportions that they and their kin would be forever stained and cursed (if they are not already). In any case, what is developing is not “getting back to life as usual.”

Could the Sioux pretend it was “life as usual” when invaders made the millions of Buffalo, which they depended on, lie in slaughtered, festering heaps and nearly become extinct? No. In like manner many Trump supporters feel backed into a similar quandary. There is no “life as usual” allowed in “progressive” thought, which wants to tear down statues and replace pillars of sensible thought with nincompoops. Consequently some Trump Supporters are suggesting things which Facebook and Twitter and YouTube feel you should not hear. They are suggesting a sort of Ghost Dance of tens of millions.

I may be a poet, but a hard life has forced me to be realistic. I like the idea of the pen being mightier than the sword, and the mere words of a sermon stopping an army, but my poems haven’t stopped a flea. There are times poetry simply will not wash the dishes, and I have to face the suds. The school of hard knocks has taught me to just be pragmatic, and face whatever assignment God has given me, even if it is not the assignment of writing poetry, (which I prefer).

Every poet born has wishes
That his muses did the dishes.

I am therefore a hardened poet, toughened by time. I’m no longer mooching off my Mom and living in her basement (as I once did, fifty years ago,) but rather am a person made unlike the so-called “Elite” of the so-called “Swamp”. The Elite seem to feel they have the power to tell others to wash dishes while never washing their own.

What weaklings the Elite must be, in my mind’s eye, when they can’t even wash their own dishes, or their own clothes for that matter, or heat their own homes with an ax and tree, or feed their own bodies with seeds, hoe and garden. To me the effete Elite seem like either babes, or ninety-year-olds, incapable of being self-reliant. Their Mom is the taxpayer, and Washington DC is her basement.

Some of the Elite seem to think power means becoming more and more incapable. They become more and more dependent on the very people they scorn. Not even a heroin addict scorns the heroin he is dependent on, and not even the cruelest old-time capitalist would completely destroy the very miners that created his profit, but the Elite have taken hypocrisy to a whole new level.

I used to be a little grumpy towards God for never giving me a one-hit-wonder, but now I understand it was a blessing. If I’d made a brief fortune I might have become like the Elite, addicted to something which time has taught me I don’t really need.

It is because even an airheaded poet like me was forced by the school of hard knocks to become sensible and self reliant that I feel nervous when I start to see not only the Elite completely losing touch with the so-called “base”, but also other sensible and self reliant people, the so-called “base”, begin Ghost Dancing.

My view is that such dancers tried the ordinary route, which they felt was to vote for Trump, yet, even when they won, they lost. It makes no sense, So they turn to what is in some eyes not sensible: Dancing. Or, perhaps, prayer. When the world stops making sense, people turn to the supernatural for help.

At this point I, as a hardened poet, will surprise some by saying the supernatural does respond. However, where people expect flashy “signs” and miracles, the supernatural prefers to use the natural.

Why should the Creator alter the rules of His creation? Are you suggesting He is a bad Creator? (If so, then, while bossing Him about, do not fail to inform Him I still could enjoy a one-hit-wonder, even at my advanced age.)

Not that our Maker can’t do whatever he wants. He can part the Red Sea. However 99.99% of the time, it seems to me, He uses the magnificent laws he already has in place, laws that made what awes us: The Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, or our first child, newly born.

Life itself is a miracle, if you are a poet and have eyes turned towards seeing how fucking beautiful a sunrise is, even as you reluctantly drive to work at some job you find it difficult to feel grateful for. Just the way every action has a reaction is a miracle. At the time we fail to see the humor and beauty, but afterwards we laugh at even hitting our thumb with a hammer. Vietnam is more difficult, but up in heaven the Viet Cong chuckle with Americans who died at eighteen; they get the joke.

The joke is that life was not intended to be as bad we make it be. We make our own misery. We are hitting our own thumbs with our own hammers, and the very worst at doing this, it seems to me, are the denizens of the so-called Swamp. They have surpassed a tipping point and now careen downwards like an overloaded truck with no brakes.

It is said by people who nearly died of thirst in a desert that, just before rescue arrived, they became so crazed they attempted to drink the dryness, filling their mouths with the very hot sand that was parching them. In a sense this is what the Swamp now does, clutching at and clinging to the very lusts, greeds and hatreds that poisoned them. They are past saving themselves; their rescuer must come from outside.

And in a sense this is what Donald Trump represented, an outsider with a different approach. But, just as a drowning man can drag down the lifeguard attempting to save him, in his insane, thrashing desperation, the Swamp did everything in its power to destroy its rescuer. But darkness cannot put out a candle.

The Light that Donald Trump represented is much greater than any mortal man; Donald Trump represented the heart of America, a goodness and kindness that amazed onlookers at his rallies, when the happy crowd chanted unheard-of slogans such as, “We love you.” This Light is not made by Donald Trump or any other mortal; at our best we merely reflect It. Yet this Light is a great healer and unifier, for it is the almighty power of Love, which unifies all of us, rich and poor alike, as a single body, indivisible.

The Swamp has lost sight of this Light. It distrusts the very idea of unselfishness. It prefers an inequality of Haves vs. Have-nots, Winners vs. Losers, Power vs. Weakness, and prefers the schisms of divorce to the unity of marriage. Yet the tighter it tries to grip the darkness the more it is losing its grip. Darkness may be inside a closed fist, but when you open your hand to see what you hold there is no darkness in your palm. All the Swamp truly holds is a shadow.

An element of desperation is creeping into Washington; they seem to feel surrounded, and erect barriers topped with razor wire to keep the light away from their precious shadows, yet they sense they are outnumbered by dancers they cannot defeat any more than the Grinch could steal Christmas. It is a last stand of shadows against a swirling snowstorm of light.

One great thing Trump did was to simply walk away from Washington. I expected more of a fight, but in a sense the fight was already won. Shadow was exposed as shadow, and he left the foul to stew in their own juices. Increasingly Washington will recognize its power is a shadow; it cannot control the weather, nor even the common cold. Then, perhaps, it’s eyes will lift to That which does create and control, preserve and sustain, and see it is surrounded by a blizzard of goodness.

Stay tuned.


The lion does not sleep tonight, but I
Have a bright fire lit in the roaring darkness,
And the beast does not dare approach. The sky
Clears and fills with stars. Awesome heavens bless
My warming child. My fire’s softer roaring
Silences the beast’s, though my orange sparks
Can’t reach the blue stars. I watch the sparks soaring,
The lower dancing with higher. The dark’s
Made safe, though I lack the rippling power:
The claws like meat hooks and the dagger teeth.
It is as if I fight back with a flower.
The powers on high help the weak beneath
For the darkness quails at candles of love.
This fire we warm by’s a gift from Above.