I’ve seen the dawning of another spring;
The wearing out of winter; The surprise.
I should know by now: Frogs and birds will sing.
How do I grow ignorant? My old eyes
Gaze fondly on an old friend I forgot,
But how can I forget such a lover?
I think it is the newness; the sweet thought
That freshness is something you discover;
It’s ongoing. If you clutch it you fail.
Growing can’t stand still. I must get out;
Be part of greening. Indoors has grown stale.
Winter needs refuge: Walls that are stout
And warm fires, but walls become prison;
I must bust out and be newly risen.  


Please do not think I am shaming or blaming
The painters who seek to capture green gold,
But spring is a picture no framing 
Can capture; a rapture no painter's controlled.
I go to my garden to plan for my harvest;
Make ready for winter and woes
But my heart is singing. Such songs are best
Heard in a garden which no mortal grows.
I walk past my garden and head for the trees
To watch silver twiggyness fade
In a haze of hues that softly tease
The sunshine to growing some shade.
Paint me in this picture? The painter will claim
He saw me stroll past the edge of his frame.

Phatty Burgers –Part 3– The Appraisal

(NOTE: I changed the name of this rough draft to “Phatty Burgers” because I learned “Fatty Burgers” had already been used.)

After three weeks, I finally was going to get a day off. Phatty Burgers was closing down for Thanksgiving, which I gathered the Navajo called “Little Christmas.” I was surprised by how the city of Gallup emptied out and shut down, the day before.

In 1984 the day before Thanksgiving in Gallup wasn’t like Christmas Eve was in other places, where businesses might hope to snare some frantic, last-minute shoppers. The only thing anyone shopped for was food, and, while the lone Gallup supermarket stayed open into the afternoon, everyone else looked like they were hurrying to close after breakfast. Even when I drove from the campground into work before lunch I seemed to be the only car inbound on the dusty frontage road through the sagebrush, while there seemed to be an unnatural amount of cars leaving Gallup. Through windshields I saw smiling faces with dreamy eyes, as people left town for some gathering outside the city limits; even most bars in Gallup were closing.

This gave me something to ponder. As a Mutt-with-Puritan-heritage I’d always thought of Thanksgiving as a Puritan holiday.  Naively I thought it was only big in New England, or among transplants from the northeast. In fact, I’d assumed Indians would resent Thanksgiving, (thinking they’d gotten the raw end of the deal), but apparently around Gallup they’d embraced the day and made it their own, in a way I didn’t understand.

I’d become increasingly aware (with the help of Splendor) there was lots I didn’t understand and was ignorant of, but I didn’t have as much time to ponder as I would have liked, for two reasons. The first was that Fatty Burger’s manner of training ran me ragged. The second was that on the day before Thanksgiving Quincy Phlabutt grew cross, as the “efficiency number” produced by the cash register dropped from four to three after breakfast, even when Quincy put nearly all the employees on unpaid breaks. The public apparently wasn’t interested in fast food, just before a feast. When the “efficiency number” dropped below three Quincy began sending everyone home. The workers were happy, as they wanted to begin their festivities, but it didn’t please me much; it meant I had to do a lot of the clean-up alone, after we closed when no lunch rush developed at noon. (Quincy had become extremely crabby when the “efficiency number” hit zero).  But I attempted to look cheerful, for I knew the district manager Ike Weed was dropping by, and I’d undergo my “appraisal” after work. (“Appraisal” was the word Fatty Burgers used to describe whether they’d give me the boot or not.) I was fairly certain Quincy would bring up much I “needed to improve upon”, and I didn’t want to give him any extra ammunition, by being a sourpuss.

I wasn’t as worried about the appraisal as much as I was worried about whether I’d be able to get my paycheck cashed.  Phatty Burgers policy made employees wait for nearly a week before a check was issued for a prior fortnight’s “pay period”.  Consequently, it was possible to work a fortnight and then wait nearly a week, nearly three weeks in all, before seeing a penny. Fortunately, when I began working I’d worked three days of an earlier pay-period, and, (though I got no overtime despite working ten hour days), I still got a check for $135.00, minus $15.00 the government raked off for taxes. I had to wait a week for that $120.00, but a $50.00 advance from Ike Weed enabled me to eek by. Then I eeked by a further two weeks on $120.00, waiting for my big, fat paycheck to come rolling in. It was going to be nearly $600.00, (after taxes) with all the overtime I’d worked.

Getting by on what amounted to roughly $57.00 a week hadn’t been easy, especially as Raydoe remained absent and I had to pay the $25.00/week rent on his trailer at the campground. I practically lived on Triple Big Burgers, (as managers ate for free at Phatty Burgers) (but not other employees; other employees only got a 10% discount.)

If it were not for the free food, I could never have afforded the $40.00 I spent, returning to the gas station at the edge of town where I’d briefly worked, and having them weld my muffler back onto the tailpipe, one morning before work. That was as close as I came to splurging for 21 days. Cigarettes had been few and far between, but, even with rationing, my addiction had reduced me to removing the butts from my car’s stuffed ashtray and rerolling the rank tobacco. 

The three weeks had been rough, but poverty had its benefits. Not only did I smoke less, but I had to stay sober. Also I could barely afford the gasoline to drive to the campground and back each day, and therefore couldn’t drive to the ranch to see my ex, who I still wanted to make my exex. I was such a fool that I still thought of my pay as “our” money. My last decent paycheck, when I worked helping a lumberyard conduct its inventory, had enabled me to spend eighty dollars on new boots to replace my disintegrating sneakers, and I then drove to the ranch and gave my ex another eighty, so she could buy boots, because her sneakers had completely disintegrated and she was walking about barefoot. But for the past three weeks I couldn’t be a noble fool like that. My life was stuck on hold, on a treadmill of ten-hour shifts, day after day. The prospect of having hundreds in cash to ruffle in my hands was wonderful, but a problem lay in the way. Who would cash my check?

Even cashing the earlier $120.00 check had been a problem. The bank wanted to charge me $10.00, which sent me fuming out the door with the check uncashed. Quincy had agreed to cash that check from a Phatty Burgers register, but he balked at this far larger check. He said I’d have to ask Ike Weed.

I was actually, in some ways, hoping I flunked the “appraisal.” I wasn’t hoping to a degree where I stopped trying or sabotaged anything; I still tried to be a good trainee. But getting the boot would in some way have been a relief, as long as I got my check cashed. I could have gone back to writing poetry and working on my novel. At times pretending I was a management trainee and not a poet felt like I was a sheep in wolf’s clothing. But I had no time to ponder. I hadn’t written a poem in three weeks.

And now I was rushing about dealing with Quincy’s anxiety about Ike’s imminent arrival. Everything had to be perfect, and Quincy kept glancing searchingly through the front window, as if seeking the sight of Ike’s car pulling into the parking lot. The reason Quincy sent everyone home was apparently because he wanted the Wednesday’s “efficiency number” to look good for Ike, but that left him with no employees to make the place look spiffy for Ike, and therefore he harangued me. I was overworked to begin with, and very tempted to tell Quincy not to be such a pathetic brown-nose, but also felt a sort of pity, so I hurried about attempting to make everything spiffy, though I wanted to be a true manager and sit back with my arms folded in a commanding manner like Quincy did.

I nearly snapped when Quincy sent me out to chase down wrappers blowing about the parking lot and put them in the trash, as that was a job for the lowest of the low, but I also have always loved the outdoors, and I also relished the escape from Quincy’s haranguing. The lot was already clean, as we had few customers, but I policed the grounds, looking for the smallest bottlecap or cigarette, and it was while stooping to pick up an especially long, only half-smoked cigarette (which I frugally thought might be worth keeping) that I saw Ike.

Ike had parked by the Supermarket and was attempting to sneak up to the Phatty Burgers back door. I assumed he was sneaking to observe how we ran the place when we didn’t know he was watching. But I knew. I knew because Ike Weed had a jaunty and marvelous manner of walking, and sneaking only exaggerated his walk and made it into a walk like no other’s.

When most sneak they crouch forward and bring their hands up in front, like kangaroos, but Ike couldn’t do that, for his ordinary manner of walking was duck-toed and leaning backwards. Therefore, as he snuck, he actually leaned backwards even further, feeling forward with his feet with each step, as his arms pistoned simultaneously downwards behind him. It looked remarkable, and could be no one but Ike, but I pretended I didn’t notice. I adopted a stern, concentrating expression, as if cleaning parking lots mattered more than two beautiful women walking by. In fact I put on a performance, first glowering left and then frowning with a furrowed brow to the right, and then nodded to myself as if feeling approval, before I hurried in to warn Quincy.

Quincy was in no mood to be warned. He wouldn’t listen. He had noticed I hadn’t policed the far end of the parking lot and began to berate me for my neglect. I tried to interrupt, but he wouldn’t allow it, and then I saw the door behind him crack open.

I immediately changed my tone, and stated, with such brash intrusiveness Quincy was taken aback, “Of course you are absolutely correct. I had assumed I need not check that trash receptacle because the new one you ordered hadn’t arrived yet, after the local teenagers blew the last one to smithereens with cherry bombs and M-80’s. But you are quite right:  I should have checked.”

Quincy closed his astonished mouth, swallowed, nodded, and then, rather than just telling me to go back out and check, began to deliver a prissy lecture about how the public is so stupid they will throw trash into a space where a receptacle isn’t. I felt he should be interrupted, so I said, with an expression of gladness, “Hey! Who is that? It must be Mister Ike Weed!”

Quincy wheeled with his jet-black hair flying, and staggered backwards, his bronze face turning gray, as the door swung open and Ike walked forward in his jaunty, duck-toed, manner, smiling broadly, to conduct my “appraisal.”

It seemed a very odd appraisal. Quincy kept aiming the subject towards things I “needed to improve upon”, but over and over things exploded in his face, and turned into things Quincy needed to improve upon. I accidentally made things worse for Quincy by, early in the appraisal, mentioning I urgently needed my paycheck cashed and that the banks were all closed. This revealed the size of my paycheck, and the fact I’d worked ten hour days seven days a week for three weeks, which made Ike raise his eyebrows at Quincy.

The entire interview was conducted in a hurry because Ike wanted to go to his Thanksgiving, which was apparently going to be held in Las Vegas. He had three more Phatty Burgers to inspect, before he turned south at Flagstaff to zoom south to his holiday, and therefore every shortcoming he uncovered was a delay, and made him more impatient with Quincy than he needed to be.

His questioning revealed I had worked three shifts, over and over, but had never worked the shift that was most important. I had worked the lunch, dinner and closing shift, but not the breakfast shift. The breakfast shift was important because that was what I was going to be transferred to, across town.

This was all news to me. I wasn’t even sure I’d be accepted, as a trainee, and was steeling my nerve for the possible blow of learning I was not an acceptable prospect. Quincy kept bringing up my shortcomings, things I needed to improve upon, but over and over Quincy got dressed down for his failures to train me properly. As this continued, I found myself no longer so much the subject of the interview, and more of a bystander. I had the strange sense I had stepped back, and was no longer in the crossfire, but rather was watching two combatants go at it.

Of course, they didn’t know they looked like combatants. They were just two men utterly engrossed in their business, which happened to be Phatty Burgers. They were like baseball fans totally absorbed in batter’s statistics and pitcher’s ERA’s, who so enjoy the game that they aren’t even aware they are arguing as they argue. I was gifted with the detachment of an outsider, vaguely like a housewife who cares not a hoot for baseball.

One thing I noticed was how quickly Ike cut Quincy down to size. At first Quincy was a bit puffed up, seeing himself as an authority about to deliver an opinion, but, as Ike brusquely hurried through his own agenda, he dismissed Quincy’s opinions and wanted only facts. At first Quincy seemed to get defensive, and wheedlingly tried to explain certain things, but when Ike wouldn’t listen and hurried on to the next item on his agenda, Quincy seemed to become offended, and sat up taller and prouder, and even seemed to become slightly frosty. He opened a notebook and coolly took notes, only occasionally asking for a clarification.

Other things bewildered me. They raced through a discussion about a second Phatty Burgers across town, which was apparently just constructed and unbelievably successful. Quincy seemed prepared to start my training for the breakfast shift at that place the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, which caused my guts to lurch, as getting up at 4:00 AM didn’t fit in with my plans to be visiting my ex on a ranch over an hour to the south. But Ike said Quincy had to be present to oversee my training, and Quincy swiftly decided Monday likely would be better. I assumed Quincy wanted to enjoy a long weekend and anticipated getting up at 4:00 AM with an eagerness like my own.

Their hurried discussion made me feel like a pawn between two men playing chess. For the most part I sat back as a detached poet, mentally taking notes on the behavior of two men who had no idea they would someday appear in my novel. Only once was my opinion required, and it sprang upon me abruptly. I responded without thinking, and was sorry I did, for it made Quincy look less than wise yet again.

Ike abruptly turned and asked me what I would do differently if I ran a Phatty Burgers. I spread my palms, looking about, and said, “Most everything looks very good to me, except…maybe…for that.” I pointed at six-foot-high placard advertising “Phatty’s Phabulous Thanksgiving Pheast”, and showing a glossy family sitting down smiling at plates of turkey, green peas, and mashed potatoes with a small, perfectly circular, brown pool of gravy in the middle. I added, “I don’t recall selling a single one of those.”

Ike turned to Quincy and said, “I told you it was a stupid promotion.”

Quincy became more rigid and frosty, and jotted something in his notes.

I laughed, “Oh well, we only ordered twelve of those platters”, and then asked Ike, “Can I grab one of those things? They’re just sitting in the cooler, but I wasn’t sure they were included in the free meals Managers are allowed.’

“You might as well,” Ike sighed, “Otherwise they’ll just rot.”

“Thank you”, I said, which seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving, but the hint of baleful frost in Quincy’s glance towards me seemed less than thankful.

With what seemed to me amazing efficiency and rapidity the interview was over. In terms of what mattered most to me, (the cashing of my paycheck), Ike asked if the day’s deposits could cover the check. Business had been so slow the deposit was only a few dollars larger than the check, a fact Ike noted with a wry shake of his head towards Quincy. Then he opened the deposit bag and counted out the money, handing it to me and taking my check, and telling Quincy to rewrite the deposit slip. I felt a little guilty because I knew Quincy took great care over deposit slips, and also because I knew he wanted to be done and to go home to Thanksgiving. A new slip was extra work. I also felt sorry for Quincy, because Ike never asked for Quincy’s “efficiency numbers.” That might have made Quincy appear more praiseworthy, but he seemed to receive less than little praise from Ike. He received zero. As Ike stood up to depart I notice Quincy’s shoulders sagged slightly.

The cash I suddenly fondled in my hands included many ones and fives and made a beautifully fat wad, making me feel very rich. It included a single large bill, a fifty, and I held it out towards Ike to repay him for the advance he had given me.  He looked a little confused, gave me a sort of scornful glance, snapped his briefcase shut, and left without taking the bill, or even asking why I held it towards him. I felt like I had transgressed in some way, but was baffled about what my transgression might be. Quincy was regarding me suspiciously, as he gathered up the deposit bag and went back to the office to write a new deposit slip. I felt like holding out the fifty might have looked like some sort of bribe, and I wanted to defensively explain to Quincy I was only repaying a loan, but Quincy curtly stated, “You can punch out now”, over his shoulder. Something about his tone suggested I should just leave rapidly, so I grabbed a Phatty’s Phabulous Pheast from the walk-in cooler, and left.

I had a lot to think about, driving through the sagebrush to the campground. What’s more, I actually had some time to think. It was only three in the afternoon on Wednesday, and I didn’t have to work until just before noon on Friday. I had a whole forty-four hours! But I resisted the urge to swing into the one place still open, and buy a six-pack-of beer. Instead, I swung in and bought a carton of cigarettes for my ex, because part of the forty-four hours would involve my heading to the ranch and seeing if my ex had any desire to become an exex. I might have forty-four hours free from Phatty Burgers, but I wasn’t truly free. The lot I had to think about included things beyond Phatty Burgers.

As I pulled into the campground I was struck by how myopic my appraisal had been. It was all Phatty Burgers this and Patty Burgers that; nothing but Phatty Burgers. It seemed an ultimate atheism, as if there was no life after Phatty Burgers.

To me it seemed a strange denial to pretend people were so small, and to call it “businesslike”.  To me it seemed obvious there definitely was life after Phatty Burgers, beginning with the campground I was driving into, and continuing into an uncertain future of attempting make my ex be an exex. To try to see me only in Phatty Burgers terms was like attempting to judge an elephant by its ear.  In like manner, to try to see Ike and Quincy only in Phatty Burger terms was missing what I, as a poet, could see in both characters.

As I switched my tiny Toyota’s engine off in front of Raydoe’s trailer in the campground I had the urge to just sit in my car.  Not that I wanted to think. In fact I missed Raydoe, and the way he never gave me time to think. I missed the way he’d say, “Hey Stupid Gringo, why are you just sitting there?” But Raydoe was gone, and I had time to think.

The campground was wonderfully quiet. The barrage of Blue Northers we’d endured was over, and a calm had descended. Rather than from the North Pole, I think the wind wafted north via the Rio Grande from the Gulf of Mexico. It was milder, calmer, and much moister, though there was not a cloud in the sky. There was also not a tourist in the campground. I had time to think.

The tourists had seemed annoying when I was attempting to work on my novel, not many weeks earlier, because they’d invite themselves to the picknick table where I chain smoked and typed, and pretend they were interested in what I was typing, when they actually wanted to brag how far they’d driven. But now I wouldn’t have minded their interruptions, for I wasn’t sure I wanted to think.

Sometimes thinking was harder than working. Working ten-hour-shifts was relieving, compared to battling the banshees of thought. Thought could make me crazy, but work was therapy, like the basket weaving they make madmen do in mental institutions. I took a deep breath, as I sat in my car. I had survived Phatty Burger’s appraisal of me, but I wasn’t so sure Phatty Burgers was going to survive my appraisal of it.

LOCAL VIEW –Flower Snow–

I’ve waited a long time to play the part, so I sort of like being a grumpy, yet wise, old farmer. Not that I didn’t try it when younger.

One of my favorite stories involves a time I was a younger gardener in 1990, and advised a spring-feverish older and wiser lady (from Virginia) that it might be unwise, even though early-April temperatures set records and hit ninety, to plant tomatoes in April in New Hampshire. A week later she called me in, to serve me hot tea on a heated porch full of hothouse blooms, from where I worked out drenched in her rose garden in a cold rain mixed with wet snow. The kindly old woman bleakly looked out the window as she handed me my wonderful tea, and said three wonderful words: “You were right.”

But that small victory lacked the quality of grumpiness necessary to play the part of an elder. After all, she was my elder. I had to keep my eyebrows up and smile, and not call her a durned fool, and only “suggest” it was unwise to plant tomatoes. It lacked the full joy of unleashed grumpiness.

Old age may limit me in other respects, but it allows me great freedom in terms of grumpiness. It is sort of fun to scare younger people who are in fact bigger and stronger, or even smaller and stronger, but the smallest see right through my grouchiness to the twinkle in my eyes. When I grump they often laugh. At my Childcare I often grumble something like, “Do I look like some sort of couch? My mother didn’t raise me to be a couch!” This doesn’t phase the kids a bit, as they crowd around to view pictures in a book during story-time, pressing in from all sides and even perching on my shoulders like a pirate’s parrots.

I really think it is wrong to expect children to pass any sort of pre-kindergarten “tests”, or to try to grade them and place them on “levels of development”. They are what they are. Many great men were amazingly “slow” in certain respects. Thomas Edison couldn’t talk until he was four. One American president was still illiterate at age twelve. And Winston Churchill never did learn to be respectful. With children aged three I think it is best to simply expose them to lots, and allow them to absorb what absorbs.

My “curriculum”, if it can be called that, is merely whatever strikes me as noteworthy in our landscape, or whatever work I am doing to operate our toy farm. In early April one “subject” of my “curriculum” is the first flowers, which appear on the hardiest trees. Some are just dull colors from a distance, but intricate beauty, up close.

For example, the short, shrub-like willow called “glaucous willow”, (a real pain if it grows near your drains or leech field due to its webbing, clogging roots, but perhaps useful as a substitute for aspirin), has a moment of glory in the early spring when it forms catkins that look like small, gray, furry tail-tips, or perhaps rabbit’s feet, called “pussy willows”. As a small boy in the 1950’s I recall teachers bringing these fur-tipped twigs into classroom as proof winter wouldn’t last forever, in early March (in Massachusetts). However the true beauty and glory often goes unnoticed, and occurs when the male catkins produce their pollen. The beauty is something to sneeze at:

I like to show such things to small children, simply to see if they are the slightest bit fascinated. Some find dinosaurs far more interesting, even though dinosaurs are extinct and pussy willows are not.

OK. Maybe boys aren’t interested in pussy willows. How about the intricate, tiny blooms of swamp maples?

I guess not, in the case of this small boy.

OK then, how about a small girl?

If we were allowed to be scientific any more, we might hypothesize that the above suggests that small girls are different from small boys. However that would be sexist, so I will not suggest such a hypothesis. I certainly will never suggest small girls are superior. Nor will I suggest they are more English than French, for it is the English gentlemen who fussed about flower-gardens and poetry, as the French fussed about wine, women and gluttony (back in Victorian times.) God forbid!

Back in Victorian times the French and English were allowed to differ, without it being seen as proof they were fascists, and hated the bland conformity of Globalism. The English allowed their children to run around naked on beaches even in the 1940’s, which the French found barbaric, as their children wore suits. The French also considered African woman barbaric, and asked African women not to go topless in sweltering African heat, and instead to wear blouses. The Africans complied, but then noticed the French women promptly started going topless on the French Riviera. It is little wonder to me Africans decided enough was enough, and all the French colonies insisted they be allowed to differ, which involved declaring independence at the same time (1960).

Globalists seem to feel all people in all places should march the same way in lockstep, but to me history seems to show nations and states and neighborhoods and families and even individuals are unique and each have a fingerprint unlike any other. God made people different for reasons all His own, and I prefer to avoid challenging God. I’ll make a lousy Globalist. I certainly don’t attempt to make the children at my Childcare walk in lockstep.

In any case, I’ve lived long enough to know the white things that fall in the spring in April in New Hampshire are unlikely to be cherry blossom petals. If I was ridiculous, and demanded all the small children pay attention, and focus on blossoms, blossoms, and nothing but blossoms, they would not have to rebel and declare their independence from blossoms, for the weather would be anti-blossom for them.

At this point the the Globalists will raise a predictable hue and cry about unpredictable weather an old grouch like me predicted. I still have a boyhood diary, (I think from 1964), describing an April snowstorm south of here, just west of Boston. Yet the Fake News states recent snow is proof Global Warming is upon us, (though snow is not warming). If I suggest otherwise, I get banned from Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. Is it any wonder I am grumpy? These young High-tech whippersnappers are suppose to respect their elders, not censor them. But younger kids are kinder. They remembered I grouched we shouldn’t plant tomatoes and should only plant peas. One five-year-old looked at me after the late snow and wondered, “How’d you know it would snow again?” I grouched, “I didn’t know it. Some years it doesn’t. But most years it does.” But it did seem nice that, even if Globalists don’t respect me, a certain five-year-old does.

But the snow was murder to remove from the entrance of the Childcare. Mid April sunshine is as powerful as late August sunshine, when people sunbathe on beaches, and snow turns into slush which is too heavy for snow blowers to handle. I faced resorting to a primitive thing called “a shovel”, because some young mothers have removed their snow tires from their cars and boots from their feet, and arrive in optimistic ankle-high sneakers.

I only shoveled the lead-like snow from a few strategic places, but that was enough to cripple me. I figured it was an opportunity to die with my boots on, but I was unfortunate and didn’t drop dead, and instead lived on to creak groaning from my bed the next day. I was so grumpy I needed an aspirin, coffee, and the cure called “composing”.

I stir first coffee, hoping it will stir
My sense of humor, as I look outside
At a tangerine sunrise and say, “Brr.”
A half-foot of ermine is draped to hide
The slender shoulders of spring. The snow lies
Like white lies. It will fade like last night’s dreams.
The spring birds know it, and fill the dawn’s skies
With an unsnowy chorus. To me it seems
They sing to a One Spring that is lasting.
All else is passing. Nothing gold can stay.
Dawn sinks down to day. Prayer and fasting
Understands we gain by taking away.
These brief April snows are like all our woes:
Shadows that pass as a Lasting Light grows. 

My boyhood diary from 1964 marvels how swiftly the eight inches of snow vanished, with very brief entries: “Sunny, only four inches left;” “Sunny, only two inches left;” and “Warm; snow all gone but a few places.” I hope this legalizes my telling the kids at the Childcare, “It will all be gone in a twinkling”, although I’m sure certain Globalists would disapprove. Officially, in 1964 snow melted swiftly because it was April and the sun was as high as it is in August, but now it melts swiftly due to Carbon Footprints.

Still, as it all melted I found reason to be grumpy. I pity the poor devastated daffodils. They are native to the north shore of the Mediterranean, where they are born to spring up and wave in warm breezes, perpetually perky (until they become perky seedpods).

It is cruel to transplant such southern bulbs to New Hampshire, where they spring up and and are allowed to be perky for a day or two or three or four, before being buried by heavy, wet snow. Year after year the snow melts to reveal devastated Daffodils discouraged and drooping. And this year was no different.

At this point I likely should write a sonnet about how outsiders need to adapt and evolve when they are aliens to the environment they are transplanted into. Englishmen need to adapt to France and Frenchmen to England. Globalists need to adapt to everybody, rather than asking everyone to adapt to them. But I’ve been there and done that. Check out my sonnet on daffodils, from a couple of years back. (I leave it up to you to conduct the search; it would be vain of me to link to my own sonnet.)

Now I am older and wiser, and basically what I have learned is ancient and not new. It is why we should respect our elders, and why it was wrong for my generation to adopt the motto, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” (I think Timothy Leary yammered that idiotic motto when he was forty-four.)

As the the snow melted I saw something besides the depressingly drooping daffodils. It was hopeful. Can you see it in these pictures? (Hint: As the snow first fell the turf was burned brown by last fall’s drought, January’s snowless flash-freeze’s wind-burn, and this spring’s drought.)

We waited long for the iron sod to thaw,
And so it seems a cruel joke that cold snow
Buries the softened pasture, yet the crow’s caw
Sounds happy; not the croak of weighted woe
You’d expect. A drenched dove softly coos
Love’s questions. A wet robin rejoices.
Not a single bird is singing the blues.
From whence comes the joy in all these voices?
Even the gruff old farmer smiles, with eyes
Full of mischief. He growls, “Why the long face?
Don’t you know this snow wears blessing’s disguise?
Beneath white, brown grass greens. It is a case
Where snow gets called, “Poor Man’s Fertilizer.”
Spring’s here, even if fools can’t recognize her.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Fram Flushing–

A fascinating change in the pattern at the Pole is occurring, involving the winds in Fram Strait switching from south winds, which prevent the sea-ice from exiting the Arctic Sea, to north winds, which flush the sea-ice down into the Atlantic.

One interesting example of the bias of Alarmists is that both south winds and north winds are a sign of Global Warming. South winds bring milder air north, which is proof the Pole is warming, while north winds flush sea-ice south and reduce the amount of sea-ice in the Central Arctic, which is proof the Pole is warming.

In any case I’ll start with a bunch of maps, which will show the switch. We’ll begin back on March 18, when high pressure over Norway and low pressure north of Greenland had south winds in Fram Strait, and a clear “feeder band” of milder air probing up towards the Pole.

The “feeder band” fed the weak low north of Greenland, and it took an unusual route over Svalbard, strengthening and switching the winds from south to north in Fram Strait.

The storm became quite strong, but notice how the “feeder band” fades. Despite the sunrise at the Pole, the warmer air is still lost to outer space, and the temperatures at the Pole remain close to thirty below.

The storm fades into western Russia, but a small low follows over Svalbard, keeping the flow of cold air south through Fram Strait.

At this point I am noticing the low down by Iceland, and wondering if it will disrupt the pattern by taking a more traditional route. High pressure is being pumped behind the prior storm, over Scandinavia.

In the above map I am already noting that the Icelandic gale will not behave as I expect, as the prior low has pumped a ridge over Scandinavia, blocking the Icelandic gale. It will be deflected towards Fram Strait. This could get interesting.

Another big low moves up from Cape Farewell at the southern tip of Greenland to Iceland, and runs up against the blocking high over Scandinavia. That high is expanding south and west, growing into what would be a northern positioning of the Azores High, if it was warmer, but it is not a balmy high pressure.

The gale has managed to squeeze over the top of the high pressure, weakening a lot, and the flow in Fram Strait is now east to west, flushing out less ice. The blocking high has forsed the next gale up the west side of Greenland, into Baffin Bay.

As the Baffin Bay low transits the high icefields of Greenland it sucks a new “feeder band” up through Fram Strait, fueling a “Ralph” (Anomolous area of low pressure) over the Pole, as the old Atlantic gale sags into Russia. At this point I am sitting back and quite confident the flow down through Fram Strait is over. The blocking high pressure is bulging north south of Iceland, forsing a second Gale west up into Baffin Bay.

Only a day later and I am scratching my head, for again there are north winds in Fram Strait, despite the Baffin Bay low approaching from the west, which I thought would create south winds. However I figure the north winds will soon shift south, and my attention is diverted to the speed at which the “feeder band” is cooled, as it fuels the “Ralph.”

The Baffin Bay low fights its way over the blocking high and the 10,000 foot high icefields of Greenland, and is in Fram Strait, where winds are nearly calm. High pressure builds in its wake. I pay little attention. I am thinking of writing a post on how the “feeder band” cooled despite the fact the sun has risen, which shows the Pole is still losing heat to outer space. I am watching “Ralph”. Fram Strait is not a focus of my attention.

Yowza! What the heck happened!? Crossing the northernmost north Atlantic the Baffin Bay low totally exploded, and the high behind it became totally pumped, and the winds are screaming south in Fram Strait. Who the heck cares about the dwindling “Ralph”, or about “feeder bands” you can barely see any more?

The Baffin Bay low, (which now perhaps qualifies as a “Barents Sea Blaster”) never sunk down into Russia, but rather wobbled about southeast of Svalbard, helped by a Fujiwara dance with another Atlantic low which managed to squeak over the blocking high. The maps below basically demonstrate we have seen six days of roaring north winds in Fram Strait. (And many other things as well, but one needs to limit ones focus, at times.)

At this point we perhaps can sit back and attempt to see what the effect of six days of Fram Flushing has been. One rather cool effect is that the sea-ice, formerly crushed west into the east coast of Greenland, has been spread out, forming polynyas of open water or very thin baby-ice along Greenland’s coast, but actually crossing the Denmark Strait and touching the north coast of Iceland in two places.

However, before you plan to saunter from Iceland to Greenland, it is important to be aware “thickness” maps exist in a dream-world of “averages” and the average of a few big bergs and much open water is six inches. There is in fact no six inch thick ice to stroll upon, and you’d better be prepared to hop like a super-kangaroo to get from big berg to big berg. A satelite few of the ice-edge between Greenland and Iceland will give you a good idea of the conditions we are dealing with.

Of course, with ice being flushed south in Fram Strait, one looks north to see where the sea-ice is coming from. And indeed some big leads have opened north of Greenland. (Greenland coast at lowest right corner.)

If you look at these leads you will notice they are dark on their left sides and more milky to the right, which shows you how rapidly sea-ice forms with temperatures still down close to thirty below. In some ways leads may increase the production of sea-ice, especially in April. (In July it is totally different, with air temperatures above freezing.) To be honest, I am uncertain if exporting sea-ice through Fram Strait decreases the amount of sea-ice, or increases it.

In the short term the more sea-ice you flush down into the Atlantic, the less your total will be, because the Atlantic swiftly melts the bergs. However there are long-term consequences as well. What happens if you chill the Atlantic?

In the winter of 1816-1817 there was apparently such an amazing Fram Strait flushing that it seems pure hyperbole. The sea-ice didn’t just reach the north coast of Iceland; it reached Ireland.(Never seen since). So much ice was flushed south the waters north of Greenland were wide open. Coastlines never mapped before were mapped, and one whaler claimed he sailed up through Fram Strait, westward over the top of Greenland, and down through Baffin Bay. The English Navy was galvanized, for it seemed a Northwest Passage might be opening up. But the same time saw a “year with no summer” in western Europe, because the Atlantic had been so chilled by the discharge of sea-ice. (Meanwhile Eastern Europe was warm; apparently the chilled Atlantic caused the summer jet stream to dig unusually far south over Western Europe, but to loop north in the East.)

In any case, the current flushing (so far) is small potatoes compared to 1817. But it is interesting to think about the factors involved.

One factor is that if you greatly cool the Atlantic you also cool the water that ordinarily melts a lot of sea ice, when it enters the arctic as the northernmost tendrils of the warm Gulf Stream. If you cool those tendrils they can melt less ice, which leads to more ice and colder temperatures which leads to even more ice. In fact the very low sea-ice of 1817 sent the 600 ship British Navy, (recently unemployed with Napoleon defeated and the conflict with the United States ended), exploring open Arctic waters which they then saw become increasingly ice covered. In 1819 William Parry was able to sail far west in the sound which now bears his name, yet the Franklin expedition perished, trapped by ice in the same waters thirty years later. It might be that a discharge of sea-ice through Fram Strait is a sort of “tipping point” or “trigger”, which sets off cooling. Or maybe not. But it should at least be considered.

Fram Strait is important because it is the only deep connection the Arctic Sea has with the rest of the world’s oceans. The arctic cools vasts amounts of water, and cold water sinks, drawing warm water north to replace it. As the warm water comes north the colder water must exit south, but has difficulty doing so in shallow waters of the continental shelf, such as Bering Strait or the waters east of Svalbard. Only west of Svalbard is there a deep channel for cold waters that have sunk deep. Even so, some cold water spills over the shallow waters of the continental shelf on the Greenland side of Fram Strait, but, as soon as that water has a chance, it plunges downwards. South of Fram Strait, where the continental shelf draws closer to Greenland, there is a sort of underwater Niagara Falls, where huge amounts of cold water plunges down over the edge of the continental shelf.

As this cold water plunges down it is removed from the influences that control weather at the surface, and, though part of the thermohaline circulation, it cannot effect temperatures at the surface for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, when it reappears as an upwelling at some other place on the planet. However if that water comes south with a bunch of sea-ice, the sea-ice cannot sink down to the abysmal deeps, but merrily continues to bob south at the surface, and consequently continues to be able to greatly alter weather at the surface. Those who sail northern fogs state you can feel the chill of an iceberg long before you can see it.

Despite six days of frigid north winds, current anomaly maps do not show much cooling of the north Atlantic.

I think ice-water causes problems for the models that produce such maps. Technically ice-water is as cold as water can get, for it is where ice and water coexist. Therefore, because water any colder would not be water but rather ice, ice-water cannot be “above normal”, because that would suggest a “normal” where water was fluid below freezing. However I have often seen such models describe ice-water as a degree, (and in one case three), above “normal”. Impossible. But in any case I am expecting to see the models catch on later in the season, and to see the North Atlantic cooled. Currently the cooling is only apparent east of Iceland.

Another effect the north winds have is to slow the flow of warmer waters to the arctic. The major warm tendril of the Gulf Stream in Fram Strait is the WSC (West Spitsbergen Current), which bounces off the coast of Norway and travels north roughly along the line of ten degrees longitude. This mild current is responsible for ice-free water on the east side of Fram Strait, and ice-free waters north and northwest of Svalbard, sometimes even in the dead of winter. However this water is only held at the surface because it is warmer than than surrounding water; in terms of salinity it wants to sink, because evaporation down in the tropics makes it saltier than surrounding water, and salty water wants to sink below fresher water. Therefore when the WSC chills to a certain point it sinks below the surface, and can melt sea-ice no longer. Six straight days of being blasted by northern winds likely has chilled the WSC more than usual. It may dive beneath the surface prematurely, and allow sea-ice to persist north of Svalbard.

Interestingly, the WSC remains recognizable even after it dives under the surface, due to its salt content and temperature, and hard working scientists have traced it as it describes a complete circuit of the Pole and exits, still different from colder water, on the west side of Fram Strait as part of the ice-clogged, southbound EGC. (East Greenland Current.)

I am somewhat amazed by the hard work done, getting beneath the sea-ice to measure these currents, especially as such study discovers no gold and isn’t profitable in any immediate worldly sense. I’ve noticed the discoveries don’t always jive with prior discoveries. I don’t think this is due to one scientist being “right” and another “wrong”, but rather because the currents wander. After all, like the jet stream high overhead, currents have no restraining banks like a river has, and are free to meander whither they will. What I imagine is needed is a salesman to sell the idea of under-ice sensors as numerous as weather balloons are above the ice, to trace the meanderings. Hmm. Good luck with that job.

Another effect of the north winds howling south through Fram Strait for six straight days would likely be to slow the speed of the WSC northward, while increasing the speed of the EGC southward. This creates interesting pneumatic problems, for water doesn’t compress and cannot stretch. Initially I would think that slowing the speed of the WSC by a tenth of a mile per hour would only delay the arrival of the water in Fram Strait slightly, but the effect upstream might in some ways be immediate. When you press a brake pedal the pneumatic effect takes no time to reach your brakes. The only give in the Arctic Sea pneumatic system is the level of the sea, and if the WSC is importing less water north as the EGC is exporting more water south, the level of the Arctic Sea should theoretically drop. And if it is then lower than surrounding seas, would that not increase the tendency of water to pour into the arctic in other places?

Lastly, the tundra and taiga are just starting to see days longer than nights, and snows are just starting to melt, which means arctic rivers, frozen to a mere trickle by the bitter winter cold, are just beginning to rise. The increases are astounding. For example, the largest river, the Lena, can rise sixty feet in spring floods. The import of fresh water into the Arctic Sea goes from near zero to vast amounts. This fresh water tends to form a “lens” atop the saltier water, and freezes more easily than salt water. Therefore the import of water to the Arctic Sea switches from largely being saltier water from the tropics in early April, to fresh water from rivers in June. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, (or put it in your climate model and watch the computer smoke and melt down).

The more you study sea-ice the more you become aware the variables are multitudinous, and perhaps chaotic to all minds but the Creator’s. Every year 20 thousand cubic kilometers of sea-ice are created, only to melt away every summer down to around 5 cubic kilometers that remain. By the end of summer the sea-ice is splotched with meltwater pools, and in places broken into slabs.

The satellites tend to see meltwater pools as open water, but the scientists slogging about collecting data (and rescuing equipment before it sinks) know such pools are usually but puddles on firm ice (though a few can reach down through the ice, holes down to an open sea a mile deep.)

It is a beautiful landscape. I wish we still had the Barneo polar tourist-trap and jetport, the floating buoys with cameras, and the intrepid adventurers skiing past polar bears, but pictures are getting harder and harder to find. Right now we’d be seeing the floating bergs were now firmly fixed in the winter’s new baby-ice.

We could examine where leads had opened, frozen swiftly over with baby-ice, and then clapped shut, stacking the baby-ice like plates.

All these images strike me as beautiful, and inspire no dread of a “Death Spiral”, nor of a planet broiling and boiling. A quick glance at the “volume” graph shows we have more ice than last year, and indeed more than in 2017, so it’s hard to fear it is all melting away.

In fact, rather than inspiring fear, the sea-ice inspires a sense of wonder. It is amazing how our Creator designed our planet to work, with its seasons and its ebbing and flowing. My mind is more inclined towards awe than towards dread, which makes the pseudo-scientists hired by politicians seem all the more like purveyors of panic porn. They make it their business to inspire fear, rather than appreciation of how well the world is made. They want to sell vaccines, rather than appreciate the excellent antibodies made by immune systems we already possess, so they downplay wonder and stir up dread.

God’s beauty currently does not manifest in Washington D.C., but it does manifest at the Pole. If you want to feel uplifted, shut off the Fake News, and study the clouds, or sunsets, or sea-ice.

As a final aside and wonder, I’ll point out that the current flushing of Fram Strait has drained the Pole of a lot of its cold air, exporting the cold all the way south to April snows in England. Yet despite the export of all this cold air, temperatures at the Pole are not all that far above normal, and indeed are closer to normal than they were at this time last year.

It will be interesting to watch the arctic for further developments. Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Chickidea–

from cdn.birdwatchingdaily.com

With so much dour news emanating from The Swamp, I’ve found little reason to be optimistic and hopeful recently, and I always find I have to make a concerted effort to cling to my belief life is beautiful, when in fact life looks downright ugly.

This immediately brings me to a subject some object to, which is that our sense of beauty tends to be very subjective, and downright fickle. It also is quite personal. I recall, as a tender adolescent, being somewhat astonished by how my face looked pretty good in the mirror on some days, but on others looked ghastly. As a young scientist I understood it was the same face. How could it appear so different, and in some ways completely opposite?

Usually it seemed to involve whether I felt loved or not. If Nancy (or Betsy or Debby) smiled at me in the high school hallways, the face in the mirror looked handsome and debonair, but if the same female sulked, the face in the mirror was blotched by acne and had a vile, shit-eating smile. It was absurd, and on some deep level I recognized the absurdity. My boyhood diary at one point sardonically comments, “I looked bad in the mirror this morning. What’s it mean, Froid?” (I did not know how to spell “Freud”.)

Yet the passage of a half century hasn’t changed things all that much. When you are smiled at, you feel beautiful, and in fact are beautiful. You become radiant. People want to draw close to you. But when you are frowned at, you become depressed and neurotic, and people avoid you like the plague or corona virus. As Ella Willcox noted in her 1887 poem “Solitude”, and O Henry noted again in 1907, “When you laugh, the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.”

In a better world we might show more sympathy, and obey the more ancient Roman proverb which ended, “Weep, and the world weeps with you.” But, sadly, a great deal of emphasis in the modern world involves whether you are accepted as politically correct, or cancelled by Cancel Culture; whether you appear on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter with lots of “likes”, or have been censored and banned from such platforms. If you take all this nonsense too seriously it can involve how you look in the mirror. If a collection of idiots and Karens call you praiseworthy, you appear charming and lovable, but if the same idiots and Karens disdain you, the mirror states you are deplorable, irredeemable, and a bitter clinger.

I knew this was nonsense at age sixteen, and nothing that has passed in the last fifty years has changed my mind in the slightest. I have always been a counter-snob to all snobbery. People who we now scoff at as “virtue signaling” were mocked fifty years ago as “slaves to status symbols.” For there has always been a deeper awareness that true beauty is not a shallow and superficial thing. True beauty is the reflection of Truth, and Love.

That word “Love” is crucial. As we age we discovered that Nancy (or Betsy or Debby) was not God. (I assume women discover the same thing about men.) We move on to discovering that owning a 1966 Mustang is not love. And so on and so forth. In fact, if we truly progress spiritually, we pretty much call all status symbols garbage, all positions of fame and power garbage, all political correctness garbage, and tell Hollywood, psychologists, and all bossy law-makers to go get screwed, for there is only one true author of Love, and that is God.

But if we fail to make such rapid spiritual progress, (and most of us fail), then we tend to get hooked on some worldly thing that makes us feel beautiful. Maybe it is heroin. When we take it we feel beautiful, and are actually attractive when high, so people want to draw closer to us, but later, when withdrawal sets in, everyone makes themselves scarce. Or maybe our hook is gambling, and when winning we feel beautiful, and walk with a woman on either arm, but when losing our complexation becomes green and everyone avoids us. Or maybe our hook is winning elections or writing hit records or appearing in blockbuster movies, and success makes us feel beautiful, but there is a down side as well. But for most the hook is less extravagant, and is more modest, the simple successes of a good marriage or a small business, but here too there is a down side. The good marriage will be wrecked, because one spouse will die. Must this make what was beautiful become ugly? In like manner the owner of the best small business, which succeeds with amazing compassion for both employees and customers, faces mortality, for he or she too must die. Does that make what was beautiful ugly?

No. I asserted this at age sixteen and I assert it at age sixty-eight. Beauty is beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you are a heroin-addicted, male whore of a Swamp politician who will throw you under the bus tomorrow, the glimpse of beauty you saw in your rise and fall was the real deal. Beauty is beautiful.

Ugly is ugly because it in some way denies the fact beauty is beautiful. However this is foolish. It is like shadows denying they exist because of light, and instead attempting to congregate and plot ways to attack the light, ignoring a glaring fact: The moment shadows step from the shadows to attack the light, they cease to exist.

What I just wrote was profound, if I do say so myself, but I confess it is not obvious, at this moment in the history of the United States. Currently the shadows are gathering, but haven’t yet fully stepped out to attack the light. Ugly is ugly, at the moment.

With what is ugly currently seeming triumphant, I seem to have chosen the wrong side. I haven’t. I know beauty will win, in the end.

But, in the meantime, a fellow like me has to run a small business and be patriarch of a small family, midst a global ugliness, and I can’t expect to see much beauty in my day-to-day dealings. Yet I crave beauty. I need to inhale some beauty, if I am expected to exhale any in my day-today dealings.

In order to inhale beauty in an ugly world, I do what I did in school in 1959. I look out the window, and not at the black board. I remove my nose from the grindstone and sniff the roses. I shut off the news and walk out into the view.

God made that view for us to enjoy, and even in rotton weather there is usually something beautiful to see, if you look for it. In the springtime it becomes easier. People refer to it as “communing with nature.” I was describing it in the comments of a recent post:

I was out with the children at my Childcare and watched a bald eagle battle the north winds. I get a thrill seeing eagles, for there were no bald eagles to be seen around here the first sixty years of my life, but the kids are rather ho-hum about such occurrences, for eagles are just an everyday bird to them.

Today the eagle was pretending to fish but the ducks knew he (or she) will eat a duck if need be, so they were zinging all over the place as he (or she) innocently looked for trout. But the chaos of thirty ducks and lone eagle was occurring in a thirty mile an hour gale from the north. What amazed me was that the birds behaved as if the wind was a minor matter, like the “temperature at game time” for baseball players.

A few weeks back I got a crick in my neck watching an eagle battle his (or her) way upwind in a fifty-mile-an-hour gale. At first I thought he was being battered, because he seemed staggered, lowering first one shoulder and then the other, like a boxer getting pummeled. But then I noticed he wasn’t being beaten backwards. In fact he was making remarkable progress, moving north at around fifteen miles an hour despite the winds whooshing south at fifty. It seemed that (and I’m guessing) that when he lowered first one shoulder and then another he (or she) was expertly tacking upwind with a swiftness and dexterity all skippers of all sailboats would envy.

One might wonder if birds are superior to humans, considering the remarkable things they do. They do what they do without a college education, utilizing some thing we do not understand, but pretend we understand by calling it “instinct”.

Considering a lone eagle can tack upwind better than a billionaire with an expert crew of twenty on the most lavish yacht can, one might wonder what is the use of human endeavor. We cannot even match a bird.

However there is an equivalent of instinct in birds, which does occur in mortal humans. It is something we do not understand, but pretend we understand by calling it “intuition.”

It has occurred to me that when I am feeling uglified by the world, and go out for a walk and wind up feeling beautiful, it is because I have been loved. When “communing with nature” my intuition (whatever that is) is communing with the Creator, and the Creator doesn’t want us miserable, and will rain love down upon us if we only allow it.

Thinking along these lines got me a little cross-eyed the other morning. It is a bit humbling to go for a walk and think the Creator is right there. I couldn’t quite tell if I felt tiny or enormous. But I was feeling loved, as the north winds had ceased and the sunshine was kindly. It occurred to me the spring birds would have come out from hiding, with the wind ceasing, and I should listen for harmony.

Rather than spring birds, a couple of winter chickadees came flitting out to serenade me. They are tiny birds, and very perishable in cold winds, yet they don’t fly south and survive extreme cold by avoiding wind, and becoming balls of fluff in calm places. You will never see them at a feeder in a cold wind, and even in a light breeze they will always face upwind, to keep the chill from getting under their feathers. But this morning was mild, and with winter behind them they were attending to some sort of territorial discussion, singing their “spring soon” call back and forth at each other. It seemed a bit like dueling banjos.

The call is two notes, descending, but these two birds were not agreeing on what key to sing in. The first sung an A followed by an F, and the second sung a G-sharp followed by an E. I was listening to the sequence of notes, telling God it was sweet and wondering if I could write a song with that sequence in it, when I noticed their calls were coming closer together. I knew what was coming, and with a sense of dread awaited hearing A sung with G-sharp, followed by F sung with E. They did it, and the discord made my fillings hurt. Perhaps they noticed my pained expression, for they only sung the discord twice before flitting away. I looked up at the sky and said, “Oh Lord; that was absolutely horrible!”

Then I burst out laughing, for it really did seem a great joke: A couple of chickadees attempting to be as ugly as Washington D.C. I laughed so hard I slapped my knee, but then I noticed a lady coming down the road walking her dog.

I set my lip. One needs to be cautious, when communing with nature in public.

LOCAL VIEW –Chill Winds–

I’m not a happy camper this Monday morning. A quick glance at the news shows me that people we didn’t elect are spending money we don’t have on things we don’t want. But besides that, all is well. The lunatics are running the asylum and the criminals are in charge of the court house, but besides that, all is well. A new employee turns out to have more troubles than you can shake a stick at, so I have to work when I didn’t plan to, but besides that, all is well. And I have to do my taxes, but besides that, all is well.

I am trying not to complain, because I recently got a reminder that things could be worse. I witnessed a poor plugger pushing his bike-with-saddle-bags home from work (I assume he had lost his license) and he had a sour expression because the bike had a flat tire. I didn’t know him, but was going to pull over and offer him a lift, but saw he had arrived home, for he threw his bike down in a small front lawn and stomped into a small, old house in the center of town. The poor fellow’s expression seemed to say, “Things can’t get worse”, but things did get worse. The next morning I couldn’t drive by that house, for it was charred and the street was closed, and the fellow had been airlifted to a hospital with bad burns on his hands and face.

Therefore I try to count my blessings. It doesn’t pay to sneer and snarl “things can’t get worse” because often they do, but they aren’t as bad as you thought they’d be when worrying about such a predicament beforehand, and also it is better to face calamities with an upbeat attitude, for it gets you through them to the other side.

Also this Monday’s the day after Easter, and I’m suppose to be full of hope and joy, for the “elite” tried to kill Truth 2000 years ago, and Truth didn’t remain dead; Truth couldn’t die; Truth rose from the grave and lives eternally, and is walking about alive today, 2000 years later, no matter what today’s “elite” seem to think.

But, though I attempted to give myself pep talks, I should honor Truth, and the truth is this Monday found me crabby as hell. It was typical April weather for the northeast corner of the USA, which is to say: Darn cold. April teases New Hampshire with rumors of warmth approaching from the southwest, but over and over the promises prove empty. If we get a balmy day it just makes the following chill seem worse. True spring never gets here until May.

Two things stop the advance of balmy breezes. The first is “cold air damming.” Basically the mountains to our west lift the warm air, and once it is lifted it can’t get back down again, and overrides the cold air in our dales and valleys. Sometimes the warm air is only a few hundred feet overhead, and you can feel it is warmer if you drive up to a hilltop. But down where you work it is cold and dank, and you glower up at the low clouds rushing up from the south, but too far overhead to warm your chapped hands.

The second thing is “back door fronts”. The balmy air rushing past overhead fuels a gale that brews up over the Atlantic just to our east, and behind that storm winds howl down from the north, where there is still snow, and ice in Hudson Bay. Often the back-door-front stands just to our southwest, and we wear winter coats as people in Pennsylvania wear short sleeves, and we flinch at snow-pellets as they hear summer thunder. It may not seem fair, but it is just how God laid out the landscape.

This year we’ve seen a lot of the big gales blowing up while passing over Cape Cod and moving towards Nova Scotia and then Labrador, giving us roaring winds from the north that make even small ponds look oceanic, with whitecaps and streaks of foam.

Such howling north wind is the last sort of weather I want to go out into, but I have to deal with some mischievous older boys at our Childcare. They are only there for an hour and a half, waiting for the school bus, but it is amazing the trouble they can get the smaller children into, and also they teach the small children some words parents don’t approve of, so I have to get them out for a hike before the bus comes. Initially they whined a lot, but now they seem to relish bounding across the spring landscape, free of the silly masks they have to don when they get on the school-bus. I, however, confess I don’t relish it so much. I’m getting a bit old for bounding. My expertise seems to now be huffing-and-puffing.

This morning I was particularly non-relishing. An Atlantic gale added insult to injury by failing to head out to sea, and instead looping around and heading back to the west, towards us.

Yesterday you could see the edge of the storm’s cloud shield gradually approach from the east, although Easter was sunny. That north wind refused to quit. The the cloud shield passed overhead last night, and by daybreak the blue sky could barely be seen, on the western horizon. It was a gray daybreak, and all I wanted to do was read the children stories in a cozy armchair. But the older boys would have none of it. I’d done too good a job of instilling them with a love of the outdoors. With a creak and a groan I headed out to face the music. Not that I expected any music, for when the north wind howls the spring songbirds hunker down in the most windless thickets they can find, and you hardly hear a peep.

But once I trudged out into the gray day I was astonished to see it wasn’t just the boys that bounded about. The bigger birds seemed to be bounding about in the sky. They seemed to be flying just for the fun of it. I’m not sure it is permissible to describe birds as “horsing around”, but they did seem to be displaying a lot of unnecessary effort. I think what jarred me out of my sour mood was seeing a crow chase a hawk half-way across a field, whereupon the hawk had apparently had enough of such nonsense, and they wheeled and swooped and then the hawk chased the crow back the other way. Bingo. Bad mood gone, and my mind started working on a sonnet.

I was walking with my Monday morning frown
In a cold north wind under gray, sliding skies,
A gale stalled out to sea, hands plunged deep down
In cold pockets, feeling only a fool tries
To hope, but something about the spring birds
Brooks no frowning. I speak not of songsters
Who hid from the blasts, but seek the words
To describe the bigger and far stronger
Fliers, who slice the gale as if rejoicing. 
The ducks spear through gusts; the ungainly herons
Power upwind, their silences voicing 
The eagle's strength, as crow turns and runs
From a hawk he'd chased, back the other way,
Making me smile though the skies are still gray.

Arctic Sea-Ice –Cold Daybreak–

This year’s sunrise at the Pole, marking the start of the six month “day”, was once again accented by the strange dip in temperatures which seems so contrary to what one might expect the first touch of sunlight to bring. However I’ve noticed the same phenomenon in the microcosm of my own back yard, on cold mornings. The coldest “nighttime low” occurs not at night, but just after daybreak.

I can’t really explain it, (but that has never stopped me from trying). Just guessing, I suspect there is a thin layer of very cold air right next to the ground. (I’ve seen frost on low places in my yard some autumn mornings, while my tomato plants only a few feet higher escape any frost.) The first beams of sun perhaps stirs up this low layer of cold air, at least to a level of four feet, where it effects thermometers. The sun may be warming, but in stirring cold air up it initially brings thermometers down. Or that is my best guess at why even the long-term averages show a slight dip at polar sunrise, (the green line on the graphs), and the red line has shown temperatures dip to below normal right at sunrise for the last four years, despite generally warm seas to the south and above-normal winters in the Central Arctic.

Check out the last three years. (Polar sunrise is around day 79)


Usually the bounce-back to above-normal temperatures has been striking, but this year it seems a bit more sluggish. We’ve dipped down to the green line not once, but three times, and on the last occasion we spent five days below normal. Admittedly it was only a hair below normal, but it is enough to seem like “a change in the cycle.”

My own take is that there is less warm air available to import from the south. The “warm spikes” during winter (and even after sunrise, when the sun is too low to warm much), are not due to sunshine but rather imported from warmer waters to the south. The warmth of those waters is not due to stronger sunshine but rather weaker sunshine, which leads to weaker winds, which leads to weaker upwellings of cold water, which makes seas warmer at the surface. However the heat at the surface is a limited commodity, and because the sun is quiet such heat can be exhausted, which may be a development we are now beginning to witness. After an extended (and unexpected) period of warm El Ninos, the Pacific has seen a shift to colder La Nina conditions over the past year. The La Nina was expected to end this spring, but a disconcerting surge of colder water has recently emerged off the coast of Peru, suggesting the cold La Nina may not be so swift to weaken.

This La Nina will need to be watched, for it has encouraged the cooler waters off the the Pacific coasts of USA, Canada, and Alaska, which are signs of a “cold” PDO, which increases sea-ice north of Bering Strait. Also extra sea-ice in the Sea of Okhotsk will chill winds from the west, perhaps aiding and abetting that “cold” PDO, at least at the start of summer.

It should also be noted that the UAH average-world-temperature, likely due to the La Nina, is at its lowest in four years.

To return to my original point, it just seems there may be less heat available to melt sea-ice with, in some respects, this coming summer. The sun should become less quiet, but still will be more quiet than in the past, so there will not be extra radiance beating down on the sea-ice.

The sea-ice is noticeably thicker where it was thinnest last spring, along the Eurasian coast and especially in the Laptev Sea. The sea-ice which was shifted from the Eurasian coast into the Central Arctic has not been flushed south by the Transpolar Drift into Fram Strait and south into the Atlantic, but instead stands as a thick body, difficult to melt. Things are looking bad, in terms of an ice-free Pole this summer.

The build-up shows in the modelled DMI sea-ice-volume graph, which shows us moving from “lowest evah” last August to “more than in 2017”, this March.

The “extent” graph doesn’t mean much this time of year, as lots of sea-ice always vanishes from places far south of the true arctic. For example, a vast area of sea-ice ceased to exist, down in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, this past fortnight. Over the next few weeks large areas will vanish from the Sea of Okhotsk. Such fluctuations are normal and natural, and one should attend to whether they are early or late, and feel no worry that they happen. However I did notice something I found amusing about the “total”, which politicians think we need to fret about.

Below is the “extent” as determined by DMI through the month of February. Glance it over, and decide for yourself how 2021 stood, compared to the most recent five years. (2021 is black)

Now a bumpkin like me might note that in mid February the extent was the highest in the past six years, and also note that the month ended with 2021 second highest. However the powers-that-be noted that dip towards the end of February, when a couple of North Atlantic Gales compressed sea-ice west in the Greenland Sea and north in Barents Sea, and used that dip in extent to determine 2021 has the second lowest February sea-ice extent evah.

Now look at the past month. What do you think the 2021 extent will be listed as, by the powers-that-be?

A bumpkin like me might note 2021 had the highest extent of the past six years, just past mid month, but do think the powers that be will look at that? Or look at the fact April started with 2021 having the highest extent in the past six years? Or will they focus on that late month dip?

Time will tell.

But at least, even if you display a certain bias by focusing on dips, a dip is data. The DMI powers-that-be are at least not resorting to making stuff up, like certain politicians, who make up votes they never got, and print money they do not have.

I have more to say about sea-ice, but must attend to paying my taxes, for someone must come up with the five trillion the unelected idiots are spending. (Sorry to tell them this, but I haven’t got five trillion.)

Stay tuned.

Nancy Pelosi Plays Lady Macbeth

Around a year before the election Nancy Pelosi made a vaguely disturbing comment, along the lines of, “If we are going to do this thing, we had better be prepared to do it all the way.” It was somewhat unclear, (as it often is with her), what she was referring to, but it had to do with “winning the election”. It now seems possible that the “thing” she was referring to involved winning the election by fraudulent means.

To say the election was fraudulent is a quick way to be banned on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and yet such a fraud is generally accepted by a surprisingly large number of people. Many say the Dominion voting machines were “rigged”. In any case, by hook or by crook, Pelosi “won”.

But, in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, Lady Macbeth also “won”, when she convinced her husband to gain power by murdering Duncan, King of Scotland. She worried her husband had too much of the “milk of human kindness” in him, and bragged that she had no such weakness, no such wimpy tendencies towards mercy, and would even pluck her own baby from her breast and dash its brains out, to gain political power. However, after Duncan was murdered, Lady Macbeth turned out to be less tough than she thought she was. This led to the famous scene where she is either sleepwalking, or just plain off her rocker, attempting to wash hallucinated blood from her hands and muttering, “Out; out damned spot.”

Lady Macbeth is one of the greater examples in literature of a person plagued by a guilty conscience. Shakespeare suggests there is something within the human psyche which reacts powerfully against evil, no matter how persuasive we may consiously be, regarding how evil is to our advantage.

This subconscious reaction is not a mere matter of disappointment, over having a gratified desire turn out to be less fulfilling than imagined beforehand. It is not the mere disappointment one feels after going out on a date with a person who appeared beautiful, but who turned out to be a complete dullard. Rather it is the keen sense one is guilty, one has done wrong, and that there are unpleasant consequences of some sort which one is going to face. One has ingested poison, and the future is not bright. Although one may have “won”, one has won a free trip to hell. Lady Macbeth “won” what she wanted, which was to be Queen of Scotland, but becoming queen was not the heaven she imagined, beforehand.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi might not be in similar shoes, now that she has “won.” The murder involved was not of a person, a “King Duncan”, but rather of the United States of America, and all it stands for, (if the election was truly fraudulent.) What was “killed” was democracy.

In a sense Nancy may have achieved her life’s aim, if she saw opposing views as something which must be utterly defeated, yet now she may awaken, like Lady Macbeth, to the fact that what she has done is terrible.

For opposing views are not truly an enemy. They are like the other side of a tug-of-war; they keep you from falling down. If you destroy the other side of a tug-of-war your own side falls over. It is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. What is beautiful about the two-party-system is what beautiful about marriage; to destroy one half of a two-party-system is like thinking you “win” by shooting your spouse.

Debate, when most healthy, results in an increase in understanding on both sides. But such healthy debate becomes impossible when one side resorts to blanket denial. And that is what negating the vote of a majority amounts to: A blanket denial of all the charges which that majority was making.

Nancy Pelosi cannot have worked so long in Washington DC without knowing what healthy debate looks like. Therefore she must also be aware it has recently largely been extinguished. I wonder if she looks down at her own hands, those same hands which tore Trump’s State of the Union speech in half, and mutters, “Out; out damn spot.”