Eighty-five quaint 'merican degrees on the fahrenheit scale at ninety-one sixty. I heard this apocryphally happened once, long ago during the dark ages between the halcyon antiquity of the mining days and the here and now. A climatic fluke. Being eighty or a little bit above has seemed to happen with a bit more frequency. I find it easier to accept the idea of the epoch of the anthropocene and its repercussions than when I first heard the term. Something about naming a geological epoch after a species of half-bald primates seemed rather arrogant, but then I remembered human and arrogant are kissing cousins. Be that as it may, I also try to be mindful when I'm observing the climatological omens I don't get suckered by what is called the Confirmation Bias.
It has been a comedy of errors, savage amusement, and near homicide when trying to explain the fact there's a fire ban in effect. It's been in effect since shortly after the vernal equinox. Still, some travelers cannot comprehend it. Once, I got a little indignant.
"Tell you what; I'm not going to burn down your house," I said.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Return the courtesy," I growled. Sempi and I might have had a discussion about that had I not reminded him about his reaction to a WWII vet asking him if he'd ever done military penance on the day Don't Ask/Don't Tell was repealed. I've never claimed to be a nice man.
Fireworks are canceled within the borders of our Sahel this year. Something that has not happened in recent memory, perhaps ever, though I've yet to find the old-timer to confirm or deny that. The heat and the dry and the way it feels like half of the state, not to mention the southwestern quadrant of the 'merican Maghreb, is on fire act as the reason and rational.
It doesn't bother me much. The idea of celebrating white man's independence from tyranny with the detonation of low-grade explosives has often struck me as being a bit stupid. An excuse to be drunk and belligerent chanting Usa! in a show of fair-weather fandom. That probably makes me a horrible patriot, and, were I given to self-indulgence, I might say there's a file about me somewhere because of that perception.
Well, that and the fact I have three copies of the Qur'an in my possession...
The dry is disturbing. Every time the haze from another fire cloaks our sky, a breath of collective fear is drawn. When seeing someone smoking, it is homicidally hoped they put out their butt throughly and in the proper receptacle. Fire ban are the first words mentioned when someone wants the location of a campground, and it's repeated like a mantra, depending on who's asking.
Yet, despite this Lovecraftian macabre, there is serenity and optimism. It is summer, after all. Flatlanders come to our elevation in locust-like swarms to escape temperatures that make our eighty and above heatwave seem trivial. Once the sun sets, as in the deserts and the badlands of eastern Colorado, it becomes cool. Sometimes, pleasantly so, whilst others, rather chilly.
The heat can make my bicycle rides home interesting studies in feeling the burn. I keep waiting for one day, hotter than the others, when I can make my spicy shrimp recipe with a bottle-or two...three?-of cheap white wine and sit out back in the fading daylight. I play musics with that hot summertime resonance. There are walkabouts up tundra and wildflowers in bloom. The trill of hummingbirds and the lazy amble of a far below average river.
Things of beauty and terror, or optimism and worry; those sides of a cosmic coin. Here is this anthropocene summer in the mountains; the heat and the dry, the hummingbirds and cocktails taken out back in the warm sunlight. Take it as it comes, riding the snake's tale for all its worth. It is perhaps the only sane course of action.