Transitory

November 10, 2018

BW photograph of tree limbs blowing in the wind on an overcast day.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The weather app on my phone indicated it was 41 degrees and clear at 3:30 a.m.  Given that I was already awake, it seemed like time for a walk.  (Photographer’s Note:  The photo above is from a day different from that described in this post.  It was just as windy, though.)

After about ten minutes, it began to rain.  After twenty minutes more, it stopped.  I had either walked out from under a particular cloud or clouds, or the air currents had moved the cloud(s) along, or the cloud(s) had dissipated, or a combination of those three options had occurred.  In any case, the sky was full of stars and puffy clouds.  As the sun began to rise, conditions soon turned into something more like Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day-the wind kicked up and moved a great many leaves about.  It was a bit unpleasant walking into a headwind, but that time was relatively short-lived.

Speaking of which, the last three years are but a blip in geological time.  However, the impact on our culture and the natural environment (locally, nationally, and globally) due to the politics of this era have far-reaching consequences.  Perhaps this, too, will be transitory-time will tell what will happen here with a split government.  The problem is that for far too many, time has stopped.

Take care.

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Encapsulation

November 9, 2018

BW photograph of a charred log lying among rocks.

Copyright 2016 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Twelve shot dead in a bar and nearby the Woolsey Fire burns.  Senseless gun violence and the impact of climate change.

Also, this Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI.  On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, hostilities ceased.  The adjective “senseless” was used above.  Please read through this article for another application of that term.  Although, as the article makes clear, not all would agree with the assessment leading to the use of that adjective.

Such is the case when it comes to addressing both mass shootings and climate change.  The gun lobby has more than enough political power to prevent any meaningful interventions-the fossil fuel industries occupy a similar position.  Innocents continue to be killed and communities continue to burn.  Thousand Oaks, CA and the surrounding area are experiencing both simultaneously.

Take care.

P.S. This article addresses wildfires in the Plains states.  The differentiation and interaction of weather and climate change is described-as is the role climate change played in the fires as expressed in the interviews conducted by Mr. Frazier.  The creation of a sense of powerlessness, whether through lack of knowledge or teleological argument, is another dynamic at work in the persistence of these issues.  Failure to proactively address root causes mandates continued reactive responses.

BW photograph of Wolf Rock and trees silhouetted against the rising sun.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is one to follow.

Take care.

BW photograph of fallen leaves in a gutter washed against a car tire after a heavy rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Not long after the previous blog was posted it did, indeed, begin to rain again, but gently.  At some point late last night or very early this morning, there was a downpour that was accompanied by strong, gusty winds-both rattled the house enough to disturb one’s sleep.  The results of this latest bout of precipitation were clearly evident once the sun arose-there were a lot fewer leaves still on trees.  When the rain falls that hard and that fast, it has nowhere to go.  In the built environ, the water ends up gushing in the streets.

BW photograph of a flooded cow pasture after a very heavy rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In open spaces, that much water is unable to soak into the already saturated ground.  On top of that (literally), local waterways again left their banks.  This photograph shows a flooded cow pasture…

BW photograph of a flooded soy bean field after a very heavy rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

while the above is a soybean field that is just across the road from the pasture.  A culvert under the road provided a conveyance for some of the water to rush from the pasture to the field.

Vote for the environment on Tuesday.  The planet needs all of the assistance it can get.

Take care.

Weather as Metaphor

November 2, 2018

BW photograph of rain clouds above silhouetted trees.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Our foray into fall has made a U-turn as the mid-30s temperatures have doubled.  We have gone from frost warnings to thunderstorm warnings.  It rained very early this morning and more of the same is forecast for a bit later tonight; the clouds as displayed above did not release any moisture as of the typing of this sentence.

The end scene of the first Terminator movie uses such a cloud formation as the visual metaphor for the coming conflict with Skynet-the self-aware computer system that decided to eliminate humans and resulted in multiple sequels, prequels, and hard-to-categorize but less-than-equals.  Imagery of such ominous-looking clouds has been used in such a way for so long that this has become a cliché.

At the risk of such, we are most certainly at a defining moment in U.S. politics.  There is debate over whether this is the most ___ (fill-in-the-blank with whatever negative adjective as is desired) political season in history.  Given that we like to think of ourselves as the model democracy, it is remarkable as to the extent to which efforts are being made to exclude so many from participating in the process by voting.  It must be remembered, however, that the decade of the 1970s had more bomb explosions than any other; that the 1960s had cities burning from riots; and that the 1860s had a full-on Civil War.  None of that, by the way, is in any way meant to minimize the carnage and loss of life in Pittsburgh or the recent mail bombs sent.  Such behaviour is inexcusable and not justifiable at any time.

It must also be remembered that words matter.  What one says or does not say, especially when such acts as those above are not specifically and categorically condemned, gives tacit approval for their continuance. The use of rhetoric to fuel the politically-charged divisions within the U.S., and in other areas of the world, does nothing more than harden positions into what is now commonly referred to as tribal factions.

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s elections in the U.S., civility must not be the loser (as has already been demonstrated time and again).

Take care.

Winter 2018/2019

October 20, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run with blurred water due to slow shutter speed.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A chilly start to the day makes for a crisp walk in the woods.

BW photograph of a tree truck laying next to a large rock with direct sunlight.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yesterday morning began with temperatures in the high 30s-the coldest morning of the year thus far.  This morning was a bit different-temperatures were in the mid-50s, but the rain from last night left the air heavy, damp, and a bit cold.  Rain is again in the forecast for tonight followed by temperatures once again in the high 30s for the early morn.

Not to jump too far ahead, but NOAA has released its forecast for Winter 2018/2019.  This is well worth a read for those in the U.S. who are interested.  According to this information, some of the areas affected by the recent hurricanes have “…the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.”  (Several of the hiking trails I frequent are still running with water and/or are soggy and muddy from all the rain that has fallen in this area over the past few months.)  Drought conditions will continue in some areas and be reduced in others.  NOAA’s current forecast also states “No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures.”

Time will tell as to the accuracy of this particular prediction-the report explains some of the variables that could change what is actually experienced.  As such, NOAA does update the forecast on a regular basis.

It is useful to remember that weather is local and climate is global.  While the NOAA forecast is more to the local weather-end of that spectrum, and the recent IPCC report is at the global climate-end, they both reflect patterns established by an overall warming planet.  As such, while it may mean that some have less snow to shovel this winter, which may or may not make those folks happy depending on one’s feelings toward snow, the overall socioeconomic impact is much greater.  How will Alaska, for example, cope with its increased and continued warming? (It is worth noting that linked article is from 2016.)

Take care.

Beauty

October 13, 2018

BW photograph of hay rolls in Antietam.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That which is considered beautiful is subjective and very much a culturally defined term.

BW photograph of Burnside Bridge at Antietam.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A cool, crisp October morning with a bright sun rising in the east provided some measure of that criteria.

BW photograph of the Dunkerd Church at Antietam.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was a beautiful morning for a walk.

That well over 20,000 men were either killed, wounded, or went missing here in 1862 defies the imagination and stands in very stark contrast to the feel of this place on this particular day and time.  The battle at Antietam was the “single bloodiest day” in United States history.

Gen. Robert E. Lee has been quoted in multiple sources as having said “It is well for war to be so terrible, lest we grow fond of it.”  Indeed.  And yet, the Civil War in the U.S. continued until 1864; then there was WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan-the latter is ongoing.  These are just some of the overt wars for the U.S.-although there has been no declaration of war since WWII.  That list does not include the covert activities nor the ones for which we supply one side against the other as in Yemen, for example.  We provide Saudi Arabia with arms and support in what amounts to a proxy war with Iran.  The violence of the Civil Rights Movement and the riots of 1967 and 1968 are not included, yet were bloody in their own right.  Globally, we could discuss the fighting in many other places (Myanmar) or the threat of such elsewhere (Bosnia and Herzegovina).  One does not have to reach the point of taking up arms to be destructive.  Think about the belief systems and public policies that support racism and destroy the environment, to name two, both here and around the world.

It is so very helpful to get outside and see and feel and smell and touch the beauty that exists.  It is also important to remember how fleeting that can be unless there is a shared recognition that short-term gain for some cannot be a substitute for longer-term deprivation, exploitation, and outright elimination of another.

Take care.