Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I See It

This year, we have all seen it.

We have watched North Carolina, battered by storm-driven rain, roads covered, highways closed.  We watched Wilmington, cut off for days, as rivers rose and turned it into an inaccessible island.   We looked to the Florida Lost Coast, as what was a small tropical storm blossomed into a nightmarish beast, and entire coastal towns were obliterated by winds and the sea.  We saw record flooding in Texas, and states of emergency declared as the Midwest was overcome with rain.  Saw the Arizona State Fair cancelled at the height of summer, because it was underwater.

We saw California burn, conflagrations that have no precedent, as terrified Americans fled firestorms that roared through entire communities.   As they died in their homes.  As they burned to death in their cars.

These are the things that we all saw on our screens.  But there is a reality beyond what we see on our magic devil boxes.

If you live in the Washington DC are, which I do, you saw things that people elsewhere may not have seen.

Here in Washington, DC, we had a storm earlier this year.  For two whole days, the wind howled, 45-50 miles an hour, with higher gusts.  Trees were down everywhere.   We lost power for a day, and some of my nearby family lost power for multiple days.   The storm damaged roofs everywhere, tearing away siding, pulling shingles from subroofing.  Our own roof was damaged, as hour after hour, the relentless howling wind slowly peeled the vent from our roof as I watched helplessly from our front yard.  Many homes in our area weren't repaired yet weeks and months afterwards.

It was one of the fiercest storms I've ever seen in Washington, made peculiar by this:  it involved not a single drop of rain.  No thunder.  No lightning.  It was, during the day, partly sunny.  Yet with winds that never, ever let up, leaving destruction in their wake.

We saw this, in Washington, this year.

Here in the suburbs of Washington, DC this year, I grew my a garden in my front yard.  I grow greenbeans and kale and potatoes.  I have blueberry bushes, which mostly feed the birds, and strawberries, which lately have been a favorite of the chipmunks.  I've tried carrots, which have mostly not done anything at all.

I also seed-save my green beans, leaving pods on the healthiest plants, where they dry and provide me with next year's crop.

But this year, it rained.  It rained endlessly, sometimes for a week straight.  It is, in point of provable fact, going to be the single wettest year in recorded history in the Washington area.  Roads have flooded, over and over again.  The Potomac, overtopping its banks.  Some towns in the DC area were obliterated by apocalyptic deluges.  People died.

It rained so much that I lost the most of seeds I was saving, some to rot, but most of them to...seeding.  There, in their pods, the seeds sprouted while still on the plant, the roots springing out from the still unfallen pods.  I shared this with other gardeners, and they concurred.  It was weird.  Not normal.  Wrong.

I saw this, in Washington DC, this year.

There were other things.  We saw the trees, holding their leaves deep and late into a strangely delayed fall.  Among the trees, the oaks were masting, wildly overproducing acorns, which they do when stressed.  There were so many acorns in my back yard that they piled up in mounds.

These are the things you saw, if you lived in Washington DC and your eyes were open.  They are signs.

There are so many signs, in fact, that you'd need to be the world's greatest fool not to see them.