Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Seasonal Markers, Planetary Brokenness

It's been an interesting week to be by the sea, watching the tides come in to inundate communities.  This article notes that some of the flooding is visible from space.  

We've got several factors exerting influence.  Every year at this time (mid-September to mid-October), we see King Tides, the higher tides that come because of where the moon is in relation to the earth.  We've got the slow motion difficulty of sea level rise which means the flooding comes sooner.

This year we had Hurricane Teddy way offshore but still making high tide even higher.  And there was all the rain from Hurricane Sally, all that water running to the sea.

Yesterday, as I looked at a display of pumpkins in a supermarket endcap that had once held watermelons, I thought about the passage of seasons.  I thought about my response to fall, my yearning for an autumn that soon may only exist in old pictures:  hay rides, bonfires, cinnamon donuts, apple orchards, changing leaf colors.  

The King Tides are just as seasonal a marker, but it's hard to imagine people feeling nostalgia for them when they leave or yearning for their return.  They seem much more menacing, as water swirls up from storm drains to flood the streets, a potent reminder of the planetary changes that we can often forget.

I say it's tough to imagine nostalgia, but a child growing up who had a parent pull a kayaak full of children through flooded streets, that child will certainly have a different set of memories.  I'm nostalgic for hay rides I rarely had--that child when grown may remember the King Tides fondly, the way that I have fondness for snow days.

Many of the children being born right now will have no first hand experience with snow.  That's sobering to me, but only because I have a certain bias.    I view rising sea levels and raging wildfires as a symptom of planetary brokenness, but generations after me may not. I see apocalypse, but we'll adapt, and future generations will have a different set of apocalyptic markers.

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