Sunday, October 15, 2017

Calistoga CA and end of The Dream

As I write this the northern California fires continue raging and Calfire doesn’t expect containment for another week.  Santa Rosa the area’s ‘big city’ has been decimated, quite literally.  Major fires in Mendocino County and around Clear Lake (yet again) with Sonoma and Napa valleys being particularly hard hit this past week.

Right now heroic efforts continue to cut fire-lines and other defenses against the huge Tubbs fire in order to save Chateau Montelena Winery of “Bottle Shock” fame and the beautiful little town of Calistoga at the head of the Napa Valley.

All hinges on the weather.  Beyond a certain point, heat and wind will overcome the best defenses, given a few days of favorable winds/temps and the town has a good chance.  (Saturday turned out to be a good day for them and I wish them well these next couple critical days.)

Not that it’s more important than the other catastrophes going down, but this one’s personal, I know the town and the landscape fairly well so this hurts in a way destruction in places I'm not connected with can't. 

In 2014 I was fortunate enough to spend a few months south of there in Yountville, heart of the Napa Valley.  It’s one of those towns where you can point your camera in any direction and get an idilic picture.  As is Calistoga at the north end of Napa Valley, which I visited numerous times during those delightful months.  I can clearly visualize the terrain those fire fighters are struggling with and patrolling.

My connection reaches back further.  Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Guernville, Calistoga, the coast north of San Francisco, it’s all part of my teenage memories thanks to explorations in the early seventies when my driver’s license was fresh, gas was cheap and the wine craze was in its infancy.  The lush greens, climate and fog turning those hills, forests, meadows and rivers, and oh those delightful vineyards into a landscape that was sensual like few other places on this beautiful Earth.  

Had I been there in earlier pioneering days, I’d have never left, (once I got Yosemite out of my system).  In 2014 I was happy to see, though much more crowded, too crowded, those coastal valleys were holding their own and remained gorgeous beyond words.  I gloried in the area and the good fortunate of experiencing it once again basically as I remembered it from those earlier decades when it all seemed so eternal.

Still, all the while I found myself brooding on the reality that these happy innocent days were numbered.  Indeed, were I back on that balcony I'd be looking at a distant burned hillside probably with a few charred mansions dotting that exclusive terrain.  Before long some torrential rain storms will trigger mudslides further rearranging the area.

Even if Calistoga is saved, the dream is over considering what happened in Santa Rosa and elsewhere.  Sure burn scares heal, hills flush green once again and people rebuild.  It’s what people have always done.  But these days are not like the days that always came before.  

The rebuilding won’t come as easy since the world’s weather patterns will continue going wacky on us and our plans. Not to forget is that the general economy can absorb only so many catastrophes.  Hotter drier summers, brutal droughts punctuated by deluges will be developing into the new normal, thus ‘hamper’ investment.  Face it, or not, season after season predictable weather patterns and fairly reliable long term planning will become more and more a thing of the past

Consider this California drought heat wind driven wildfire catastrophe isn’t even over and there’s freak’n Ophelia the 10th straight Atlantic tropical storm to become a hurricane.  Within ten weeks no less, and its heading for Ireland of all places.  While Viet Nam is suffering from torrential rains along with deadly horrendously destructive floods.  As are South Sudan, South Africa, China and that’s only this week, many more destructive events in previous weeks.

It can no longer be denied that all over the world people are declaring they have never seen anything like “this”, each wrapped within their own particular catastrophe.

While here in American We The People have given our government over to Republicans who made their careers ridiculing and then ignoring experts, climate scientists and citizens who presented the physics and observational evidence and who warned of these sorts of cascading consequences that manmade global warming would enable, if left untamed.

Rather than preparing for the increasingly adversarial weather patterns the physics told us were on the way, every effort was/is expended to delude themselves and the rest of us.  Instead of investing in education and rationally confronting real world challenges, the powers that be focused on orchestrating ignorance, cynicism, distrust and hate mongering.  

Now the most criminal of the lot are running our government and they couldn’t care less about any stinking connections between record greenhouse gas levels, record global temperatures and record destructive weather patterns and what that tells us about our future of increasing cascading consequences.

Where do we go from here?  
Why am I writing this?  
Who even gives a damned?  
What’s the point?  
Does it matter anymore?  
Why grapple with understanding today’s hopeless global reality?  

I ask myself are the masses correct?  Disconnect, embrace fantasy, pretend all is the same as it ever was.  While biding time until the catastrophe with my name on it hits?  Will that be the best modern society can muster as we move into this increasingly difficult destruction filled future of our own creation?

In my estimation no one takes our real physical Earth seriously enough.  

We are all wrapped within our little sphere’s of awareness, ambitions and connections to society, most have become oblivious to our mother Earth and the processes that provide our life support system.  Each is powerless to impact global events so our impotents makes us apathetic towards the greater world that sustains us, while reinforcing the hopelessness of our time.  Thus ensuring the strangle hold of the ruthless characters who are currently running our country into the ground.

In the end, 
will We The People prove ourselves a waste of evolution 
and no wiser than ants and flies?

I weep for what could have been.

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