« Speaker Circuit | Main | New Fast Company: Vampire Loads, White Roofs, and the Quest for Efficiency »

The Return of El Niño

I've been awakened several times this week at 4am by 30+ mile-per-hour winds ripping through the bushes in the backyard, pushing the soaked metal table around on the stone patio. The rain is loud, but the wind somehow more disturbing, foreboding. And there's at least another week more of this to come.

California (and the western US as a whole) needs the rainfall, to be sure, but the intensity of the inundation in an El Niño cycle can itself be destructive -- flooding, mudslides, trees and power lines blown down, and so forth. California natives (like me) often joke about local news turing half an inch of rainfall into an OMGSTORMWATCH'010!!! environoia event, but when we're looking at getting close to a half-season's worth of rain over the course of a couple of weeks, the hyperbole is almost warranted. And rainfall arriving in torrential bursts doesn't soak in and store up as readily as slower, more spread out, showers.

And so our weather becomes a metaphor: we need the rain; the rain arrives, but it does so in a way that doesn't actually help much, and undermines other aspects of our lives. Sound like anything else going on these days?

Maintaining optimism when the storm is approaching its peak is difficult, at best. It's easy to fall victim to the 4am darkness. And, just maybe, it's good to let ourselves have that moment of despair. It's the despair, the fear, the sorrow that lets us truly appreciate the opportunities to act that will eventually come. The calm, clearing skies never look so good as they do after a terrifying storm; the tree limbs and broken fences littering the streets confirm the power of the wind and the rain, but in the breaking sunlight seem less like a nightmare made real, and more like a challenge to be cleared.

Comments

You're having like a Ray Bradbury moment [ did you take a Vicodin ? ] ~

"And so our weather becomes a metaphor: we need the rain; the rain arrives, but it does so in a way that doesn't actually help much, and undermines other aspects of our lives. Sound like anything else going on these days?"

Um... sex?

We need the rain, but next year we surface-dwellers may pay hell for it, as much of the heat accumulated by the ocean is released into the atmosphere. I'm a bit worried, with NASA GISS and HAD-CRU (haven't looked at the others) predicting next Summer to be a new record high globally.

Winter and Summer, El Niño brings climate extremities to the surface.

Post a comment

All comments go through moderation, so if it doesn't show up immediately, I'm not available to click the "okiedoke" button. Comments telling me that global warming isn't real, that evolution isn't real, that I really need to follow [insert religion here], that the world is flat, or similar bits of inanity are more likely to be deleted than approved. Yes, it's unfair. Deal. It's my blog, I make the rules, and I really don't have time to hand-hold people unwilling to face reality.

Archives

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered By MovableType 4.37