Answers In The Wind

The winds blow, a few brown leaves still cling to the trees, the grass is no longer green but still stands in at least one ungrazed pasture. It's still warm even though it is now December and though dormant the flora looks dead. It's so dry here that the top layer of dirt is turning to dust. Some fields look overgrazed and not just on this ranch but on surrounding ones as well. The Dust Bowl, by Ken Burns, was on PBS the other night. It was the plow that contributed to the last dust bowl. Will it be the hoof that contributes to this one?

The docks at a nearby lake are all lying on the ground and drought-stage water restrictions are either implemented or will be shortly in surrounding counties. Yes the winds blow and I cringe each day they do; with this kind of drought the fire danger is high.

The winter birds arrived a short few weeks ago. Ducks on a pond, Canadian geese in a neighbors field and many smaller birds have appeared at the bird feeders. Despite the weather, the fauna behave as though the seasons are still performing normally...for whatever period of time that may be.

I want to agree with some on the news broadcasts who say how beautiful the weather is, sunny days with warm but not hot temperatures. However, I keep thinking this is just the beginning of some far out weather changes. This last Spring was really strange, everything seemed to come back to life early, then the summer with all those extremely hot days (for this area anyway).

I read in the news the other day that some part of the U.S. military was being briefed on what to expect now that climate change has arrived. A short week or so later I read that the World Bank was being briefed as well.

Our technological world of recording daily weather information is really a short record on the scale of time. As the Earth wobbles on its axis every 26,000 years or so I have to wonder what weather changes the globe sees on such a scale. Glacial stades and interstades, rain and lush fauna here and deserts there. Active volcanoes go seemingly dormant only to come to life once again. Continental drift and earthquakes.

I think we have been fortunate to have lived in the time we do, when the continental U.S. as it is known now has been fairly stable. A time when droughts come and go, but thankfully not across the entire nation and not all at once. I do have concerns about the near future as crops fail in Russia, and as the breadbasket of our own country gets drier. Just what does the history of weather look like for our country over the course of the 26,000 year axial precession of the planet?

Still the winds continue to blow...