A bright summer day, the late afternoon shadows lying deep under the spreading trees. A sea breeze sways the branches as the odd cloud momentarily blocks the sun.
We are still awaiting rain as the earth is parched by strong sun and wind. The humidity has been consistently high but does little to ease the drought.
We are well into what climatology tells us are the two hottest weeks of the year. Indeed, while last week’s intense heat has been replaced buy temperatures in the eighties, there is but brief relief from the grinding heat and humidity.
It seems that dry, hot summers are the new norm. We are in year six of an extended drought and I wonder when we last saw a year with normal precipitation of about 52″.
We have settled into a more stagnant, Mediterranean climatic regimen but our local ecosystem is adapted to a temperate regimen of frequent rain and mild temperatures. Plants are stressed and brushfires have become increasingly frequent, especially in the western part of the state.
We are, of course, not alone. As predicted by climate models, drought has become the new norm for much of the country. As time goes by my beloved tall grass prairies, now converted to wheat monoculture, will move steadily north and Canada will become the breadbasket of North America. The shortgrass prairies at the southern end of the prairie biome will move north, and their present range will become semi-desert.
Oddly, drought and the war in the Ukraine, while driving up food prices here and in Europe and Africa, has not resulted in more discussion about rising global food insecurity even as shortages grow more likely due to climate change and resulting warfare. It is as if we are collectively incapable of escaping consumerist entertainment culture long enough to notice “which way the wind blows.”
Prophesy from many traditions tells us that if we destroy our world another will arise from the ashes. Prophesy also encourages us to notice our trajectory, hold close that which is beautiful even as it is threatened, cultivate joy and creativity, and work together to establish the conditions for a new world. The emerging world, whether the fifth or sixth (but who’s counting), will arise even if it takes a million years. Whether we humans are part of that renewal is largely up to us.