Dear President Biden,
According to my NWS phone app we hit 104 yesterday late afternoon. At least that’s the high that was indicated when I checked around 5pm, at which point it had dropped to a mere 100. Later, however, the app listed the high as 102. Who the hell knows? Whatever the high was, it was way too high. Same deal with today – whatever the high ends up being, whether it’s 102, 104, 106 or higher, it will be way too high.
I don’t know if I’ve made this clear yet, but as challenging as the misery of the moment is, it’s really what it portends that has me, and most everyone I know, tied up in big balls of angst. And dread. We know that most all of us will make it through this particular ordeal alive and not permanently scathed in any overt way. We’ll have lost some sleep and we’ll have lost some productivity because it’s too damn hot to concentrate, but most of us aren’t going to succumb to heat stroke. But some of us will. And those of us who don’t will have to wonder if it’ll be our turns next time or the next time or the time after that. Basically, none of us believe that this is really a “once in a thousand year” Pacific Northwest heat event (I read that somewhere yesterday but didn’t save the cite – sorry). We don’t have crystal balls so we don’t know whether this is going to be the new (horrible) normal or whether such heat waves will come sporadically, like just every other year.
You have grandkids so you probably know some about how young people are feeling about all this (along with gun violence, racism, sexism, off-the-rails-consumerism/capitalism, trans- and homophobia….). I sure hope you’re spending time with them and giving them space to talk about their dreams and their fears. And I hope you find some other young people, young people who don’t look like mini-yous, young people who’re Black and Brown and/or poor and living in the segregated cities and towns where their future earning potentials dramatically lag those of their peers of color who grew up in more integrated or predominantly White areas (see this report from Berkeley documenting these realities) and who’s neighborhoods are being hit hardest by global warming like they’re hit hardest with everything. The young people we know are looking haunted and it seems to me they’re having a much harder time pretending that it’s reasonable to care about making “good” decisions now to prepare for their futures.
I know this isn’t a news flash to anyone, but young people are struggling and while many of them will be skeptical no matter what you do, this would be a very good time to engage your empathy super powers and to NOT LET UP ON PUSHING THE CLIMATE CHANGE portions of the human infrastructure bill.
One last thing before I sign off to get more ice water…. Laura’s been setting out bowls of water for the birds and last night we got to watch two bees take advantage of the offering. Initially, one of them circled the bowl rather tentatively, as if it were trying to figure out how to get at the water. It eventually set down on the rim and made some up and down beelines on the outside of the bowl before it was joined by another bee, at which point they both plopped into the water and motored around in fast, buzzy little circles. I didn’t realize that bees can swim, let alone swim fast, but clearly they can.
Laura was worried they couldn’t get out and had gotten up to help them (eek!) when all on their own they each crawled up the straight side of the bowl to the rim, shook a tiny bit, and then flew off like it was nothing (because it was nothing to them).
May we all stay safe in the midst of “weather events.”
May we all be willing to deal constructively with what’s real.
May we not fool ourselves that we can use the strongest amongst us as our barometer.
May we accept that the situation is dire.