End in Sight


blog post
It has been a year and 12 days since I posted “Hunkering Down” as verbatimed 1Can I claim to have coined this verb form? below.
So, with the end in sight, my first thoughts may bear repeating. Well, it’s OK for you to think not, but this is for me. And it’s my blog – so there!
But is the end truly in sight? That depends. If I knew I’d be investing in some kind of futures. My paternal grandfather invested in grain futures in the early 1920s, but that’s a story for another time. Whooops! I’ve started to stray from my intent. Seems to happen often these days.


Hunkering down is hard to do. That’s quite possibly true for our very mobile population but isn’t hunkering down what most writers do? Since most of us cannot, except by choice, avoid the current news, I’ll not mention the current required hunkering down. But didn’t I do just that did I. [I may have been watching too many British crime shows in which many statements by suspects and even detectives are followed by a question.]
OK!
It’s OK if “Breaking up is…” comes to your mind! But that could be a generational thought too. Neil Sedaka, The Partridge Family, The Carpenters, Sissel Kyrkjebø, … When I titled this blurb, the song title came to mind almost immediately. However, –I nearly always have a however– the only words in the song that might apply to a writer at his/her task are six lines starting with “Comma, comma.”

It’s difficult to not notice what season it is. I know we hear the sound of conifer branches whipped by the wind, but do weeds in the spring cry out, “Pull me, pull me?” Yep, it’s gardening time again and I’ve decided to get the planting done. As soon as the soil reaches 50 deg. Wonder if the friction of weed roots being extracted will warm it enough? In the past I’ve roto-tilled weeds and all, but the result was even more weeds is because weed seeds seem to enjoy being spread by mechanical means. So, is doing a garden a form of hunkering down? In the context of the current situation, Yes.

Back to writing. Hunker-hunker-hunker. The Sun is out, so I’ll do a little different hunker for a break – hope it’s not my back. And if you weeds have internet access, consider this fair notice.


Last year’s weeds must have had some form of social media access because they spread faster than …. ← insert your own words or thoughts to replace the … 2I couldn’t remember if ellipses was singular or plural, so I just illustrated it/them. The only edible that grew well was acorn squash. We like squash.
Since I titled this post End in Sight, I should perhaps say something about why. If the end to which I speak is a return to what we knew as normal, I believe my sight is limited. Does “yada-yada-yada” need to be cited?
“Oh, how you do carry on,” I say to myself.


My short story rejection of the month is on I, JMB Say I did, however, submit three other shorts in March.


I

Hunkering Down within Hunkering Down

blog post
This post was supposed to be “Of Slugs III” in my little series within my series on classroom and education events. However, this region is in the middle of an interruption of an interruption of life as we would have it, thus Hunkering Down within Hunkering Down.

Please do not, DO NOT, take this as a plea for sympathy or a woe is me (us) statement. All too many around us are suffering as we only hunker down within a hunker down.


Those of us who live in this region know fire in the forests isn’t unusual this time of the year. But high wind, not normal for this time of the year, came upon us. Wind and fire in the same area is very bad or worse. California has its Santa Anna winds quite often, but the same phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest is almost as rare as a salmon eating a sea lion.

We got the high wind warning and battened down the hatches. The wind came to the urban, suburban, and the forest areas. Even where there was no fire, trees went down, and power went out. Some trees falling over power lines started new fires. Dry timber fire, even when there is little wind, can move at speeds not often believed by those who haven’t experienced it. Pushed at 40 mph and higher winds, nothing stops or slows it except cessation of the wind. Tremendous human effort cannot slow it. Continuous rain is better, but in the PNW that comes later in the year.

Three evacuation levels associated with uncontrollable fire – one, get set; two, get ready; and three, go now. Many leave their homes at level two, because fire does not honor man’s boundaries on the map.

Most have heard the expression, where there is smoke there is fire. The opposite is also true, where there is fire there is smoke. The volume of smoke generated by hundreds of thousands of acres of burning timber was blown west and as satellite maps showed even miles into the Pacific. Air quality level went from good to hazardous in minutes.

Cloth face coverings already used for Covid-19 by most are as helpful for blocking wood smoke as none at all. Research shows 90% of wood smoke particles are less than one micron in diameter – bacteria averages 2 microns – talcum powder 10 microns. Short of gas masks, N95 masks are the most efficient at keeping microns from the lungs. But they and face shields do nothing for eye comfort or damage.

Campers know even a whiff of campfire smoke causes discomfort and coughing. Consider the thickest campfire smoke you’ve experienced surrounding you by 100 miles and two or three miles above you. No one can socially distance from smoke.

So, the wind stopped or nearly so. Fire advances became driven only or mostly by their own weather generation and smoke from the slowed fire advance went up for the prevailing jet stream to distribute.

So, the wind stopped or nearly so. Those micron size smoke particles blocked from rising and joining the jet stream by low level atmospheric inversion did two things. They continued to float in the air or settle to the surface.

Either way this has been far less fun for us safe from the fires than hunkering down for Covid-19 reasons. However, we know our having to hunker down a few days to stay out of the poor to hazardous air quality will end with a wind shift and some rain. Covid-19 hunkering down becomes less restrictive as we learn more, but it is still hunkering down.

Only God knows how long that will last.

We are thankful that family and friends are not in fire level 3, go now, evacuation situation, but some are in level 2 and level 1.

Remember the eruption of Mt. St. Helens? Sort of the same thing. And here we are still!
This rant is over!


Next post1I think
Of Slugs III”

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