Good golly…earthquakes in DelMarVa, epic tornadoes in the midwest, Vermont washing away in floods, and now central Texas is burning. Tsunamis and typhoons in Japan. Epic flooding in Asia. Rains of dead fish and birds around the world. What’s next? Mount Hood or Mount Ranier blowing it’s top and obliterating the Pacific northwest? The Big One in LA, or San Francisco falling off into the sea? An asteroid smacking directly into Australia? I’m starting to wonder if the 2012 people are right, and we’re seeing the End of Days. Or maybe Harold Camping just had a rounding error, and the Rapture is really coming off next month.
Or is it just Ming the Merciless, and the next thing we have to look forward to is the Hot Hail!
Really, this is awful. The last two years have presented a spectacular array of natural disasters and catastrophes, and I don’t include the bank bailout or the global economic meltdown in that listing. Those were purely human-made, and besides, they happened outside of my time range.
I hardly know where to look next – right now, we’re under a flash flood advisory, because we definitely need some more rain to mess up the crops. Vermont got it in the neck again last night with flash flooding, and I think they’re probably still under the alert with Massachusetts. That is just what they need to help along the massive volume of road repairs.
Meanwhile, Texas is getting it in the neck right now with wildfires, thanks to the worst drought in history. These are qualitatively different from the big wildfires that burst out in the spring, because the part of Texas that is currently getting nuked is densely populated. Lot of houses, lot of people, lot of critters in that area. Cattle, horses, all kinds of things that are challenging to load up in the family sport-ute and drive out of harm’s way. Bastrop was right on my route of travel between College Station, where I went to grad school, and San Antonio, where friends and family live. It’s a beautiful area with a magnificent forest – and one of significant biological interest, the Lost Pines – and lots of people, lots of houses, lots of livestock. And usually, it’s not tinder-dry – it’s in the part of the state that is close enough to the Gulf Coast to pick up summer rains. But that’s not helping this year, in fact, many of my friends in Houston – a town that was carved out of swamp and jungle, and which cannot be considered “dry” – have been posting all summer about how the water mains are breaking and the foundations and walls of their houses are cracking as the ground dries out and shifts. I’m less surprised by the fires northwest of Austin. This area of the state can reasonably be regarded as “arid” – and when I moved there in 1985 and the population was less than a quarter of its current values, we were having to ration water every summer. Now it’s overpopulated as hell, and thanks to some deals that were evidently written by Satan’s Legal Team and signed in blood by politicians 30 years ago, there’s been massive building on areas that are supremely unfit to support even the lightest density of population.
I know how the summers in Central Texas go. Your day is not complete until you have sent up a prayer/request/spiritual invocation/poured energy out into the universe/lit a candle, and the general content of these requests is the same: Dear God Please Send A Tropical Storm Into The Gulf And Send Us Some Rain. As much as I loathe and despise Rick Perry as a fanatic and incompetent, when he held his prayer rally/raindance earlier this summer, he was just participating in this Accepted Central Texas Tradition.
The irony is that the Tropical Storm has been delivered, only someone got it wrong (probably Rick Perry) and it brought the rain to Vermont instead of to Central Texas – all Central Texas is getting are the winds, which are making these fires so much worse.
Speaking of the politicians, I cannot help but feel that nutwing wack-jobs like Michelle Bachman and the rest of her ilk are not helping the situation by insisting that [insert catastrophe here] is some kind of evidence of the Wrath of God Falling on the Heads of the Unrighteous. I can understand her heaping that judgment on Gotham City, but I don’t understand how this explains the repeated haboobs that have plagued Arizona all summer and now the fires raging across Texas – these are hardly bastions of Liberal Sin. Or the Joplin tornado, wiping out one of the strongholds of the Tea Party. It also doesn’t explain Japan.
There’s always the specter of Harold Camping, though…or the Mayan calendar. Perhaps the End Is Nigh, after all. Or it is Ming the Merciless, and we must turn our eyes to Flash! Gordon! Or, maybe, it’s just global climate change exacerbating La Nina – that’s got my vote, personally.
I was getting ready to cut loose with some of my A+ barbeque recipes, but in light of what’s going on in Texas, that just seems tacky.
And I’m at a loss to find a suitable picture. I’ll post resources to help out the homeless Texans when they start to become available. In the meantime, the advice the Bastrop Public Information office provided will have to do: evacuate early, and pray. Because, horribly, there doesn’t seem to be anything else to do.