Same River Twice

Since last week, we’ve been watching the weather forecast with something that’s almost joy, but won’t quite let itself be. Often, the weekly report has a beaded string of sunshines, with different ways to describe them. Abundant sunshine. Plenty of sun. Hot. Sometimes, there are clouds. But even when the slot machine lineup of my weather […]

Redux: Water Year

This post first appeared on October 8, 2015, when I was still hopeful that a good strong El Nino could hold off California’s water problems a while longer. Where I am, it didn’t work. One of our reservoirs is now at 7 percent capacity. At another, the dam worker now needs water trucked in to […]

Water Year

It’s October, the start of a new water year. A water year is one of several ways to measure rainfall. This way, water year 2016 starts now–when we hope the rain will begin–and will end in September. A rainfall year runs from July to June, a buffer of dry season on either side of when […]

New Arrivals Daily

The park where I first saw the dog is a patch of green that’s separated from the mountains by several highways and several hills. There’s a coast guard station on one side, houses on the other, a mid-speed thoroughfare bordering its front. Early one morning, when it was foggy and my eyes were foggy, too, […]

Dust on our crust

Spring is a nervous time for skiers and farmers. I’m both of these, and every April I watch the weather even more closely than usual. As a skier, I’m waiting for crust — the year’s most magnificent snow conditions. Spring’s warm temperatures compress the winter’s deep snowpack and when the freeze/thaw cycles line up just […]

When is it time to revise our story?

Today’s post began with a social media status update by my friend Paolo Bacigalupi. Paolo wrote: At what point does a “drought” become an “arid climate?” Paolo posed his question months ago, and at first glance, it seemed like nothing more than a jab at Texan politicians like Rick Perry, who deny climate change even […]

Calling 911 in the Maya World

In the early 8th century A.D., the great Maya city state of Tikal reached the zenith of its sophistication and power. Its kings sipped frothy chocolate and smoked elegant cigars in their chambers, listening to the music of trumpeters and drummers. Its painters rendered brilliant court scenes on vases. Its architects designed pyramidal masterpieces that […]