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You may be wondering where I am. Or you may be a fan of William’s essays and didn’t even realize I was missing. I’m still here but there were a couple of things that happened recently. The first is that I *finally* got another job. It took long enough. And while it’s more suitable to whatever strengths I have, it’s still taking some creative problem solving skills. I’ll say no more at this time. Just saying that my mental elves are doing other stuff right now.

The second thing is I sprained my ankle. So, all that fitness work was for nought. It’s much better than it was a month ago but it’s taking a longer time than I like to be as good as new again and I am impatient.

Today, I’m taking a road trip to see the fall colors. Summer has lingered in Pittsburgh, maybe even overstayed its welcome. The temperatures have been in the 70s and low 80s. I still have peppers and eggplants growing in the containers on my patio. There is a fall colors festival in Clarion, PA. So off I go. The trees in Pittsburgh have little fall color. It looks mostly dry. You have to drive almost 2 hours north before you see leaves just starting to turn.

It’s too facile to pass it off as an artifact of climate change but difficult to pass it off as anything else. Europe had a crap summer with low temps and rain. Is that also a sign of climate change because of the decreased salinity of the water flow from the Gulf of Mexico to the west coasts of Europe? Where did I read that as a consequence of glacial melt?

There are shortages again. The global supply chain has bern disrupted by covid and a trade domino effect. Add that to the tendency towards strong men and it all feels a bit like one of those Fall of Civilizations podcasts. Each civilization seems to have been preceded by a natural disaster. Then pestilence. Then the trade routes are disrupted. Then the enforcers of civility are distracted. Then the sea peoples start marauding, the whole world goes to hell and the dark ages descend on us. What was it like for the people who witnessed the end of their civilization? Did they realize what was happening? Did they say, “well, that’s the end of the Bronze Age, people. Let’s head for the hills.” Or “The Romans just left Albion. So, that’s not good.”

Or a Hari Seldon type manifests the Foundation into being and the encyclopedists head to the edge of the galaxy to the appropriately named Terminus to keep the flame of civilization going until the barbarian hordes stop killing each other.

Not all natural disasters end in a dark age. It’s been argued that the bubonic plague of the 14th century lead to the scientific revolution and enlightenment two centuries later by eliminating the clergy and aristocracy that kept everyone else from defying the natural world order and trying new things. In our current era, it’s Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema who are playing this role. I’m not sure why it is that quality of life solutions that the rest of the developed world takes for granted are somehow *bad* for Americans. We really must be exceptional.

The thing is the world feels like it is standing on the edge of a knife. “Stray but a little and it will fall.”

The question is, which way?

10 Responses

  1. Hi, RD! I am glad that you are there, and essentially okay! I am happy to write essays, which I hope are enjoyable and stimulating, but of course we need yours, too! It is your blog,and you have gallantly continued with it, despite any personal or global issues; and that is very impressive and encouraging.

    I hope your new job is rewarding, of course. And that you will have time to write some essays here, too! I don’t want to run out of topics! We have no fall colors here, really, but I hope you might put some of yours on here.

  2. I’m sorry about your sprained ankle, RD. I hope it isn’t too painful and that you will feel better soon.

    We usually have beautiful fall foliage. It’s something we look forward to every year. So far, this year, it’s just pathetic. The weather is dry and hot for October. Leaves are turning brown and falling off the trees. Over the summer, songbirds were dying of some mysterious disease. Now we don’t see or hear them at all. It’s quite bleak.

  3. “Europe had a crap summer with low temps and rain. Is that also a sign of climate change because of the decreased salinity of the water flow from the Gulf of Mexico to the west coasts of Europe? Where did I read that as a consequence of glacial melt?”

    Well, the models have been predicting that for a couple of decades so it could have been anywhere. The big question is how it will affect food supplies in Europe should it get much worse.

    Hope the new job works out well and that the ankle heals, speedily and soon. Much as we enjoy William’s musings, you’ve been missed.

    • The ones who really are going to have a food problem in Europe it seems is the UK. Since Brexit they have been having major problems getting anything imported or exported for that matter. People will be pulling out their Victorian cookbooks trying to figure out how to cook what is available from English farms.

  4. Best of luck with your new job and hopefully a smooth recovery for your ankle! It does feel like the world is on the edge of crisis…definitely feels that way for this country, with the GOP working as hard as they can to be able to control the outcome of future elections. I guess we might be, um, “lucky” enough to be living in one of those collapse of civilization times? The only slight silver lining is that when something is destroyed, something new is created….

  5. I tore a ligament in my ankle and it took forever to heal. The doctor told me that I would have been better off breaking my ankle. I hope you heal up soon and find some fall foliage on your trip!

  6. Good luck with the new job and I hope you can get moving soon.
    Let’s hope we make it through these times, worrying about it is the downside to being a concious human being.

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