An Uncommonly Bright Idea

Harry Drabik

We live during interesting times. The chill summer along the north shore (my petunias are forced to wear sweaters and toques) has renewed fervor among some locals in the debate over global warming. For those preferring less bombast and passion, it is best to avoid these debates, as they typically veer widely between this group of “scientists” and that while nit-nit-nitpicking away over categories of language that can’t help but vex a mind wishing to be calm and untroubled.
The distinction between climate and weather is real and valid, but the apparent temperature trend we seem locked into makes it difficult to accept global warming as we rub our hands for warmth. Having a few times been near such discussions, I’d as soon be on Jupiter’s frozen moon, Europa, circling well outside the great debate raging within its bands of swirling clouds. Frozen Europa is close enough to such turmoil for me, though I confess it is amusing to see a debater’s pulse rise like a throbbing embolism poised to cut short argument with a rush to the ER.
So, if you value sanity and calm, I advise staying removed from the assorted circles of climate change. You’re better off with simpler topics such as the peaceful side of terrorism or why (and here IS a good one) why the wise and blissful Saudi Kingdom has recently concluded that atheism is a form of terrorism more dangerous than any, which of course does not include the form of extremism they fund and that bears fruits in places like Nigeria, the Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Thailand, and Egypt. The spawn of Saudi theology holds blowing up an elementary school with children in Russia or selling Nigerian schoolgirls of the wrong religion as missionary acts, but saying Big Al the Boogey is Bogus make one terroristic.
One thing about Saudi-style rule (government and theology being equal partners in the great hoax) is its ability to make even the most fractious Western-based debate appear to shine with reason and sense, common and otherwise. I’ll be blunt. Every time a Saudi leader steps forward to make pronouncements dressed in his best ball gown and tiara, I am ever joyful I am here and not there. Saudi foreign policy fretting over atheist terrorism (the last time you heard of an atheist suicide attack was?) and doing so with an utterly straight (despite the counter-indication of the speaker’s pretty gown) face makes Obama administration foreign policy seem half-okay, that is if you don’t look at either half too closely and are not particular about reality or result.
Compared to world events and religious prejudice masquerading as justice, a little thing like a cold, wet, non-summer becomes a lot more tolerable. It may be even desirable. I’d gladly live in a climate so awful and extreme that such missionaries as those would content themselves with softer and warmer fields where the breeze blowing up one’s gown is less upsetting to the placidity of the boys.
Remember when we used to think (and were told repeatedly) that communism was the great threat, when all the while the danger was in oil money fueling religious fanaticism and hatred on a global scale (that’s global scale and not global warming), far and away more widespread, dangerous, and lethal than a Bolshevik’s fantasy? If I had a book of scripture that assured me that women were the chief residents of Hell and that the “One” god decreed all Jews be killed, I’d throw the damned book away as it deserved. But when your system is so vicious and venal that doing so is a capital offense, as is any criticism of or attempt to root out old hatred, then of course your wisdom takes you to the sublime satisfaction of tumbling onto the ripe idea that atheists are the real terrorists. If your theology keeps you from examination and analysis, it does provide the compensating pleasure of mental masturbation for those long hours spent in deliberate avoidance of facing facts.
I suppose I should eventually get at the bright idea mentioned to begin with. As I was putting on my parka, choppers, and insulated boots the other day to go outdoors, I thought how drab these things were and how un-summery they looked. Against a backdrop of snow, a heavy jacket of any shade but white stands out in colorful contrast to the surroundings. So if, as seems the case, we will need heavy clothes most of the “warm” months, let us at least insist they be bright as summer blooms. The flowers I’ve put outdoors are doing about as well as if I’d shoved them in the refrigerator and left the light on. The only plus is that this “tundra” seems to grow grass more slowly, so less mowing. But otherwise my gardening has borne but theoretical results in the form of some buds not sure if it is June or October, while others (the tuberous begonia in particular) have got as far as looking like blanched asparagus before stopping with a few stunted leaves that say clearly as if in bold writing, HELL NO, IT IS TOO DARN COLD!
I agree. It is too cold when I daily stoke an all-night fire burning wood as if it were autumn instead of midsummer. If the climate is against us, who can be for us but our own selves? So let us call for an enterprising clothier to supply flowery cold-weather wear so that we can form moving bouquets as we go about our shopping. Wouldn’t it be pleasing to see a pair of sunflower parkas flank a bright pink hydrangea coat at the checkout, or enjoy swirls of snapdragons, coleus leaves, and bluebells dancing around a gas pump? The only climate I can change is my own. This is not a global or theological issue. It is simply a decision to look chill facts in the eye and state firmly, “You’ll not freeze my mood, not yet you won’t, or ever if I can help it.”