By Ken Stern 

Not getting smoke in our eyes


The weather at the start of this week is cool and a bit rainy. Wet is certainly needed, as the year's precipitation deficit is a whooping 6.2 inches as we head into the heart of the Skagit's summer dry season.

A damp and cool week is a toe-in-the-water dip into a June gloom. It has been too sunny and too warm the first half of the month and many have turned off their office natural gas heating systems. Once it is gloomy though, it seems to linger.

This week's and this month's weather is just that, clouds passing by, not even minutes in the passing of the Earth’s clock, not even a mere hour in geological time, barely a blink of an eye, signifying nothing.

Shakespeare had Macbeth note: “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more. It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.”

Weather is full of sound and fury, as Saturday's AP headline stated: "Heat wave has US South sweltering, from tornado-ravaged West Texas town to Florida beaches."

Two weeks ago the page one stories were of pollution heavy air from Canadian wildfires invading the northeast, an invasion that returned to visit Michigan this past week. In British Columbia a fire will not be brought under control for months.

The smoke, fire and hot air emphasized in last week's editorial was about presidential electoral political machinations and the once in a lifetime federal indictment of a former president. Even more damning to our nation's future is the environmental existential threat of climate change, a different deadly form of hot air.

In each case, there are parties that are complicit. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week called out fossil fuel companies to turn "away from a product incompatible with human survival." Similarly, in our United States, there are those, whether fossil fuel companies or other corporations or individuals, alone or in concert in groups, working on products, perhaps petroleum, perhaps politically based, that are incompatible with human survival.

Smoke may be in their eyes. Or maybe their vision is clear. Some are certain of the reality that matches their beliefs.

What can I do? Write editorials, the modern day equivalent of ringing the schoolhouse or fire station bell. What can readers do, citizens of this fine land? Readers are car owners, they are voters, they can read and write. Readers can twiddle their thumbs or type out tweets or think and discern and choose to act, working in the best interest of their children, trying to signify something, to work to have their story told generations hence on a future stage populated by their descendants.

That is what these editorials seek to do: signify something and not be a tale told by an idiot.


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