Climate Fears And Flaming Curtains

January 15th and there is not a drop of rain in sight. I don’t usually bother to write about the weather because it doesn’t make any difference. If it’s hot it’s hot; if it’s cold it’s cold, big deal, what are you going to do about it? But this balmy, arid, spring-like weather over the course of the first month of winter is disconcerting. One of our ornamental pear trees is already flowering—not good. We have been running the irrigation nearly as consistently as we might during the height of summer. Fortunately for us we’ve got a high water table and plenty of well water. In my nightmares though, I imagine riding my bike down to the Sacramento River in a few years time and finding a trickle the size of the creek that bisects our property gurgling along through the deepest section of the two hundred yard wide river bank, then eventually nothing—dry rock and death.

Local Knowledge

Without a desk to sit behind I find myself more or less shielded from both social media and current, on-going political crises. Essentially I have no idea what is going on out there, regionally, nationally, or otherwise. I know what’s going on here, around me, with the oaks and the emerging apples. I know when the moon is full and which direction the winds are blowing. I understand swelling radishes and burgeoning kale; forming cabbages and broccoli buds. My days are plenty full; between projects on the farm and work friends and neighbors are almost foisting upon me I haven’t had much time to stop and contemplate. My ever-present sense of urgency and impending doom is still with me. Onward, pagan soldier.

Whose Town is it, Anyway?

In Chico news I’m hearing one-sided reports that the “R-Town”—the subtext being “not your town”—campaign has been wildly successful. I’m not opposed to volunteers cleaning up trash, but the images of the eerily empty downtown plaza, exposed and barren in all its concrete glory, creep me out. A park isn’t really a park without a few folks in it, sitting and enjoying the day. I guess they made that illegal—sitting and lying down is illegal. Has anyone wrapped their head around that? Welcome to America in the year 2014. All in the name of making sure one segment of the population doesn’t have to be exposed to anything that might make them question themselves or feel uncomfortable. Keep shopping, everything is going to be okay, pay no attention to the slobbering, spark-shooting, hyperventilating android behind the curtain; and if you happen to be part of the population that has the money, go ahead, piss and puke in the streets, set couches on fire, etc. etc. Now we have an army of volunteers who are happy to clean up after you. Keep shopping, keep shopping, keep shopping. Is it my imagination, or is the curtain starting to catch fire?

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.