Cliff Mass, meteorologist extraordinaire at the University of Washington in Seattle, has a weather blog that is very interesting if someone cares about what happens up here in the Pacific Northwest weatherwise. Skydivers care very much, since you need clear skies to get altitude (the FAA says you can't jump through clouds) and there are usually lots of clouds around here all year long. But not lately. Cliff has been talking about the usual "June gloom" that sets up around here like this (a quote from his May 18 post):
Additional showers will roll in tomorrow...but the remainder of the week and Memorial Day weekend looks good. But June gloom is threatening as the atmosphere over the Pacific become more stable as high pressure builds northward. A stable atmosphere allows the lower atmosphere to moisten and saturate... producing a huge stretch of low clouds that invades western Washington.Well, Memorial Day came and went a week ago, and although we did have a couple of sprinkles last Tuesday, it's been nonstop beautiful around here. Today is bordering on TOO HOT, at 83 degrees F. Almost Colorado-like blue skies.
Yesterday (Sunday) we went to Snohomish and I made some wonderful skydives with some wonderful people; Skratch jumped too, and then we came home, feeling tired in a good way. Because our finances are limited, I wouldn't have gone jumping for a third weekend in a row, but the June gloom is threatening at some point to limit our skydiving. I just now looked at the long-range forecast and it looks like next weekend it will also be beautiful! Today is only the first day of June, so who knows what the weather gods have in store? Gotta take your fun when it's offered, right?
I'm a little sore after yesterday, with some mysterious bruises which always seem to show up after a day of skydiving, usually on my arms or shins. Today I got my usual tea and read the electronic news in bed and saw that a plane with 228 souls went down. Nothing shocks me quite as much as a plane going down, since I travel a fair amount. The whole problem of not having any control over one's fate bothers me. This Air France plane apparently didn't even have time to send out a distress signal. I look at the faces of those grieving for their lost family and get angry at the photographers who stick their cameras into the faces of the bereaved in order to give us a vicarious hit. But I look, I imagine: if it were me, either gone or left behind.
When the Romans threw Christians to the lions in front of a crowd, or watched gladiators fight each other to the death, it was the same: to give the onlookers a vicarious thrill. What is it about the human psyche that does that? I don't know. But here's another point of view: last week I was watching one of my favorite scenes, the eagle's nest in Sidney, Vancouver Island. A camera was put in there before the eaglets hatched. This year there are three, and they are almost ready to be fledged. I watched the downy babies grow, watched them being fed mice and fish and other small catches, but they are now almost all three the size of their parents.
Mom and Dad Eagle are now bringing pretty big game up to the eaglets, and last week they caught a rabbit and brought it up. Well, unfortunately for me, the rabbit was alive as it was devoured by the eagles, and it didn't die soon enough for me. I don't think I'll be watching much any more.
Plus I've learned that the eagle parents will just stop feeding their young soon, and once they get hungry enough they will need to learn for themselves how to fly, how to hunt, how to be eagles. Only 50% grow to be adults. This means that my favorite, Tink (who was born a week after the others), will probably not make it, and I just don't want to see it. I still find myself guiltily checking out the nest. They were just recently given names by birth order, Breeze (born on a windy day), Hero (helped Tink), and Tink. Apparently all the humans who have been watching every day had a contest to name them. You can see that they are just about ready to fledge, trying out their wings and almost getting out of the nest by mistake.
Life is not so easy, is it? I wonder sometimes about us humans. I guess we, with all our myriad emotional reactions to the world are a legitimate part of it... aren't we?