The stars are very California this morning, December 19, a desert sky sort of feel. All one has to do is to turn inland and flee the crashing of the waves. One hour from any center of civilization pulls the same trick. Flee from Los Angeles. Flee from New York City. Flee from New Orleans. Just an hour away from anywhere will reset the deck. For better or worse. Usually worse.
Swallowed in desert dust. The brush and the mesquite. Dried-up rivulets. Heat-baked arroyos.
Or lost in green hills and property disputes. Politics aside.
Wandering in a flat and marshy land where one is not necessarily wanted. Well, that’s to be expected.
The oil companies put Louisiana under their heel long ago. Center of incarceration in all of America. Which means the center of incarceration of the entire world.
Look it up.
Good morning Ulster County, where the virgin well has not yet been entirely salted. Not yet. Not for lack of trying.
The temperature. Just right? Let’s take it. The sun also has risen. Hallelujah.
The temperature reads 30°, just below frozen. Winter must be taking a break. Friday may prove it at a reported 55°. Only days away. The high today, however, is 37°. Not great unless one is Jorgensen, but not frosty.
Today, the low tide and the setting sun coincide, which is glorious if one happens to be in a boat drifting abaft in the shoals, a line and sinker handy, at 4:28 p.m.
Sunrise shatters the calm dark breath of the earth and bangs the gong at 7:20, moves through an intermittently cloudy sky, working all day towards that low tide, nine hours and eight minutes away, the penultimate, penultimate day before the solstice. Still three days far, they say.
According to the copacetic fur trapper Dionizas who lives on Mount Tremper, there remain just 81 days of winter temperatures ahead. The coldest days are yet to come.
Now for the snow forecast we go out to Bjorn Jorgensen on Belleayre Mountain. Bjorn, can you hear me?
Bjorn: Yes, of course. I hear you very well, Johannes. But I fear you’ve said everything there is to say this morning. Are you feeling well?
Johannes: Let’s not make a big deal about it, Bjorn. This morning’s dew is full of wanderlust.
Bjorn: Johannes, it’s important to sleep with your mouth closed. I don’t mean to lecture.
Johannes: Have you seen the summit this morning?
Bjorn: Yes, Johannes. Still a fantastic view.
Johannes: Well, if you can’t count on a mountaintop …
Bjorn: Yes. Well. The temperature at the summit is a quite windy -7° Celsius. If I had foresight, flying a kite would have been a clever way to start the morning.
Johannes: Only poets and children think that way, Bjorn. And the snow?
Bjorn: I would say we received another 25 millimeters.
Johannes: Another inch then. The balance continues in the right direction. And your snowmen?
Bjorn: All they do is talk, Johannes. Perfect revolutionaries. By the way, have you noticed the moon?
Johannes: A hanging crescent this morning. A baleful serpent’s eye.
Bjorn: Yes, well, it’s quite beautiful, I thought. Serpents aside. The sun and the moon at the same time in the same sky. A neatly balanced scale.
Johannes: Well put, Bjorn. And yet the moon is starving, it sets again at 1:38 p.m.
To the day ahead.