Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Hot And Dry

Rumor has it there will never be any rain again in South Florida. That and cell phone towers are responsible for the plague. Actually March 2020 was the hottest on record and the driest in 90 years according to the Key West weather service. The cellphone tower rumor is just some madness dreamed up in England, home of mad cow disease. Their answer to coronavirus is to lock themselves up tight and pull down 5G cellphone towers.
The unusual feature of a rain free landscape in the Keys is that it doesn't have much direct effect on food and water supplies. There is no agriculture except for gardeners doing their joyous hobbies and drinking water comes an aquifer under Miami so if it doesn't rain in the Keys it doesn't affect water supplies like drought used to. 
However one ought to look a bit further afield than just the Keys because no rain is really bad for the aquifer which will absorb salt water in times of drought besides lack of rain does nothing good for the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee or South Florida agriculture. And I have noticed that around here trees are shedding leaves like crazy. Things are drying up and dust is prevalent.
Then add the sugar cane harvest in Cuba into the mix and now we have air pollution to deal with. It happens every year when they burn the cane fields to clear them and the wind blows the smoke into the Keys. The sky gets  a weird hazy effect which is very unusual for around here where sunshine and blue skies are the order of the day. 
Oh and life goes on. You don't have to die from coronavirus if you choose to breathe termite poison instead. 
Coronavirus is still around and the roads into the keys are closed and the newspaper is reporting some discussion about ending the lock down. They say the curve has flattened in the modern pandemic speak we are all supposed to adopt. However yesterday I saw only 63 official cases in the Keys (population about 75,000) and the number of deaths remains at 3 with seven hospitalized. I'm not sure how much flatter they expect the curve to become. However they have tested a mere 635 people so there is that.
I think about my relatives in Italy. strictly locked down for five weeks with no end in sight while here in Key West stay well distanced and all should be well they say. And some people mutter darkly about a government take over of civil rights. I like how Americans always kick back but I'm not worried about losing rights thanks to the virus. The virus will pass and we have no chance of losing our collective ability to remain feisty!
I have a hospital mask in the glove box of my car, a left over from my time at Jackson South when my wife was issued masks to visit me when my wound got infected. There were so many masks and gowns and gloves they hung them on the door of my room for all to help themselves:
I put my mask on before going into a store as required by city and county rules which say face coverings must be worn in stores if ten people are gathered. Frankly I am hardly ever in a store in the first place, as there's nowhere to go these days except grocery shop every other week.I did take a bike ride to Ace Hardware as the drip pan in the stove top decided to die a crumbly rusty death in the middle of the plague. Mask on, stay apart and they don't take cash to avoid touching your germs. Thank god for the electric motor as the head winds were fierce.
And if  you happened to be on Simonton Street with a bottle there is still an al fresco opening post. There again what are the chances there will be someone around with a bottle, open or closed.
I have given up paying attention to numbers as testing is vague and uncertain, and the mixture of politics butting heads with science and science not being certain about anything makes me feel as though the only way to try to cope is to do what seems right in the moment for oneself. The trouble is we don't seem very capable of common sense as a species and that leaves me wondering how long we will blunder forward making mistakes and prolonging the madness of collective lock down. 
Personally I am not a great fan of collectives and consensus decision making nor am I much of  a fan of being led and being dictated to but if we have to suppress our revulsion in the name of the public good I wish the messages we were sent made sense and remained coherent. Coronavirus is exposing a lot of rents in the fabric of public consciousness and for those that don't usually pay attention it may come as a surprise to see how well the planet copes with less human activity. Entropy is quite healthy for the planet it turns out, in case there was any doubt.
I have no doubt the lessons of coronavirus will be forgotten pretty damned quick, especially the uncomfortable lessons that point to our essential uselessness in a  planet wide crisis. Pick up a  pay check, go to the store, walk the dog. Who knew how absurdly unimportant the rest of the daily drama really was?
Rusty knew. Wise dog.