Last week I wrote the first of this series of articles on global weirding and the fragmentation of our world.
This’ll be a focus on a little local weirding here in Gawler. It probably won’t apply to your locale, but the principle is there…
Nearly every day I get out and about and chat with people. Out this way, conversation usually turns to the weather, plants or animals.
Country folk tend to be an observant lot and for many of them, their livelihood depends on watching the weather.
So, when usually taciturn, ultra-conservative farmers see fit to tell me that something is out of whack, I listen.
I don’t think I’ve had many chats where someone hasn’t said ‘it’s the first time I’ve seen that’ or ‘that hasn’t happened before’.
‘That’ could be early lambing, weird cloud formations, heat, rain – many things that folks who are in some degree in tune with natural processes see as being to some degree different to the ‘normalcy’ of farm life they are used to.
Things are getting weird.
City folks too are noticing stuff, though they tend to be more insulated from the emerging phenomena. The interesting thing is that in conversation with city dwellers, they seem to be more aware of global or at least national phenomena than they are of the local.
The one thing that unites all these folks are observations on the heat and the patterns of rainfall.
For me though, it’s the variabity of the wind that tells me things are changing. Wind is, after all a result of variations in the heat and humidity of the atmosphere.
One interesting local observation is that the direction of the Winter wind has changed – not a huge amount but rather than tending to come from perpendicular to our southerly fence line, it comes more from the corner where the driveway meets the road. That’s still southish but is about 5 degrees different.
Now that isn’t a huge amount in anyone’s books and the southerly wind brings the rain here and its been doing a good job of that. My interest is in the possible direction of the Summer winds.
If these winds are off by as much, they will escape the amelioration effect of the vegetation belts northward of Gawler and will blow, literally, straight from the desert.
Looking at normality, we usually experience a day or two of this every year. Those days really suck! They’re not the hottest days that we get but the dry, lifeless wind, chock full of positive ions (negative ions are good for you) blows all days in the low to mid 40s (that’s Centigrade, of course).
Last year produced a spike in the number of those days. On those northerly days, folk’s allergies go into overdrive and everyone’s mood plummets into surliness and frustration. If you’re trapped in one of the heat islands that we call cities, then it’s all too much for some folks. One thing that freaks some folks out is the increase in the number of low flying spotter planes looking for early signs of bushfires. Until a few years ago, there were so few that we had to be looking for them to notice them. Then there’s the dust.
Those days bring us dust from the dry interior of our continent, plus more from the agricultural land that has been stripped of vegetation and later abandoned to sheep grazing. Respiratory problems increase in frequency and severity and medical services feel the load.
Last year, I jokingly took half a bucket of dust that I’d swept from our backyard and took it to our neighbour and said to him ‘here, you can have your garden back’! Luckily he appreciated the humour and shared a much needed beer.
It’s an interesting thing that a Chiropractor that I used to visit would watch out for certain weather events and when they occurred, would put on extra staff to cope with the increase of patients.
So, all that was an example of local weirding, weather is changing. If the wind changes, that has repercussions on rainfall, vegetation growth, pollination and our direct health. As part of our Patchwork approach to fragmentation we need to be observant of these ‘little’ things because in this period of non-linearity, little things can become big things so quickly and mundane problems grow wicked…