Poof! There it Was

I’d taken advantage of the low overcast, brisk, cool wind and time off to indulge in a stroll at noon. Yes, I still wore a hat, dark glasses, and long sleeves. The hawks had been playing, the swallows swooping, and a mockingbird was harassing all and sundry. Two large vans full of preschoolers from one of the churches had taken over the park, generating much noise and stirring up lots of bugs from the grass, to the delight of the birds around. And someone had walked a dog with “digestive distress” and had not bothered to clean the sidewalk. Continue reading

Sunrise Mountains

It is not unusual, especially in spring and early summer, to see mountains on the eastern horizon at sunrise. This is not a mirage, nor is it due to my lack of caffeine while walking at a quarter before sunrise. It has everything to do with Panhandle weather, and when our monsoon-season storms come through. Continue reading

Book Review: The River, the Plain, and the State

Zhang, Ling. The River, the Plain, and the State: An Environmental Drama in Northern Song China, 1048-1128 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Print edition.

Chinese imperial management of water has been one of the critical keys to following the history of imperial after the Zhou Dynasty. Some of the bedrock work in US environmental history took as its starting point Karl Wittfogel’s “Hydraulic empire” thesis, looking at state control of water and society and how that relates to the development of both the US government and the American West. Because Chinese records are so copious, a lot of work can and has been done looking at how the Chinese lived with and coped with their major rivers and the hydraulic “systems” that developed over thousands of years. This book focuses on a small space in time and shows how the complicated interactions of state, environment, and society caused, then reacted to, and were shaped by, the Yellow River changing course between 1048 and 1128. Continue reading

Mid-May Playa 2017

So, things are settling down around the playa. There have not been any heavy, localized storms to drop concentrated rain on the lake, so the water is limited to the middle, and it’s more mud than water. But the warm-season plants are thriving.

A forb. With pretty flowers that peaked a few days before I was able to take the photo, of course.

The gradations in color mark the different rings of plants leading into the marshy area.

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Storms Seen From Below

When you live in places where you can see weather coming, sometimes for hours before it finally reaches you, you develop an appreciation for clouds and storms or wanna-be-storms seen from below. I enjoy weaving around cloud towers in the air, so long as I have a way out and they stay towers, not “Oh dear, that’s a wall with hail streamers, I do believe I’m in trouble.” And I’d just as soon be under a roof when the weather starts producing 50 kt winds, sideways rain, and Things Hiding In the Dark (aka rain-wrapped tornadoes at night).

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