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Rain, Bears, and Ramen Soup

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This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, August 19, 2009.

One of the things I hate about college students coming back to Boulder is not restricted to the fact that lovely young women smile at me with concern as they hold open doors, or that young men automatically refer to me as 'sir,' even though that does bug me no end. It's that the days are suddenly filled with sirens, wailing away as they converge upon some yahoo's rented room when he burned his Ramen miso soup and set off the smoke detectors, or that airheads-in-training somehow set their entire apartment building afire by means of gasoline encouraged charcoal or by the inferno of candles in the bedroom. There seems to be more this year, judging from my current foul mood, upon which I base all reality. I'm in ill temper and paranoid. More so, rather.

Since I spent the first part of the summer ill and inside, I'm getting crabby about the increase of cloudy days in Boulder cutting down my returned ability to walk all over. I recall no summer like this one for rainy days. On the upside, were green as can be, and the air, once the sun warms it, is like a dose of speed, it feels so good. But it also feels strange, and not a little upsetting. And, as I say, I'm paranoid. And irritable.

There's nothing quite debatable about climate change, generally discussed under global warming, and I suspect a theory I heard a few years back may be playing out. It was an article on the WEB, I think, and it was postulating how a warming atmosphere might affect specific spots in our state. I cannot find it at present, but you can trust me, right? Hey, before I forget, can you cash this check?

The Banana Belt of Colorado, which is the Boulder area, famous for its mild winters that quickly melt the few blizzards of note we get, is going to leave the category of High Desert with only 12 of moisture in snow and rain a year, into a new high rain forest category. I suspect we're well past the 12 level already, but we might be looking at twice as much for a normal year for the rest of our lives. While there would still be years of drought, overall this theory says that because of the change in jet stream courses and increased world wide atmospheric humidity, we're going to be more like Seattle than Phoenix. But, the rainy season or monsoon, as it's called, will be starting late December through middle of summer. This change would find different presentations around Colorado, and would mandate serious schedule changes for ski areas as well, for those not scheduled to dry up completely. Skiing into July, having started in January, as if the seasons moved forward two months.

Although I see no official verification anywhere, the Great Plains which start about fifteen feet from my door - seem to be getting more vicious tornado and thunderstorm activity than I recall as well. I've never seen a tornado, a deprivation I cherish, and I wonder if this is a short term cycle increase of dangerous weather or farmers are going to have to adjust to a Spring and Fall growing season as opposed to planting and harvest.

While we resonate today with the horror of bears in the middle of the night entering a house and attacking the owner, as just happened in Aspen last week to a woman who did not encourage the visit, we might want to wonder if animals, sensing the change, are altering their normal habits. In Boulder, we have mountain lions and bears in the city proper in increasing numbers each year, assuring the inevitable small child mauling in the fenced family yard in our future. If the snows stay heavy late in the year, animals normally feeding up in mountain meadows head down, and the carnivores follow, and they discover human garbage cans and open windows and unlocked doors. Once down and fed, the trek back upland seems unnecessarily exhausting, and so they may stay through the winter. Or nearby, anyway. Wouldn't that be fun?

Of course, I'm just paranoid, and people smarter than I - yes, there are some - suggest climate change isn't quite that fast and animals are unlikely to be that quick to adapt and in any case it's simply a matter of increased population of both our species and theirs to which we owe the violent encounters of late. So maybe, it's mathematically possible, I'm wrong to believe that article.

Its probably just because I smell Ramen soup going south in my apartment hallway.