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Saturday, November 11, 2023


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

These days we ask ourselves
If the weather we are experiencing
Is typical of the month and season
But we can no longer remember
What is normal
And what is extraordinary.

For example,
Is it usual for an afternoon
In late October
To be a cloudless 90 degrees?
Maybe not,
Yet I seem to remember 
Sweltering on after-lunch yard duty
In the days leading up to Halloween
When I was a kindergarten teacher
Back in the 1990’s.
But in “Big Time”
Thirty years is just a fraction of a nanosecond ago
So what does that prove
One way or another? 
Besides, we know what’s up,
We don’t need to ask.
We are cooking the biome
With carbon
And there seems to be so little will
In high places
To turn down the heat
That we could sauté the whole planet
In a couple of generations.

Plenty of people know this.
Plenty of people are banding together
To protest, to disrupt, 
To go mano a mano
With the perpetrators.
But it is a massive undertaking
And who knows if plenty will be enough?

The little dog and I are lying on the bed
Not discussing any of this
As we look out the window
Watching yellow leaves
Detach themselves from branches
And drift slowly downward
Through the honeyed autumnal light
As they always do
This time of year. 

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s latest book is And What Will We Sing? (Kelsay Books). He podcasts at and lives with his wife Cynthia in northern California.