Friday, January 29, 2010

Halucinating Hidden Messages

Between hikes I walk. Should I cross paths with anyone, I like to shout out a friendly greeting, “Lovely Weather!” If one is going to have a disposition, it might as well be sunny. Admittedly, I am in general quite generous with the weather. My definition of “lovely” excludes only freezing rain, hail and wind gusts above 45 mph.

Lately I’ve noticed a peculiar phenomenon. If the weather is unexpectedly fair, my exclamation of “lovely weather” is always met with a shake of the head and a statement of regret, “global warming, it’s a shame.”

Unseasonably good weather is bad. Time for self-flatulation, the sun is out. Oops, I meant to spell self-flagellation although perhaps the former would also be an appropriate way to punish ourselves (a good corollary of what the planet is experiencing).

It’s a real dilemma for hikers. The best part of hiking is getting out of doors. But the best part of hiking isn’t always getting into the weather. It's hard not to hope for fair weather. Don't do it. Don’t pray to the weather gods for sun and warmth. NO, absolutely not, not between Sept. 15th and April 15th anyway. (I said, no, you greedy little self-interested heathens!)

Global warming has turned unseasonably good weather into a depressing omen of the further ills to come.

Depressing thoughts about the ruinous state of our planet always remind me of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (RHPS). On the front of it, the film is about personal freedoms and excesses, but buried within is an environmental message.

* Spoiler Alert *

Ok, so at the end of the film, after the crazy incestuous aliens blast off… remember? What does the narrator say? “Crawling on the planet’s face, some insects, called the human race…” Poetic.

It’s a comforting sentiment. We are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We are but lice.

What? Am I the only one comforted by the thought of being a louse?

Oh, you have another objection?

Yeah, OK, global warming has started a mass extinction. It's not a first, but unlike T-Rex, we're earning our extinction. I know it's unfair to take out the seal pups and tree frogs with us on our quest for self destruction, but there is reason to hope. Alan Weisman’s “The World Without US.” has bolstered this grain of hope sown by those last poetic words in the RHPS. It’s a fascinating must-read. Don’t have time? No worries, it’s available on CD and read quite well. You can take it on your next walk or hike. Enjoy!

[I gakked the picture above from the Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club website. I gakked the word gakked from Officially Twisted].

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