27 March 2022
Looking out the window at the heavens the other day reminded me of the old saying:
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
Apparently there is some truth to this, I discovered. A red sky indicates that there is a high-pressure cell in the west, meaning nice weather. Sounds a bit fishy, but I just read it in a blog – so it must be true.
But this isn’t a high-pressure cell. It’s dust from the Sahara. It often gets blown northwards to Europe at this time of year, coloring the sky this strange, muddy orange hue.
Nobody knows who invented sayings like this red sky weather predictor, although this particular one seems to originate from the Bible. I read that in another blog, but this guy even provided a quote.
Whoever these resourceful raconteurs were, I hope they passed their creative genes on to their descendants. Global warming is responsible for the increased dust storms in the Sahara and is presenting us with all kinds of new weather occurrences that are wanting for their own perspicacious proverbs. Like this:
Orange sky in spring, such an odd thing
Orange dust on the car, at least it’s not tar.
The word “tar” reminds me of my father, an original I-never-wanted-to-be-a-mechanic kind of guy, which is understandable since in real life, he was an engineer. But to save money, he tinkered around the house as a carpenter, tile layer and mechanic. To save money on whatever real mechanics use to fix holes in the body of a car, he used tar to patch up parts of our second-hand clunkers.
Did I say second-hand?
I meant fourth hand.
It’s easy to imagine that as you progress through pairs of hands of progressive owners, the car slowly disintegrates and naturally gets closer and closer to the road – to the tar.
But getting back to global warming and sayings, there are so many new topics just waiting to be tapped into. For instance, winters are getting progressively warmer. That ski vacation won’t look so promising a few years down the road:
We boarded the gondola
To the top of the slope
But did we see snow there?
The answer is “Nope!”
Birds and bees are dying in record numbers, too. Some birds have been saved from the brink of extinction by massive human intervention (to reverse the previous massive destruction wreaked by humans). Take the Herculean effort and millions of dollars spent on saving the California Condor, North America’s very own vulture and my brother’s favorite bird flashcard. As for the bees, the Chinese are already artificially pollinating their orchards.
It sounds like something from science fiction, but it is very real. Almond and fruit farmers in California aren’t pollinating by hand – yet – but they are just one step behind: they put their bee colonies in trucks and drive them around to different orchards. They even rent hives from beekeepers across the country to maximize the amount of pollination. And if that isn’t bizarre enough, the hives are being increasingly stolen.
It seems like the saying “Busy as a bee” would have to be adapted to this new reality, too. After all, if bees disappear, people will no longer be able to observe them buzzing around collecting pollen and nectar.
As for the dusty Sahara sky, I’m sorry to say that my very first thought when I saw this was: did a bomb go off? Is this the fallout? Or did the Russians blow up Chernobyl after all? After just a few moments, I realized what it really was. Just dust. The thought of what is happening in Ukraine – and what else could be happening – put the Sahara dust back into perspective.
I’ll take the dust.