atmospheric river

The current flooding rivers in the Pacific Northwest (1) now are ascribed to an atmospheric river. Atmospheric rivers are long narrow weather regions that carry enormous amounts of moisture from the tropics in the sky. This sky river carries water vapor and moves with the weather, “carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River.”(2) When they make landfall, they can release the water in the form of rain or snow.

They can stall over watersheds and release huge amounts of wind and rain and cause severe flooding. The atmospheric river from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest is called the “Pineapple Express”. “On average, about 30-50% of annual precipitation on the West Coast occurs in just a few AR events and contributes to the water supply and flooding.”(2) An atmospheric river is approximately 250-375 miles wide.

“Not all atmospheric rivers cause damage; most are weak systems that often provide beneficial rain or snow that is crucial to the water supply.”(2) If it were colder we would have an amazing snow pack right now.

The bomb cyclone that came through a few weeks ago caused much less damage. An atmospheric river does not sound as dramatic, but the drone pictures of houses and cars deep in water (1) tell a different story. There is road and bridge damage and already talk of Thanksgiving travel disrupted.

(1) https://www.accuweather.com/en/winter-weather/pineapple-express-pummels-northwest-british-columbia/1047699

(2) https://www.noaa.gov/stories/what-are-atmospheric-rivers

(3) Meanwhile the Olympic Peninsula still has a section cut off: https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/flooded-roadways-cut-off-west-end/

The photographs are of the Sol Duc River, taken by a friend. The river rising and huge amounts of debris being carried down the river. The huge log in the earlier pictures that was on the other side of the river, is gone.

Sol Duc River Tuesday Oct 26, 2021
Sol Duc River Sunday November 7, 2021
Sol Duc River Sunday November 14, 2021

Next is the heading photograph, from Monday, November 15, 2021.

Sol Duc River Monday November 15, 2021. Carrying whole trees downriver.
Rialto Beach with all of the wood washed down the rivers, November 16, 2021.

I have seen the frogs

I have seen the frogs
in the northwest

all you have to do is be quiet
near the puddles
or a pond

walk there very very quietly

in the spring they are singing
to each other
calling
a symphony of longing and joy
and they don’t hear me
when I walk very quietly
at the end of the world

as a child my father teaches me
to catch frogs

very quietly
approach the pond
or puddle

if the frog hears you
it will duck under water
you will only see a ripple
spreading out

or it will hop
into the woods
and hide

my father
would occasionally use frogs
as bait
to catch northern pike
a live frog on a hook
frogs scream
when you stick a hook through their back

I hope they go into shock then
and don’t feel much

one we’d seen this
my cousins and my sister and I
when my father got his fishing rod
we’d run through the woods
yelling “Hide the frogs, hide the frogs!”
and we would catch any frog
that was dumb enough not to hide
and quickly set it in the woods
to hide it from my father

we would check the puddles, too
feeling in the brownish muck
to make sure no frog was hidden
in the shallow puddle
come out, you must go in the woods
to survive

to catch the smart ones
normally
we would tiptoe to the puddle
hoping a frog was facing the other way
if they saw us, they were gone

slowly bend down, hand out
behind the frog
reach gently
grab just above the back legs
not too hard, don’t squish it

I was under ten
on a canoe trip
when I run to my father
“A frog! A frog! The biggest frog I’ve seen!
Papa, come help!”
My father comes.
An enormous frog is beside the canoe.
“Catch it.” says my father.
“Please! You catch it!” I beg.
My father creeps up on the frog.
His hand moves out slowly.
He grabs the frog, who tries to jump
and croaks, a bass, huge mouth.
“It’s a young bullfrog,” says my father.
“It will get even bigger.”
He hands it to me.
I take it carefully, shaking a little.
“We could eat it’s legs.”
“NO!” I say. I just want to hold it for a minute.
I turn it over and gently stroke it’s throat.
The frog goes limp, mesmerized.
I set it down gently, right side up,
near the water.
I squat by the frog and wait.
I am waiting for it to wake up.
The frog is so beautiful.
I wait until it wakes up
and returns home.

regarding rain, ocean and asphalt

the road is wet in the morning
northwest normal and I stop
loading the car because the rainbow
of gasoline is spread slick on the asphalt

I think this is gasoline not oil
from the size and color of the slick
I take a picture with my phone
the rainbow against the grey blue in the low light is beautiful

Is this from one car at the stop sign
or is it leaking from the street itself
as it appears and if so, what does that mean?
I comfort myself that it is not from my cars

What is happening to our environment?
where is this from? This is no doubt human
activity creating this slick. If I dropped a match
on my street would it burn in the rain?

I still want to lie on the street in the rain
sometimes tear my clothes and weep oceans howl
for love for loss for grief. If I did it here
I might be more flammable: ignition achieved

 

I already posted this photograph a week ago…. but then, a poem was published on everything2.com with this title. The title and the photograph kept rattling around in my head until I wrote a poem as well. There are four poems now with that title here: regarding rain, ocean and asphalt.

Among rocks

These are just rocks, right? We heard the birds in the rocks before we saw them: black oystercatchers. They make a wonderful  queep call and we stopped to look for them right away. They are very quick searching the rocks. This is taken with a zoom lens and I didn’t want to go closer and disturb them.

Pair

Hiking last Saturday, we both heard and alerted to a bird call. Here: song.

However, there were two, and not an alarm call.

We spotted both and then on the hike back, here they are, perched in the snag. A pair of adult bald eagles. I think it was flirting calls that we heard, or a pair talking about this year’s nest.

I am so glad that bald eagles are back in numbers…. and that we are protecting them.