Heat n Storms
We have spent our days lazing beside clear rivers, swimming, walking a bit and picnicking. What a playground France is - Southern European life at its best. Yet move from the lush rivers and the land is parched, the soil lifts when the wind scoots over the countryside and you wonder how the trees survive.
There has been so little rain all summer long, perhaps the only people who are happy are the tourists and wine makers. Judging by the heavy bunches of grapes hanging in the vineyards it will be a bumper crop and those well ripened fruits will give the wines great character. The other day we bought some freshly picked and they were delicious!
In September usually huge thunderstorms drop their weight onto the land, causing flash floods which rip down the valleys taking everything with them. Yesterday, such a monster killed five people in Spain. However, so far this year there have been no floods here and just a couple of days of light drizzle in months.
A man of this village said that when he was young everyone went down to collect drinking water at the enormous spring which wells up from a cave at the foot of the cliff which this settlement is built upon. This past month, the spring has been dry, disturbed, people all look to the skies hoping for rain.
Many years ago, I spent my days climbing high in the Alps and my evenings relaxing by a delightful stream which meandered lazily through the wide hanging valley I had made my home. Before me, neat, interlinked Zen gardens. One afternoon a barrage of clouds invaded the lower valleys, thrashing them with lightning and violent rain. I sat upon my raised hillock with a bottle of red wine, immersed in the biblical scene as bits by bits my world were eaten up.
I went to sleep rather tipsy, only to wake to torrential rain pounding my tent and a terrible grinding sound. Opening my zip, I saw my idyllic valley had become a lake of boiling water streaming down hill with waves turning boulders the size of buses over on top of each other. Jumping out, I collapsed my frail tent, dashed to my van and drove down the mountain, crossing the only bridge minutes before it was swept away*. Those floodwaters rushed downhill and ripped apart peoples lives.
That is the power of these storms. With global warming the intensity of such events will only increase, as we saw last week in the Bahamas and yesterday in Spain. Dry areas such as this will only get drier and the swing between this and violent storms will be worse.
What to do? The problem is huge! Our governments and the businesses which control their agendas don’t really care, unsustainable expansion and profit drives them. Perhaps the only solution is for each one of us to take charge of our own actions and insure we live more lightly. If we let everyone we know see what we are up to, united, we can be powerful - look at the Flight-Shame movement’s success. We have to act together. The world’s hot-air Trumps, Boris-clowns and assertive Putins don’t care a dam.
A full account will be in my forthcoming memoirs.