An after-dinner moment.
(Standing, left to right: Amelia, Peter. Seated: Bob, Hank, Allen, David Klein.)
It was a while ago, close to fifteen years ago, but I think I remember how to get there: walk down the hill and through the fields of brussels sprouts to the edge of the cliffs above the sea. Follow the clifftops for a mile or so, till a narrow squiggly trail branches off the main track and maneuvers down through a gully in the cliff face. Scramble down to the bottom, and there you are, in the sandy little cove, sharing your beach with the ocean and the sky.
I hope I remember this place right. It seemed memorable for three reasons: the seclusion of the cove, the scenery surrounding the walk to the cove, and the brussels sprouts. The beach is in Wilder Ranch State Park near Santa Cruz, California. And for what it's worth, almost all of America's brussels sprouts are grown right there along the Pacific coast of Santa Cruz County, where winters are mild but the fog keeps the summer heat away.
Gotta get back there some time . . . .
By now, many of you have heard that we are headed to Philadelphia. The heavy lifting of the move has begun, so it'll be at least a week or so before I'll have a chance to share more Good Mornings with y'all. Please be sweet in the meantime, and don't pick on your siblings; we are, after all, moving to the City of Brotherly of Love.
I cannot say what's with the horses. They're tied up to a pay phone in front of PMV Variety Store in our neighborhood-to-be, just south of center city Philadelphia. If you Google-earth this spot, you'll see that the pay phone is still there and the storefront still looks the same, though the PMV Variety may now be out of business. The horses have vamoosed.
Used to be, the city of Portland would set aside a time in June when people could put big pieces of junk--such as unwanted furniture--out by the curb for city garbage trucks to collect. But there are no more Big Trash Days; the service was slashed as a budget-cutting measure. Although city residents are now expected to haul their own stuff to the dump, Jacob Powers found this resting spot a few weeks ago in a couch left out at the curb.
There is a webcam at the North Pole. It's a security camera, basically, keeping an eye on all the scientific instruments that monitor weather, snow, and ice conditions at the Pole. The camera is solar powered, sensibly enough, so the picture-taking begins each year in April and continues into October. Today, polar weather is dry and sunny, perfect for snapshots, but I chose to post this image instead, from July 5, because of the hint of a rainbow in the sky.
The puddles are meltwater ponded on top of the sea ice; the Arctic Ocean itself is still completely ice-covered in this photo. Since 2002, when the first webcam recorded this phenomenon throughout the Arctic summer, meltponds have first appeared as early as mid-June and as late as August. Most years, the ponds have spread to cover most of the sea ice by mid-August, before freeze-up begins again in late August. But in 2008, for reasons unknown, only a few small ponds appeared, and they'd barely begun to spread at all when freeze-up started.
So far, melting in 2010 has followed a pattern typical of the average North Pole summer--at least average for recorded North Pole meltpond history, which dates back only to 2002.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates the webcam, has assembled the snapshots into videos, which are posted on Youtube. You can see the snapshots and access the videos from NOAA's Arctic Gallery website.
During the godawful heat wave of July 1901, nobody in New York was in a good mood, and everybody was mad at the ice companies. The reason was that hot summer weather was associated with both increased demand for ice and reduced supply of well water with which to make ice at the big ice plants in Brooklyn and the Bronx. So the ice companies started using city water to supplement well water, and on the hottest days, they used so much municipal water that taps literally ran dry all over town. New Yorkers complained loudly to their elected officials, but the ice industry also had ways of "communicating" with politicians.
Giving away a little free ice--bring your own dishpan--was a public relations gesture on the part of the ice-makers. But note that a police presence was necessary at the ice lines.
The heat wave of July 1901, with temperatures near 100 degrees, killed thousands of people. The misery was compounded by the deaths of thousands of animals, including horses pulling ambulances and fire engines, who dropped dead in their traces while responding to emergencies. Sanitation crews fell far behind in removing carcasses from the streets. Anybody who could afford to get out of town got out of town.
The White Mountains National Forest parking lots were jam packed on this hot Fourth of July, and dozens of the cars in those lots held people eager to hike the trail up to Champney Falls, high on the north slope of 3500-foot Mt. Chocorua. But nobody challenged us when we claimed swimming rights in the pool beneath this little cascade of the falls. The water was cold up there, the walk through the woods was shady and occasionally breezy, the sun was summery, we had cherries to eat, and there's really nothing else to say. Left to right: Susan Wiggin, Emily Wiggin, Joe Stein, Joshua Wiggin.