Blessed were the high-pressure days. Warm and clear, these afternoons were gold to bank for the months ahead. The sky shows no sign of the fires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington, but rage simmers here, none-the-less. Bumper stickers in the grocery store parking lot would have you believe there’s a blue line growing thinner. On the street, a dualie speeds by me flying twin flags with the President’s head on Rambo’s body. On a Kia hatchback, a ‘stick family’ is replaced by an arsenal of gun decals. Another truck passes with the President’s coiffure on a punishing comicbook skull. Poor Yorick, we have to watch where we get our stories, and what we do with them. I never doubted the heroes who ran Into the Fire, those nineteen years ago, but the sparks flamed falsehoods, we still can’t put out. I lived in New York City, then, and rode my bike to work; another climate scientist, Dutch, told me the news when I arrived. Now you Americans finally know what it’s like, he said. I won’t forget the smell of that smolder. On my ride back home, young soldiers stood on the bridge, with their assault rifles and their uniforms, in a changed country. When will the Phoenix rise up? So many can’t see the sun, can’t breathe. More than three decades and we’re still in Chapman’s Fast Car. We need a new song, Boss, to summon heart from truth and leave despair behind.
Jessica Cherry, PhD is a scientist, writer, and commercial airplane pilot living in Anchorage and Fairbanks.