THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT (October 18, 2021)
Sitting here in the dining room tonight, wondering what to write about this week, I was thinking about all the noise in my head. Fabulously interesting as is my opinion on the mysterious Gabby Petito murder, and the whereabouts of her suspicious fiancé, or the abrupt choice to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan, or the pandemic and the omnipresent and divisive issue of vaccines and personal freedom, or the rising cost of just about everything in supermarkets, first and foremost on my mind is concern that my little folding "Porta-Bote" is going to sink, again.
Last Tuesday night, I went over to play guitar with my banjo-playing friend at his house at the south end of Big Doe Lake on our system of lakes. For my entire drive home it was teeming with rain, harder and for longer than I ever remember it raining before. Wednesday morning, I woke up and when I looked down at the dock, I noticed that all I could see of my little boat was the outboard motor and the faint outline of the gunwales. The rest of the boat was completely submerged. I suppose the floatation in the seats kept it from sinking completely, and thankfully, the buoyancy of those seats saved the motor. Of course, I immediately rushed down and saved it before an errant wave dealt the crowning blow, but it was a close call. My next door neighbour recently invested in a solar-powered bilge pump for his aluminum boat, and I may need to set up a rig like that for my dinghy. I don’t really want to put a motorcycle battery in an 8 foot long boat, but I may end up doing that. I haven’t found a decent bilge pump yet with a float that runs on household batteries. You may ask why I don’t just pull my little boat out of the water. I sometimes do, but the problem is that we have a very irregular, rocky shoreline, and depending on the water levels, that makes it hard to launch a boat.
Over the past several years, I have noticed that the rain seems to be coming faster and harder. Gone are the days of the steady, “soaking rain” which is healthy for the lawns and gardens. Now, we’re getting deluges and flash flooding. Over the past few weeks, I have had to rescue my dinghy from imminent submersion on several occasions after one of those torrential rains. While I don’t own an actual rain gauge, I joke that my Porta-Bote is my giant rain gauge. Last Wednesday marked the most water I have ever seen accumulate in a 24-hour period. I wonder if this is the new norm. After I posted the photograph of my scuttled craft, I received a message from a friend in Colorado, asking if I could divert some of our rain his way. Reservoirs in parts of the west are drying up, and it seems as if there must be a way to pipe our copious amounts of rainwater to the more arid regions of North America. After all, we do it with oil.
I shouldn’t complain because, knock on wood, we have so far avoided many of the disastrous weather events occurring elsewhere throughout the world. There was of course the recent flash flooding that occurred along the northeast coast of the U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Yesterday, I learned that Typhoon Maring had devastated the Philippine Islands, and the resulting rain virtually destroyed the hometown of E.T.’s trusted companion, Andrea. She told us that in some parts of her town, the water rose 6 feet. With all the important coverage about Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, somehow a catastrophic weather event across the globe, one that cost hundreds of millions of dollars in crop damage, and perhaps hundreds of lives, did not seem worthy of western media attention. Yesterday, I also learned that La Nina will be a significant factor in our upcoming winter. Bring it on! At least my boats will be out of the water.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer 2021 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED