I’m hearing that this warm up is an all-time high. It’s the highest it’s ever been, so high, so early. The men said they’ve never seen this before, this early and this high. The birds fly north in their patterns. The plows hang to the front of the trucks, dry. The television women say it’s never been done before. It’s never been this high. She delivers the news with a hint of worry in her eye, but the kids get to go to school and take off their jackets during recess, and there’s no ice shelf on the side of the road anymore. The news says nothing like this has ever happened, and an old man sipping his diner coffee says he hasn’t ever seen this, either. He’s old, he’s seen it all. Except this.
The ice is gone now. It’s still there, mind you, but it’s as good as gone. It’s clinging and it’s shifting and it’s melting from the top and melting from the bottom. Soon, it’ll be dark, gray and wet, rotting. It’s rotting and the robins are flittering and the birds at my feeder and wondering what everyone is so upset about. The ice fishermen haul their sleds onto smaller lakes now, on to flooded byways of the Wisconsin river, those areas where soft ice might mean wet legs but certainly not death. The bluegills are eating wax worms, sometimes on teardrop jigs. The Northern Pike are ready to spawn. The men on their buckets say they can’t imagine anything worse, that it wasn’t like this before, when they were kids and the ice was thick and it stayed, sometimes, until June. We’d play baseball and then icefish after the game, they’d say.
Mark Zuckerberg said Artificial Intelligence is surveilling us. Jeff Bezos is selling the rest of our information to the CIA. Elon Musk said we should adapt so our species isn’t killed off by the Terminators. Join them, become them, then they won’t kill us, he said. Things are bad. The liberals say the world is coming to an end. That everything is terrible, worse than ever. Nothing like this has ever happened. Dan Rather is ashamed of it all. Of us all. Brian Williams has seen worse, he says, but he can barely remember those times because of the gunfire and explosions.
The stock market is high, all time high. It’s never been higher. But it’s perfect and scary, because when something gets this high it has no choice but to come down. Will it come down, soon? No one can say. But some are saying it must come down, the same who said it would go lower a year ago, back when things were low but the Liberals said things were perfect and the Conservatives squirreled away food and water and ammunition. Nothing could be worse than last February, until this February when the market is high and the Terminators are coming for us and there’s really nothing we can do about it. Concrete bunkers are fine, but without proper ventilation they’re nothing but elaborate tombs filled with dehydrated food.
No, nothing could be worse than this time. Everything is at an all time high. Panic, high. Markets, high. Temperatures, soaring. So high that the water is rising, the water is everywhere and there’s more of it and that’s terrible. California was in a drought, which was awful. Now it’s flooding there and the dam is giving way and nothing could be more terrible than so much water. It’s everywhere, and the great lakes are being drained by thirsty westerners. The pipe line might run through some town, and the people will put up signs that say NOT OUR WATER. Things for them couldn’t be worse. Times, they’re terrible, nothing has ever been more terrible. The old men at the diner wonder aloud if they’ve ever seen things worse.
The ice is melting. The birds are chirping. The skies are blue, so blue that there might be something wrong. Has anyone ever seen a sky more blue? Should we be worried about this, too? Faith Christian beat Williams Bay in basketball the other night. We’re just a little school down the road from that bigger little school. The score was 80 something to 70 something and when our kids shot free throws the other kids stomped their feet and hissed and booed and clamored. When we won, the boys were going to take their girls to Pizza Hut in Delavan but the pizza hut is gone and there’s just a sign that says BUY CARS NOW. Things couldn’t be any worse.