When I think of the apocalypse, I first think of the sky. Whether it be frogs or stars or the sky itself, something will fall from it, I’m assured.
In the past month, to me, the sky has shown itself to be an unstable beacon of fearsome awe.
Last week, in my departure from work under Storke Tower, I looked up to see the sky seemingly splitting at the seams. A thin, jagged rainbow lit the night sky, and as I watched the colors bleed down in a draping fashion over deep dusk, I wondered what the sky was trying to tell me.
At first, I naturally thought a portal was opening into another world and that at last my dream of watching all the Trekkies leave the planet would come true. But of course, there was a reasonable explanation. I eventually heard it was just the Vandenberg Air Force Base was launching a new line of rockets.
A sign of the apocalypse? No waaaaay.
Three weeks ago, the sky conceived of something even more disastrous. If it didn’t fall altogether, it certainly sent momentous gestures to the city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas. Immediately, the forecasts concerning the weather were preempted by the forecasts of the post-Katrina economy. Natural catastrophes naturally affect the price of oil, and the price of oil is interwoven into an American economic matrix affecting even those of us perched above sea level. Or so they say.
Others say it is industrial forces turning this sky into a spiteful atmosphere. The link between our abnormal hurricanes and global warming has been bridged by scientists and soothsayers alike, begging the question: If a second hurricane falls two weeks later over land just west of Louisiana, and that land just so happens to be a part of Texas littered with oil derricks, will it make an SUV-humming sound or a sonic boom?
There is a camp of scientific data that suggests increased amounts of hurricanes are a product of warmer sea-surface temperatures, which of course is a product of global warming. Is this the only reason? Probably not, but hurricane experts across the country are predicting an increase in hurricanes over the next 100 years.
After the sky had its way with the Gulf Coast, martial law soon presided over people desperate to cling to what they had left – their homes. Watching men taken from their own houses for their own safety was truly a sad sight, but watching police and our own armed forces trying to protect the property of the rich when people were still in aquatic peril struck an even more poignant note.
And then there was last night. Sitting on my deck, overlooking an otherwise calm ocean from a comfortable distance, I watched the sky light up in static sequence. At first, I thought someone was just showing off an impressive flash on an antique camera, but then I realized it was the sky speaking again.
It was as if daylight had found a backdoor into midnight, jettisoning the darkness moment after triumphant moment. A complete overthrow of night’s despotic hold on man was not in the works for this particular night, but Jim Morrison’s dichotic idea of night and day may have well have been in the folds.
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember one electrical storm in my four years in Santa Barbara, but then again, what is four years?
So whatever the sky is angry about, it’s probably about time we all started appeasing our respective deities, especially if you conceive of their home as a sky. Its current is building, its ethos judgmental.
Daily Nexus Opinion Editor Chris Trenchard would someday like to fall from the sky.