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Drowning, Evaporating.
Will the climate change Fitzgerald Marine Reserve? Change it into an underwater wreck? Will its
harbored anemones, starfish and sea urchins huddle together in the last days of low tide low
enough to live? They’ll sigh bubbles of CO2, lament-laden as last words of extinct languages.
Most of their soft bodies won’t even form fossils. There’ll be no more baby boots balancing on
the edges of their rock homes: no one watching them through magnifying glasses, gingerly
touching them, no one giggling at their response. And no reprieve from the low-tide gawking
when high tide comes in with new water, teeming with sustenance, when the sun slides into the
water and it’s cool and quiet. The always-high tide will slosh over their graves. The survivors
will live in dimly lit science museums and aquariums, in tanks bookended with hand sanitizer
stations - a poking nightmare in an alien world of empty, tideless water.
Will the climate change Lake Berryessa? Change it into a picture of the water cycle gone awry:
water evaporating to the clouds and evaporating to the clouds and evaporating until there’s a
cracked crater covered with dead animals where a lake used to be? The water will escape as
surely as Jeffrey sank as he swam to that island - soon-to-be hill. The whole world will be the
diaspora of that entangling solvent. I’ll be unable to wade to where the shore drops off, swim out
the way he did, point my toes as taut as I can get them, scissor them around, and feel for the
piece of water that tugged on his legs, then ribcage, then, gently, his head. I’ll have to to retrace
his...footsteps. I’ll drive out there when it rains, hoping that the rain won’t stop until that lake is
full again. I’ll pretend to swim. I’ll look like a dancer. But the rain’ll stop; I know it will. I’ll be
there, wanting to escape. I’ll walk back to the sand and clay bank where, as a child, I blithely
shaped globes with my hands. I’ll be faced with a cliff too soft to climb.
Will the climate change Redwood Regional Park? Change its creeks into little canyons for air
and rocks to tumble down? My children will hop along those rocks and I’ll tell them that there
was a creek where they are playing. They will almost not believe me. But they’ll notice the clues:
the way the ground appears softly carved by a force now gone - like a swipe of icing taken off a
cake by an anonymous finger. They’ll feel the smoothness of the stepping stones that called them
to take their shoes off. They’ll crouch to see the dried moss on what used to be banks, like the
remnants of a terrarium that’s had its cover removed. They’ll touch the moss and it’ll disintegrate
like dust, like ashes.