November 30, 2020

Icarus All We Are

By Chaplain Mike

Day and night you punished me, Lord;
my strength was completely drained,
as moisture is dried up by the summer heat.

• Psalm 32:4 (GNT)

Icarus all we are this July.

This map shows the heat index forecast for today, during which a large part of the U.S. will be above 100°. The heat wave is affecting two-thirds of our country. Yesterday, here in Indy the actual temperature rose into three digits for the first time on this date for about 25 years. Many of you probably think we’re wimps, because you live in places where it is that hot regularly regularly. In Oklahoma, where Jeff lives, they’ve had thirty days this year over 100°.

Yikes, it’s hot.

The Fall of Icarus, Rubens

When I got out of my car to walk across the hospital parking lot yesterday, I felt like I was in a small closet underneath a heat lamp. The heat hurt. I felt it burn on the back of my neck and between my shoulders, as though my wings were beginning to melt.

Icarus all we are. But not because we are soaring too high. It seems the sky has dropped and the sun is dripping hot lava all around us. The tree tops are alight and the surface of the earth is beginning to bubble. As the heat rises we are being pushed down, held down until we gasp for breath. We can barely lift our heads, much less mount the skies.

Our city has cooling centers for those without shelter or respite from the heat. Hospitals are seeing people in the ER with heat-related illnesses. On an average day in Indianapolis, its citizens use about 140 million gallons of water. Yesterday, we were expected to use 220 million. They’ve asked us to stop watering our lawns. The ancient infrastructure can’t take the change in pressure for long. And as for electricity, our air conditioners are humming, spinning the meters at a near record pace. In some places, there will be planned outages to conserve power.

Those in the know say this inferno is the result of a “heat dome,” which happens when a “firmament” of high pressure in the upper atmosphere traps and compresses the moist, hot air beneath it. It also pushes the jet stream northward into Canada, keeping any cooler air away from the U.S., providing yet another reason to plan a visit to Mike Bell’s house. This dome is expanding and the heat is blanketing states from Texas to Minnesota, from Florida to Maine, and everywhere in between.

And Icarus all we are. Melting. Drooping. Falling. The sun’s rays penetrate all things moving and still. Creation’s groans are weaker and more labored under its oppressive glow. The sound of sighing replaces the breeze. The floor is hot. The porch is hot. The dirt is hot. The grass is hot. This is blast furnace hot. This is forty years of wandering in the desert hot. This is “back of my neck feelin’ dirt and gritty” hot.

I pick up my clip-on sunglasses off the dash, attach them to my glasses, then flinch and wince as they singe the bridge of my nose. Sizzling hot. That’s gonna leave a mark hot.

In fact it is dangerously hot. Two dozen people have died already. Pity those who must work outside. Be on the watch for your elderly family members and neighbors. Guard your little Icaruses who would like to fly but can plunge into dehydration quickly. Take care of your pets and keep them cool and watered.

Take care of yourself. Stay inside. Drink lots of liquids. Take it easy.

And take courage.

We haven’t reached August yet.



  1. “It’s not the heat, it’s the humanity.”

  2. … ahem …


    Thank you.

    • Please no. Not this every time it gets hot (or the opposite when it’s cold).

    • Climate-change deniers would point out Snowmaggedon this last winter

      • Isaac (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

        Hence my comment on weather not equating to climate 😉

    • No! Sacramento, Ca. has had a very cool summer so far.

    • I get just as much annoyed at those who try to link every heat wave to global warming as I do at those who try to use every blizzard or cold snap to debunk it.

      The truth is, global warming is a long-term time-averaged process that spans years and decades. Individual weather events and even seasons cannot be linked directly to it. To do so is to fundamentally misunderstand the difference between weather and climate.

      As someone who used to be a skeptic of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), I have come around to the view that the climate is indeed warming, and humans are a significant factor, maybe even the dominant factor, in the current rapid warming trend (rapid relative to similar warming events in Earth’s history). I did this not because Al Gore came from on high with angelic wings with words dripping of honey to tell me so, but because the scientific evidence strongly suggests it.

  3. Ray,
    Come on–you climate change is a Myth!

  4. One would think it was summer or something.

  5. ouch. summer’s have always been hot for me being raised in the Central Valley of California…

    my only respite was college days in San Luis Obispo & a decade in SoCal…

    you would think i knew better. yeah. i know where in California i would like to live, but practicality has me where i am until other opportunities arise. until then, my air-conditioned summers will be a normal part of my seasonal experience…

    • The armpit of CA during the heat of summer. When cows in Modesto and Fresno are producing cottage cheese instead of milk. My prayers are with you.

      • Hey! Wait a minute! I live in that armpit.

        • I grew up in that armpit also!! 😛 I remember those double days football practices under the searing sun of the San Joaquin Valley. If you pass “xyz” High School the grass is probably still lush and green from all the times I puked during double days in the August sun. Summer in the San Joaquin Valley is hot, but it also doesn’t have humidity. I miss the dry heat, in Washington, D.C. it’s like a sauna. 😯

        • yeah. it may be an armpit, but at least we are not the, er, ‘sphincter’ of California…


          • What is the sphincter of California? Bakersfield? Inland Empire of SO COL? etc…?

          • well, those of us born-and-raised in Fresno always thought Bakersfield made that distinction…

            but then i found out when moving to Modesto, Fresno had the same distinction…

            so, such a ‘viewpoint’ in the eye of the GPS beholder… 😀

  6. We can’t complain. We’ve done it to ourselves. Complaining about the changing climate is like complaining about deliberately hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.

    Many “preppers” (survivalists) are recommending that, in preparation for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it), people either move out of the South or have their getaway locations somewhere else. The South was barely habitable before air conditioning and living in these new higher temperatures after society breaks down will be a tough, unpleasant go of it. They recommended the Northwestern US. The conservative part, LOL.

  7. WenatcheeTheHatchet says

    Seattleites here have been complaining about how cold and rainy summer has been. Sounds like we’re fortunate compared to everyone else.

    • I resent that statement! This Northwest summer has been the worst on (my) record. I can count the days the temp broke 70 on one hand (while missing a finger or two). Hey I don’t like heat waves but July and August are sacred, no sinful clouds aloud. We Washingtonians must repent or we may not see the sun till next summer!

      BTW, I’m really pissed of at the lack of summer here in Western WA

    • Seattle must be another Ireland, so, because here it is July and we’ve had (cumulatively) about three weeks of good weather, and the rest of it typical Irish/British Isles – when it’s not raining, it’s still cool, grey and overcast.

      God be with you all in the searing heat!

      • I’ve heard that the Pacific Northwest (Portland to Seattle to Vancouver) is very much like the British Isles in climate. Heck, Seattle is even dubbed the Emerald City. It’s been very cool and grey this summer. You’ve had a cumulative of 3 weeks of good weather? That’s twice as much as we had. We could definitely spare some of that heat that everyone else seems to be getting on the continent.

        • WenatcheeTheHatchet says

          A musician friend of mine who was raised in the London area but whose family actually hails from Oregon said that the Pacific Northwest is like the UK if it was warmer and rained a bit less.

          Someone once told me that in terms of average annual rainfall in Oklahoma and places like Oregon and Washington are comparable but that Oklahoma gets rain in a seasonal dump whereas Oregon and Washington get the rain all year long. Having lived in all three states at different points in my life I prefer the year long water dump!

    • I spoke with someone in Seattle this afternoon and he was talking about how pleasant it is there!! Could Seattle absorb an agnostic like me? 😉

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There’s a T-shirt about Seattle called “The Four Seasons of Seattle”:

        Spring: Two feet standing in the rain.
        Summer: Two feet standing in the rain.
        Fall: Two feet standing in the rain.
        Winter: Two webbed duck feet standing in the rain.

  8. Isaac (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

    I’m a real estate appraiser in San Antonio. It’s not uncommon to see only a handful of double-digit highs all summer here. I’ve learned to not schedule inspections on a day that I have an order due. By the time I’m done working outside on the inspections, I’m too dang exhausted to do any paperwork or thinking. And, of course, Summer is the busy season.

    FWIW, guys, weather isn’t climate. The heat wave is weather, not climate. I’m not saying that there hasn’t been climate change. I’m just saying that hot weather isn’t necessarily indicative of climate change.

  9. Tim Becker says

    ‘Course I had a lady tell my yesterday that this is a sign of Jesus’ soon return. :roll eyes: Wish it were true though.

    • okay, i can see the direct correlation between hot spells & Jesus’ return…

      yeah…i can find it somewhere it is written…



  10. cermak_rd says

    I’m just grateful that so far Chicago is faring better than the big one in 1995. Over 700 folks died due to heat related causes in that 5 day window. It got as high as 106F one day. It also led to Chicago’s pretty much state of the art heat emergency system, cooling centers etc. After France had their big heatwave that killed a bunch of their people, Chicago was one of the areas that they studied because it was one of the few places with a heat response system.

    I remember that summer. I remember the use of refrigerator trucks to act as makeshift extra morgue units.

    So far only 6 known heat related deaths have been determined. It’s cooler than it was back in 1995 but not by much. I don’t know if they even had heat indeces back then to know if the humidity is a worse problem now than it was then or not. All I know is…if it doesn’t cool down soon, there will be more deaths.

  11. Just curious, CM, is “Icarus all we are” a reference or quote?

    • It’s mine, a reference to the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, melting the wax wings that had allowed him to fly, and plunging him into the sea to his death.

      • i sure hope it was, like, Arctic seas he fell into…

        or at least the colder North Atlantic…


        • Nope, it was the Mediterranean . . .

          • ah yes, to be historically correct…

            a strong wind couldn’t have pushed him further west then??? or too far North for the westerlies???

  12. I’m wondering when someone is going to claim this heatwave is punishment from God for:

    A. Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
    B. President Obama being in power.
    C. Abortion still being legal.
    D. Accepting homosexuality.
    E. Teaching evolution in some particular school district.
    F. For pornography being legal.
    G. For growth of a post-modern secular society (YEAH!!!!)
    H. Building a Mosque near where the World Trade Center…

    You guys know where I am going. We’ve all seen it…. (sigh…..)

    • well, when it is hotter than, er, um…’Hades’, it is a sure sign of God’s displeasure with something… 😉

  13. Paul Davis says

    I love living in Idaho, if you look at that map you’ll see we have been spared, 😉

    I went out and hit golf balls at lunch in fact, I do feel bad for those of you who are baking, we spent many years in Bakersfield, so I feel like I paid my penance!

    Be safe in the heat.


  14. Funny, out here in the Coachella Valley, which along with the Imperial Valley, are probably the hottest places in the US (regular summers are 120 degrees in the shade), we have been having one of the most remarkably cool summers in a long time! Perhaps we packaged a little of the Sun love and sent it your way 😛

  15. Fortunate in California…just 91 right now. Been weird here the last few years, but seems a bit warmer this. Much cooler than ever. No 100 days in a row over a 100 in sight here. Of course, the humidity is much lower than in the MW. And at night, where I live, we get a nice breeze off the Pacific. The Sacramento delta has blesses us richly.

  16. Interesting to read this from other side of the world. Most summers we have days like you’re having now, but having missed it last summer, it’s a year and a half since I last experienced it.

    Every now and then we break another heat record and people look at the long-term trends (and some say “this is what we get for how we’ve treated the earth”)

    But now it’s really cold, and people are saying saying “OK greenies, where’s your global warming now?”. Public opinion on climate change seems to vary with the weather 🙂