How did you spend your Fourth of July? I spent a considerable amount of time in the ocean, floating above the hum of anxieties, both personal and existential, that typically soundtrack my days.
But outside the cocoon of cool waves, those gentle swells that numb the pain of existence, the earth around me apparently experienced its hottest day on record—or at least in 125,000 years, scientists at the University of Maine report.
That’s alarming stuff. Indeed, it prompted me to briefly pause a beat longer, a sure sign that I’ve encountered news to consider beyond mindless scrolling. But in an era defined by the same red-blinking stories that flow with eye-glazing repetition, all of them signaling our unrelenting climate emergency, how does the hottest day in human-record keeping hit you? Is it more or less troubling than the apocalyptic smoke we choked on the other week? Does our new normal of sweltering heat feel as dumb as the toxic fireworks we set off to celebrate patriotism? What about the hundreds of tons of toxins we release amid heat waves?
My dread is struggling to contemplate these questions. But I do look forward to my next torpefying ocean hang.