Day 20: Would You People Stop Building Things On Dunes Already

We started Adaptation Planning this week, and while it is genuinely very interesting to see what options there are to cope with various natural hazards depending on what resources you have available, it would be much easier if people stopped putting expensive buildings right on the ocean’s edge. Just don’t do it! If you ever find yourself tempted to build a fancy building on unconsolidated sand a stone’s throw away from the sea, that is the storm surge demon talking, and it will eat your house! There is something deeply funny to me about how many houses get built on dunes, when dunes are a) notoriously unstable and b) part of a complicated beach system that includes the for-beach and a back-marsh that all moves as a package. If you prevent the dunes from moving (by oh, say, putting a house on top), they can’t shift as part of system and instead the beach erodes right into your living room.

It turns out that when dealing with natural hazards, same as what my fencing teacher said all the time, the best defense is not to be there. Either by not building there is the first place (preferable) or moving people (nobody likes this option). And I sympathize about being forced to move, I really do; I have as much deep-seated fondness for my hometown as the next person, but my hometown has never meaningfully tried to kill me, and I feel like that would sour me, just a little, and perhaps cause me to move elsewhere. But I also genuinely do not understand people who live in earthquake country, so I guess there is a certain amount of to each their own. Then again, when the Coping with Disasters professor asked if we checked what natural hazards were present before we moved to Iceland, I was the only who said yes out of a class of 16, so it is also very possible that most people just don’t think about it this much (which is buckwild to me). You’re living in place, and places come with risks! Additionally, and I think this is just a sign I grew up too close to the Quabbin, but the thought that the government sometimes just moves your entire town to flood your valley for drinking water for someone else is just a thing that happens. Governments move people; best you can hope for is that they do it for a good reason.

Looking north-west over the fjord at the edges of a sunset. It’s about quarter after midnight

That is about as dark as it gets these days; there’s no true night anymore, and we are solidly back into only twilight and broad daylight. It’s messing me up a little because I have never even when I was very small enjoyed going to bed when it was still light outside. I also miss seeing as many stars as there were when it got full dark out. Unrelatedly, I think, I’ve been having stranger dreams than usual, which means I’m a little hazier during the late afternoon and sometimes completely lose the words for things. I was trying to describe the tools that get used for letter writing and came up with epistolary (sure, pretty close) and lacustrine (lakes have nothing do with this) before getting stuck on sgraffito (neither does a very particular glazing technique); eventually I remembered the word I was looking for was stationary. brain why. It is faintly amusing to me that even when I don’t have the right word, I still have all these other words to play with, even if it does completely baffle the people I’m trying to talk to.

A handful of goldfish crackers in fish chowder

I made fish chowder yesterday (the fish is just so good here), and on a whim I threw a handful of goldfish crackers in to act like oyster crackers, and I just started giggling to see them swimming around in the soup like that. Also pretty tasty, which given that they are crunchy and salty, is really all you need.

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