California Zephyr Amtrak train in winter.

(California Zephyr. By Locoslococo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Wouldn’t it be great if lots of government orgs did that, too?

US Postal Service

“1 pm. Lunch over we set out to cover the southwest corner of the 90803, a route no carrier enjoys due to its paucity of shade trees and its plenty of hounds. My carrier quips that he spends his days in a haze of barks and yelps, and indeed, the barks and yelps do seem to follow us up and down the sunbaked blocks.”

US Forest Service

“3 pm and the fourth pot of coffee of the day. Before I agreed to accept this residency in the fire lookout I imagined the beauty of the forest and trees. The quiet. The solitude. The moments of intense contemplation amid Nature’s awesome fecundity. Instead, after only a day and a half, I am counting the moments until I get off this mountain and into a bar. The job of a fire lookout is difficult, and exacting, and requires deep reserves of attention and focus, both of which I lack.”

National Weather Service

“4 am. Time for the day’s first run of the climate models. This office uses three — the NAM, the EC, and the GFS. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but here in Southern California, the NAM is considered the wackiest, with reliable long range results — looking out seven plus days — but terrible in the short term. They think it’s because it doesn’t factor the SoCal eddy very well. Anyway, it’s time to write up the morning forecast discussion and the climatologist asks if I want to help since, “there’s some poetry involved in the weather, and also some fiction.”