December 12, 2010
Well, here we go again.
Where I live, in south-central Pennsylvania, we’ve had our first dusting of snow for the season. It was perhaps an inch and all the grocery stores took hits in the bread, milk, egg and toilet paper departments.
The snow came as a punctuation to about a week of temps hereabouts that stayed on the shady side of freezing, with daily highs averaging about 10 degrees below normal, which put a couple of inches of ice across the top of the creek, and an inch of snow across that.
You do what you have to do.
I spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage, by which I mean re-stacking junk from one place to another – I can’t remember the last time I could actually get my car in there – and moving the lawnmowers into the back of the storage shed and making a space for the snowblower. I got the machine fueled and ran it for awhile to make sure everything was kosher, then parked it in its new space, ready to carve its way out to clear things up when we get our first real snow.
A friend in Fairhope, Alabama reported on Facebook just a couple of days ago that they were having snow, which did give me pause. Snow on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is a notable event. Farmers in Florida are taking emergency steps to protect their fruit crops, and the wire services are full of photos showing fountains frozen in Atlanta and dazed Georgians staggering around in what must feel like everything they own, trying to keep warm.
You know, what we here would call our fall wardrobe.
There will be some making wisecracks like “So, where’s your Global Warming now?” and similar remarks. I wish the folks who named the phenomenon had called it Climate Change, which is what it really is. In any case, a cold spell in December is not proof that the climate is or is not changing. The fact that the polar ice caps have retreated further than they have since they formed a kabillion years ago, is.
But, despite snow on the Alabama beaches and fountains frozen in the Peach state, it is, as a climatologist said on CNN recently, only winter, meaning that we should just all get over it and deal.
So, OK, this cold snap might mean nothing, or it might mean we’re in for the worst winter since, well, whenever the last bad one you can remember was.
Button up your house; drag out the sweaters and long underwear, and stop acting like it never happened before. Give some money and clothes to your local shelters so the unlucky don’t freeze to death, and maybe have a little more to eat this winter.
As for me, I’m going to hunker down and wait for the first real sign of spring….the arrival of the seed catalogs sometime in February.
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