I’ve been having hot flashes. No, not that kind of hot flash. And if it were, I sure wouldn’t be writing about it here. I am talking about something more insidious: a societal hot flash. I try to keep these posts positive. But as a snow lover, I’m not feeling especially upbeat. I’m downright sad.
I’m losing patience with media references to “unseasonably warm” temperatures. This is a record-busting winter on all counts. It raises my ire that this experience we are living, breathing and talking about in our daily lives is getting virtually no air time. We dance around the topic, invoking El Niño and the Southern Oscillation, legitimate points to be sure. Because we cannot link climate change to a particular weather phenomenon on a particular day, the press seems reluctant also to attribute trends.
“Another day, another record” is the way I heard it put on Minnesota Public Radio recently by meteorologist Paul Huttner. He sums the trends up very nicely on his Updraft blog. We have blown away one high temperature record after another since the winter solstice settled darkness upon the land.“Opulent Ice House Coming Soon: December 9 Until Thaw!” High-end cocktails in a lounge made of ice blocks. But today I noticed the piled shards of melting ice scattered around the enclosure. They just couldn’t get the thing built.
We went skating with friends down at Bayfront Park on Friday night. We were the only ones there for the most part. The ice was bumpy,with whole patches completely gone, revealing the pavement below. The City is not bothering to maintain the rink, and who can blame them with this new cycle of warmth with the occasional newsworthy “winter- like” temperatures. That’s right. It seems now we have to settle for “winter-like.” Is that along the same lines as a “fruit-flavored” beverage? No thank you.
Needless to say, the cross country skiing is non-existent.
My husband and daughter got so desperate for snow they found themselves on the
bunny slope at Spirit Mountain over the weekend. Thank goodness for artificial
snow (below), um, I guess.
But my gripes are at this point recreational in nature. Think about the disastrous flooding in Thailand, also linked to climate change. I was at Office Max the other day and they had a sign up reading something like: “Due to catastrophic flooding in Thailand, we are unable to maintain our usual hard drive inventory. Limit is one per customer.” Our inconvenience is a direct product of real, human suffering.
Among a certain set (mine) we are frittering away the balmy, blue-skied days. We can’t quite give in to enjoying this eerily gorgeous weather. I ran into a friend downtown the other day as we were both taking our noon-time walks. As it happens, our paths crossed in the unlikeliest of places – the overpass that crosses the interstate. We each confided in the other our guilty pleasure in this April weather brought to us in mid-January. There on the overpass, it felt a little like a post-industrial horror film.
Yes, my heating bill is lower this year. I appreciated the longer growing season on some level. But this feels like the end of an era. One day I really will croak to my grandchildren, “Back in my day, the snow piled up higher than my garage door!” They won’t believe me. Luckily I took pictures.There is no hormone replacement therapy for this here hot flash. As I try to recultivate my optimism about the future, here’s a link to a multi-media climate change website where people can learn more about not just the problem, but what we all can do about it. I’d offer some tips myself, but I’m just not feeling up to it.
Photos: Opulent (non) Ice Lounge in Canal Park (left), Artificial snow at Spirit Mountain