Friday, March 15, 2013

Winter's stuttering end

photo of snow on white pine and oak
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for coming. How'd the Ides of March work out for you? I had hoped to be hearing goose music by now. Instead, I've been listening to the sounds of snow and freezing rain and sleet. Have you ever noticed how quiet everything gets in the midst of a windless snowfall? The flakes whisper as they gently stroke each other and the earth, like lovers quietly sharing secrets. The rest of nature holds its breath, trying to overhear what's being said. Soon this season's Winter will be gone. If the scientists and climatologists are right, next Winter may have a more difficult time sharing its beauty with us, and the Winter after that could face an even greater challenge. What would Minnesota be like without a Minnesota Winter? Would you notice? Would you want to move farther north? Would you rejoice? Donald Hall, in his delightful "Introduction" to A Mind of Winter: Poems for a Snowy Season, writes "At winter's stuttering end, in March, midnight freezes and noon is tropical, maple trees grow tin pails, and from sugar houses smoke rises day and night. Winter springs into sweetness." Our Minnesota is listed as one of only 19 states where maple syrup is produced. If Minnesota's Winters become like Missouri's are now, we probably would keep our syrup production, unless an invasive species like Dutch Elm disease came along with warmer Winters and wiped out sugar maple trees. One of the reasons climate change is such a concern is that we can't be sure enough of results to make adaptation a certainty, nor resilience built in. My Minnesota just wouldn't be My Minnesota if it turns out to be like San Diego. For an Easterner like me, San Diego is just to far from the ocean. Thanks for listening. Stop by again tomorrow. Rants, raves and reflections served daily.