Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A cold test of our resilience?

I suspect that you are in an office, or at home as you read this. You might be feeling some cool to cold drafts, but you're probably in a temperature-controlled space that's about 68 to 72 degrees. The chickadees and goldfinches and woodpeckers and purple finches are surviving outside in this weather. Does are pregnant with fawns. Soon, if they haven't started already, great horned owls will be mating. Meanwhile, from our heated enclosures, we're looking at the coldest day of the Winter tomorrow. (At least I hope tomorrow is as bad as it gets in Minnesota this Winter.)

frozen falls at Taylors Falls
frozen falls at Taylors Falls on the St. Croix
Photo by J. Harrington

This picture of the St. Croix was taken back in mid-December. Within the next day or so I hope to break free from keeping half an eye on our construction crews and head back out to see if the river and its environs are noticeably more frozen than they were about a month ago. I'll need to get it done soon since a January thaw is forecast to start sometime late next week. The combination of last Winter's Polar Vortex and this past November's cold spell, plus our current temperatures has me wondering what we'll do when the oil and coal are "gone," or at least too expensive to burn the way we presently do. Will we all move closer to southern coasts where it's warmer? Will we try to stay here and burn more wood? Is a pattern forming in which the rest of the world continues to see record warmth and the upper Midwest (our "North") enjoys record setting Winter cold? One of the problems I foresee in terms of adapting to Anthropogenic Climate Disruption is that increased volatility in weather patterns makes it a real challenge to figure out what it is we're trying to adapt to. Does Minnesota yet have a Chief Resilience Officer? Do you think we need one?

The Dead of Winter

By Samuel Menashe 

In my coat I sit
At the window sill
Wintering with snow
That did not melt
It fell long ago
At night, by stealth
I was where I am
When the snow began


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