Tag Archives: climate change

Sign of Spring

Bbrrrrr!! Here I am, sitting in the Deep South, freezing my butt off. I know that for many of you twenty degrees Fahrenheit seems like a heat wave, but it’s plenty cold for me. I mean, yesterday was the coldest New Year’s Day we have seen in my neck of the woods in sixteen years.

That may not seem like global warming, but it is climate change. More frequent and more extreme climate patterns. Not just weather, but climate. There is a difference. And yes, Donald, I said it. Climate change. Because it’s real. And at least in part due to human activity.

When I was a kid we would drive to the Philadelphia airport and I was always mesmerized by the sight of the oil refineries at night. Brilliant yellow flames climbing high into the night, leaping out of dozens of pipes where gases were burned off as part of the refining process.

If a company that owns one of these refineries has voting rights in our country, and can thus be considered to be human, then humans are playing a role in climate change. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get it. And Donald, if you would get your head out of….the sand and stop denying the science, you’d get it too.

But I digress and am far afield from my intended subject. Here on this particular frigid night I have hopes for the return of Spring.

At one time, in some places, the return of Robin Red Breast was heralded as a sign of the coming Spring. I don’t think birds migrate the way they used to so the sight of a robin these days isn’t as meaningful as it once was. Climate change. Damn, there I go again!

But today I did see something that I thought could only be a sign of spring. While I sat at a stoplight I was watching the traffic moving perpendicular to me, through the green light. I’m used to seeing a wide variety of vehicles travelling this road, but this was a rare sighting indeed. No, not some kind of bird or other wildlife.

It was two tractor trailers carrying boats. Big new boats wrapped tightly in white plastic. Three boats, probably measuring twenty feet each, stacked up on each truck’s trailer.

Surely new boats headed to a marina or showroom for sale could only mean that spring was approaching. And close behind would be Summer and many days spent on those boats on lakes, rivers and oceans near and far.

I’d like to buy a boat. But mine won’t be one of those fancy new ones, clad in its protective white plastic wrap. Mine will be someone else’s hand me down. And I’ll be happy with that.

I’m looking forward to warm days on the lake, riding on my boat. And then I can tell you all about the one hundred degree heat!

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?


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The Dust Cloud

In old western movies if you saw a cloud of dust on the horizon you knew it was one of two things. Making all of that dust was either a troop of cavalry coming to rescue the settlers under attack by evil villains, or a pack of evil villains coming to attack. Either way, it was a bunch of people riding horses. And headed in your direction quickly.

That was old westerns. In my back yard a cloud of dust means my dog is playing fetch. She’s not like that kid Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons who travels around inside his own personal dust cloud, created by his less than civilized personal hygiene habits. She stays pretty clean, although she does shed a lot of hair. All the time and everywhere she goes. No, the dust cloud is exactly that- a cloud of dust created by her rambunctious play.

Whether or not you believe in climate change, this year has been the hottest and driest on record where I live. It’s five days before Thanksgiving and for the first time since May the temperature has dropped below 80 degrees. And no, I don’t live in Hawaii, or California, or Florida. And with all that heat, we’ve also been the fortunate recipients of a fifteen inch rainfall deficit. The water level in the local lakes is down by several feet and the green green grass of home looks more like tumbleweed blowing across the desert.

Back to the dog. She likes to exercise, as any puppy would. Since she is a German Sheppard, she likes to play a lot, and strenuously. Fetch is good. I find a small log in the woods, something maybe eighteen inches long and three or four inches in diameter, and I throw it as hard as I can. As soon as she sees me starting to wind up she takes off at full sprint speed. I think she could take a cheetah in a hundred yard dash.

Since I broke my shoulder a couple of years ago my throwing arm isn’t like it was when I pitched for the sandlot sluggers. The dog is well past where the stick will land by the time it sails through the air. But she happily comes back for it, grabs it with her teeth and brings it back for another toss. I prefer a smaller tree branch to the tree trunks she likes so sometimes we compromise. She will bring a six foot long branch to me which is only two inches across. The damn things are so heavy and cumbersome I can barely throw them but she’s got the thing in her mouth running around with two inches on one side and the rest unbalanced, but firmly held.

Another game she likes to play is biting at my hands and feet. Sometimes it hurts so I’m glad she is just playing. She could probably bite either of my appendages off quite easily. But ten or fifteen tosses of the stick usually satisfies her.

And the dust cloud? As she thunders across the dry grass in the yard she will slam on her brakes when she knows it’s time to catch or pick up the falling stick. She slides across the yard and tears up the grass and stirs up the dust. There are now places in the yard where the loose and bare soil is about three inches deep. When she hits that patch of dirt at full speed and puts on the brakes, a huge cloud of dust erupts. I’m sure the neighbors see the cloud rising above the fence and think I’m using a bulldozer to dig a hole to the center of the Earth.

Oddly enough, having her chase the stick also allows me to give the arid lawn some water. She gets so excited chasing that stupid stick that starts to foam at the mouth. The slobber gets all over the stick, which then gets covered with dust that turns to mud. Globs of slob fly out of her mouth as she runs. Her fur gets covered with the stuff, as does the ground. And the stick. Sometimes that stick is so slobbery that when I throw it I loose my grip and it slips out of my hands. Bad throw daddy she barks. And brings it again.

The cloud of dust makes me laugh. She is silly. And loyal. And playful. But we really do need some rain.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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