Changing, warming times

I have enough of a scientific bent to not question “global warming” while confessing I do occasionally wonder if we’re not going through another of the periodic ups and downs our planet has known since its beginning.

Ice ages came and went and obviously had to be followed by warming spells. Else we wouldn’t be here now, right? Our globe — Mother Earth — is a woman of cycles.

While I might raise my eyebrows at some of the alarms — especially when doing so became an inconvenience — I have pasted many pictures of the disappearing polar ice mass in my scrapbooks. Those changes are particularly alarming to me because the change is so dramatic and has occurred over a pretty short period of time.

I toyed — quite seriously — with taking a trip to Churchill, far north in Canada, to spend over a week among the polar bears and do know their lives are threatened as the ice beneath their feet slowly wanes. My decision not to go had most to do with the primary living conditions I’d have had to deal with. ‘Fraid I’m not up to that. I could attribute it to age but my adventurous daughter tended to agree. (Besides, in all candidness, I watched the videos for this web site so often I didn’t really feel I needed to see more bears.)

So things are changing. No argument there. Everywhere in the world, too.

But “warming”?

My records for this property only go back to 2003. Nor am I about to argue with anyone who tells me one spot outside Cassadaga is a proper microcosm for much else. I’m not claiming universal knowledge.

What I am claiming is the changes in my weather over the past five years compared with the decade before. I can provide details if anyone wants but the generalities make my point. Over the past five years (December was not included as I wrote this) I have recorded 140 record highs and 96 lows compared to the previous ten years.

Time for an update. It should be no surprise to locals to know December ended with a series of new (contrasted with the preceding 14 years, record lows, including 5.3 below on the morning of the Eve. One might have a more difficult time recalling the three highs that broke my records earlier in the same month. Snowfall? The old record of 98.5 from 2013 fell by the 30th with this month’s total of 101-inch. That’s over eight feet for this month alone. Isn’t that enough?

“Warming?” To be sure fifty-nine percent of my data supports a hotter planet (or, fairly, a hotter Cassadaga if you wish). But that 41% of record lows is enough to make me hesitate.

While thinking abut this, I noticed something had happened in a world vastly larger than mine. Stop and think: who talks now of “global warming”? No, the term has changed. Now it’s all about “climate control.”

I’ll happily leap onto that bandwagon for I see changing all around me. Flowers. Birds. Even the water level in my little lake. For a long time I feared I’d face winter nearly empty but somehow it always does fill before freezing.

Woolly caterpillar? Do we trust them? (See the Musings I wrote for February 14, 2014.) I’ve only encountered two so far, a strange omen in itself. One was very dead and the other almost uniformly colored. I confess I can’t remember if it was brown or black.

Should we be alarmed? Of course. Within reason.

I have become a converted proponent of recycling. Bottles and cans go back to the grocer and it seems I hardly ever venture out without my front seat piled high with newspapers. (I could happily do with less ads and, if not less, at least shorter ones.)

I will continue to chart the arrivals and departures of birds noting, as I did last month, those who don’t feel as comfortable here anymore. At times I feel I’ve gotten too busy for wildflowers but will do my darnedest to remedy that in this new year.

There is a moral there. Let’s all do what we can to save our planet, following the advice of experts including Fredonia University’s Climate Education Initiative (CEI).

But let’s make time to enjoy it too.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. “Her Reason for Being” was published in 2008 with “Love in Three Acts” following in 2014. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.

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