It’s January 29th and I am listening to an incredible rainstorm outside, complete with thunder and lightning. I am in Chicago, Illinois, not in some southern clime. This morning on my way to the garage I was met with balmy breezes. Yes, please mark that word– balmy (67 degrees!). I didn’t even have a coat on. I would have been way too hot.
At school, students were outside in their t-shirts kicking a soccer ball around. We opened the windows in the classroom to get some fresh air. On the way home, I drove with the windows open. In the garage I was met with a smell of fresh wet wood that triggered some memory from my youth, something having to do with summer, the construction of a new garage, and the fort we built in the rain with the scraps.
All day, I felt a bit out of kilter. I joked that it felt like there were only a few more weeks left of school. The beautiful weather had somehow tried to reset my internal clock but was getting jammed instead. I found myself moving a bit more slowly, not sure where I was supposed to be or where I was going. At the end of the day I felt a kind of malaise wash over me. I could barely get out of my chair to make the trek home.
I know global warming is having a critical impact on weather patterns. Here in the midwest, it has generally been a very mild winter with very little snow. On the radio this afternoon, Chicago was celebrating the fact that they had used less than 10% of the salt they usually have at this time of year and that so far, this has saved the city half a million dollars if you include the need for no snow removal as well.
While much of the country, the world for that matter, is experiencing more serious, dangerous, and dramatic effects of these changes in weather patterns, Chicago has been the recipient of milder weather. In a short-sighted way, how awesome this has been. The longer view, however, is filled with devastating and destructive repercussions particularly negatively impacting the ability to grow food and secure enough water, let alone the increased power of storms.
Even at some biological level I have felt discombobulated today, aseasonal, outside a natural cycle. Though the surface of my skin feels warm in the outdoors, though the winter dryness of my hands and face have disappeared, and the warm humidity has put curl back into my hair, I know there is something wrong. It doesn’t feel right. Not on January 29th. Not in the middle of a Chicago winter. At some level, I feel gratitude for this moderate winter, but know the other shoe is about to drop. There are always consequences to behavior.
I continue to focus on reducing my footprint on this planet and when many many more of us do, if we’re very very lucky, maybe we can get back to complaining about the gray dirty snow, about digging out a parking place for our car, and about bundling up against the bitter, bitter cold.