It’s Been A Long Cold Lonely Winter

I woke Sunday morning to the sound of a bird. At first, befuddled by the time shift, I wasn’t even sure what I was hearing. It was a chirp, not a song. And it felt like years since I’d heard a bird at all.

This has been a hard winter. Lots of snow and brutal cold. But what has me bemused is that this is the way winters used to be. How quickly we are to forget!

I remember that when I went to elementary school wearing my navy blue uniform jumper, my thighs were like chunks of red meat. Knee socks warmed the lower legs, but since pants were forbidden, not much could be done elsewhere.

Buffalo used to routinely get 100 inches of snow, and you never saw the sun in February. That was the way it was, and you just accepted it. This year there were 120 inches, and counting (more expected in the next two days)and even some February sun, but it all felt just awful, as the past 8 years have been so much milder, with as little as 40 inches of the white stuff.

Last week we are got the second blizzard this year, the first time in recent memory that Buffalo has had two in a winter. Yesterday it was 50 degrees.

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That’s Phil and two neighbors shoveling out in the middle of the storm. I am encouraging them from the upstairs window.

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And that’s the backyard the next morning. Fortunately, we aren’t using the air conditioner (foreground) and composting will have to wait (rear).

I have friends (a few, very few) who don’t believe in climate change. I wonder what kind of evidence they need to be convinced that things are changing? I’ve never asked, because it is easier to avoid the topic and maintain our friendship. I tend to get emotional around these issues. Whoever thought that science was dry and dull? Alright, some scientists are, but the issues are riveting and intense.

I read recently that parents who don’t vaccinate their children become even less likely to vaccinate once presented with the evidence of why they should. What’s that about?

The human mind is a strange and wondrous thing. But how can we change minds, if facts are not enough?

I was excited to see the debut of the new “Cosmos” last week, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Of course he sent the creationists into spasms, and his casting light on the little known story of Giordano Bruno and his burning at the stake caused some direct attacks on Tyson. Fortunately, we don’t burn people at the stake any more, just flame them on Twitter and in blogs. But it is past time that issues of science and cold, hard facts are brought to the fore again. As Tyson has said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true, whether or not you believe in it.” Looking forward to exploring the cosmos and our place in it-fortunately, “Downton Abbey” has finished for the season, so it has no competition at all.