Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hot Mess 

“spring arrived with summer's hot breath”
Last weekend, spring arrived with summer's hot breath. The house was warm and staid like a cardboard box in a hot attic. My jacket, too cool in the morning felt heavy and restrictive by the afternoon and my feet were sweaty in my socks and shoes. It was such a pleasure to take off the socks and walk around the house bare footed. For some Torontonians, perhaps new to what is considered warm in a northern clime, it was still parka weather but for most, it was the first opportunity to cast off coats and long trousers and winter boots.

One unusual aspect of this winter wasn’t how warm it was, but how dry it was. There were weirdly warm days and skin peeling cold days. Maybe the aggregate temperature came out on the plus side but it was still winter with wind that sucker punched you straight in the face. But there really wasn’t much snow (March and April excepted). That meant when spring was finally unleashed there were no hidden dog turds, or confetti of cigarette butts or any other similar detritus usually hidden under heaps of frozen snow. It’s like the city was just waiting, ready for the sun, ready for a warm wind to remind us what our skin was made for. It was made to soak up the sun and feel the breeze and let us know what it’s like to be alive in the world.

Of course, no one will complain about four or five days of perfect spring temperatures but there’s always a fear that you've let your guard down for a moment and you open a window and before you know it, that window is frozen open with a harrowing gale blowing yet another spring snowfall through it. That’s the new normal. That is what climate change wrought for central North America. Not droughts or floods, but alternating and unpredictable drought and flooding followed by heat waves and freak storms of rain, hail, snow and tornados. Mother Nature just became a hot mess and the only way to be ready, is to get ready.

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