In my first year of college, my roommate ran into our apartment and shouted “You have to come outside!” I was reluctant since I was diligently doing homework. (Notice my halo.) When I asked what was going on, she exclaimed “It’s snowing!!!” I kept doing my homework, but her enthusiasm would not shut up, so I dragged myself away from my latest masterpiece and went outside. There might’ve been about 10 airborne flakes in the sky. It was October, and I wasn’t pleased.
“Isn’t it beautiful?!” Yeah, okay, maybe it was, slightly, but I had to get my homework done. She danced around in circles, I laughed at her, and it was a nice moment. She had grown up in the South, and didn’t know snow. By the end of winter, she was kicking piles of pissed on, pollution-streaked city snow and admitted it wasn’t fun anymore, just like the rest of us who had to trudge to school with wet oil paintings in the icy wind.
Except for a few noticeable weirdos, most people in Ohio have my attitude towards snow. Aside from wishing for a white Christmas, most of us could do without it for the rest of the year. I don’t want to hear naturalists and menopausal women rhapsodizing about dressing in layers. Snow is an obstacle to be borne or overcome.
Sometimes we get one of those absolutely silent days where the world has been transformed into a white on white on blue spectacular that catches your breath. I’ve been enraptured by the beauty of individual snowflakes clinging to my brightly colored coat. Individual snowflakes are wonders, but they get together with their pals and make life hard.
Given my surly attitude towards winter, it might surprise you that I’m concerned about climate change. I should just be happy that it’s mid-December and haven’t had much snow yet. Okay, I am kind of glad I haven’t had to shovel the driveway, but the lack of winter worries me. Every year is a little warmer, a little less like winter as I remember it.
When I was a kid, the river froze solid. I ice skated up and down the river, but kids haven’t skated on the river since I was a kid. One year my dad shoveled paths through the snow, and I couldn’t see over it. It was like walking through white tunnels. The winters of my childhood were white from November to April, with some extra white in October and May. It just isn’t like that anymore. It’s mid-December, and I can still pick things in my garden. Instead of shoveling snow, I should probably cut the grass.
People seem to spend so little time outside these days, I don’t think very many people notice. Food comes from the grocery store, so they aren’t worried about whether or not bees die off or crops failed last summer. People notice that oranges cost more this year, but they aren’t connecting the dots that oranges are expensive because fruit trees bloomed too early last spring.
The US elections are over, and maybe we can start talking again about the things that matter. I know it was politically useful to deny science and say climate change hasn’t been proven yet, but it just isn’t true. Scientists do agree that our weather is changing. We can live without oranges and ice skating, but it’s time to quit the political games and start doing something to protect our home and our future. I never thought I’d say it, but I want snow.