Temperatures rising

The coming spring is warming, though barely unfrozen, like the pond the first time I try to go swimming after ice-out, when I know if I’d just jump in it would be fine for the rest of summer but not yet so I walk in slowly, and feel the blue slide up my legs.

One day, probably soon, I’ll just jump in all the way and be fine.

Not yet.

Ice out. It’s odd the way lake ice melts. For months it has been solid enough to support fishing shacks dragged onto the frozen lake behind pickup trucks and the occasional John Deere.

Inside the , many of the comforts of home – a mini-fridge and a potbellied stove, a cooler or two for chairs, doubling as a repository for fish the owners hoped to catch through the hole built into the floor of the shack, then cut through eighteen to 24 inches of frozen pond.

Outside, scattered across the surface, more fisherfolk sat on lawn chairs next to open fires or walked around to “Howdy” with other fishers, trading greetings.

“Catchinenny?”

“Cupla perch.”

Occasionally, a luckier angler would hold up a land-locked salmon or lake trout.

“Just the one, so far.”

Mid-January, a deep freeze sets in, with daytime highs almost up to freezing for weeks. In February, on its celestial schedule, days begin to warm. The sun rises earlier over the eastern mountain, each morning the blazing orb appears slightly to the left of the morning before. Like a flock of murmurating starlings, the fisherfolk hook their pickups to the shacks and drag them off the waning ice. The lake begins to darken as the frozen caps over unused fishing holes disappear and the weight of the remaining ice pushes water to the surface, turning the snow to slush.

Soon the ice will be gone from the lake and leaves will blanket the maples and I will be seriously considering that first plunge.

# # #

Ah, memories of when and where I grew up, when winters were cold and the ice was thick on the lake. The past few years where I now call home it has been a little difficult keeping track of claims of coming climate trends but we know from experience that spring is coming earlier and warmer. I bought a snowthrower a few years ago when there was snow I was not enthusiastic about shoveling. I have not needed to work the machine the past two years.

Thirty miles from home, the international airport is, on the year, nearly three degrees warmer than normal. The thing is, “normal” only looks back thirty years, making the TV weatherfolks’ mention of today’s temp relative to “normal” only slightly more meaningful than comparing it to yesterday.

Lately, I have been thinking about winter in Ukraine. It’s almost Cherry Blossom Time here, so why is everyone in Ukraine huddled in quilted coats, wading through new snow. So I loaded up my digital globe.

It turns out, if Kyiv – that nation’s capital city – was moved to the same hemisphere as the east coast of the United States, it would be about 600 miles north of New York City, up near the southern tip of Hudson Bay, where almost no one lives.

It is difficult to think of changing climate or relative distances between cities on opposite sides of the planet. We get used to driving around town, but it is easy to lose track of which way is North or in what direction lies a restaurant we have been to only once. What we do know is temperatures – political and environmental – are rising in both hemispheres.

Thanks for coming along. If you like what you’ve seen, please take a moment to tell your friends where we are.

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