New England winter

cherry trees in snow


Walking through the parking lot of my office the other day, I noticed that the management company has put up those tall orange sticks again, in the landscaping and along the edges of the sidewalks.

If you live in a temperate climate, you won’t know what those are for. If you live in a place where snow falls heavily, you’ll know that they’re meant for snowplow season.

The sticks are about three or four feet high, so that even if we get a whopper of a snowstorm, the sticks will still be visible above the snow, and the plows can avoid the curbs and the shrubs.

It took me well over twenty years to figure out what the orange sticks were for. The property managers put them in place well before the snow falls, usually, so you don’t really make the connection between stick and snow.

I grew up in a very temperate place: western Washington state. Winters there are dark and rainy and relatively warm, and snow falls only once in a while. We didn’t need orange sticks in our parking lots.

Does it bear repeating that the New England winters are getting less and less snowy, and more and more like those Northwest winters? Here we are in mid-December, when the weather in Rhode Island should be freezing every day, and it was – mm – damp and dark and rainy today. Just like those old rain-foresty temperate winters in western Washington.

Also, there are still those damned cherry trees that bloomed a few weeks ago. It’s been happening with regularity over the past few years: the blooming of those insane (or deluded) trees in mid-winter.

The world is changing, kids, Mayapocalypse or no Mayapocalypse.

There are those who assure us that, even if climate change is happening, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a Northwest Passage! Saskatchewan and the Dakotas will be like Paradise!

And who needs Florida, or South Carolina, or the Maldive Islands, or cares if they’re swamped completely?

And who cares if the equatorial regions become uninhabitable? No one important lives there, right?

As I’ve said before: I have maybe twenty or thirty years left on earth, if I’m very lucky. I never dreamed I’d say something like this, but: I hope I don’t live to see the worst of it.

I’ve seen cherry trees blooming in New England in December.

That’s bad enough for me.


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

2 Responses to New England winter

  1. starproms says:

    Yes we see it here in old England too. We have had the wettest year on record I believe. Just lately it’s been floods, but luckily not where I live. The fields are full of muddy puddles but we are high enough not to be flooded. The floods in the Cornwall and S.W. have been so regular that now the poor people down there are experiencing landslides.

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