by Julia Buckley
So naturally all of the warm-weather lovers see this early Spring-in-Winter as a boon, a gift from the gods, and have come out of the woodwork in their shorts and halter tops to rollerblade, walk their dogs, ride bikes, jog.
I certainly enjoy the breezes coming in my window and the scent of flowers beginning to bloom, but a dark part of me (and I fear a fairly large part of me tends toward darkness) sees this as a terrible illusion, a pleasant mask over something terrible. Last week I talked about Hamlet, and I can't forget his fear that "Time is out of joint; o cursed spite/that ever I was born to set it right." Hamlet was under the impression that he could set it right, which, in a way, he did. I'm not as sure that we have that option.
Whether or not one believes in the Global Warming phenomenon (and why wouldn't someone believe it, again?), one certainly can't deny that our weather is changing. Last month I heard an interview with a local meteorologist who said, in essence, that he'd been a forecaster for thirty years but that his job had become hard because "this is no longer an atmosphere that I recognize."
We've always weathered extreme storms, of course. But the storms of today, especially in a place like the once-stable Midwest, which could boast freedom from east and west extremes like hurricanes and earthquakes, seem different. After the last two summers, I feel tempted, for the first time in my life, to dig an underground shelter.
And what are we to make of an almost non-existent winter and too-early spring? I told my son, jokingly, that his children might not know what snow was, and he said, "It's okay; I can tell them." I suppose he is the optimist in this matter, but he pretty much has to be. He has many years ahead of him, and he needs a world that he can count on.
I realize that pessimism may just be a part of my makeup, a particular twist in the strands of my DNA. But because of it, I can't truly enjoy these sunny days because of my fear of that sun's encroachment on the earth.