Thursday, March 12, 2009

Changing Weather

What do they call it when the seasons move? Not change -- they are going to do that anyway. But move -- happen at a different time of the year? The change is not dramatic, but I see it happening. Is it my imagination, or does anyone else experience a similar phenomenon?

When I moved to California in the mid-1960's, we used to have a sharp cold snap in September. Out came the cool-weather clothes, the long sleeves, the jackets, the rain gear. Then we had a spate of beautiful, warm weather before the cooler stuff really set in by mid-October. You could plan a ski-trip for January and count on snow in the mountains.

Then we moved to Groveland. People talked about winters with two or three snowfalls of 1' or more. They said those ended when Don Pedro Reservoir was filled. I remember coming home from the Bay Area in November 1978. The radio was full of news from Jonestown. Remember that this was the San Francisco Bay Area, home to 99% of the victims. My Volvo was stuffed with an extra kid in the back seat, weekend luggage, the results of a spree of grocery and Christmas shopping, even a Christmas tree. Naturally, the chains were at the bottom of the heap. The snow level was about 2000' -- half-way down the New Priest Grade -- and we crawled through Big Oak Flat with Ray admonishing all other drivers, "Don't stop, you fool!" We crawled sideways up the divide between Big Oak and Groveland, used the downhill momentum to get us through Groveland town, and slid into a parking space at the Pine Mountain Lake main gate. Ray hitched a ride home on the snowplow and came back in the full-size 4x4 pickup which he said was pushing snow with the front bumper down Ferretti Road. We abandoned the car and went home in the truck. We were 3 days without power in that storm, mostly spent huddled in front of the fireplace -- which did not morph into a wood stove for several years.

These days, you can't count on snow in January. The storms are not coming until February and March. Even then, shoveling more than once a year, and then only a couple of inches at a time, is unusual in Groveland. It may stay cool into June, and still be summer in September. In July or August there may be 10 days of daytime temps well over 100, night temps never less than 70. Without air conditioning, it just plain hot.

In Honolulu, 72 degrees is cool. I can't remember what the seasons style:italic;">should be like in Hawaii. But it's mid-March, I'm sitting around in long sleeves and still enjoying sleeping under a down comforter. The wind is ferociously gusty outside, and there's a whole new array of leaves to be swept up off the lawns before the green garbage pick-up comes again. Flowers cling tenaciously to the mango trees, promising lots of fruit this summer. But it takes 4-5 months from flowering to fruit picking, and these trees usually bear in mid-summer. We expect the flowers weeks earlier than this.

What's happening in your neighborhood? Are the swallows still returning to Capistrano -- and Moccasin -- on the 19th of March? Is it the right season at the wrong time? Has Mother Earth changed her angle in relation to the sun? Is it Global Warming at work? Is my imagination working overtime?

Look for positives. Give thanks for the gifts we have. Don't forget to pray ....

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