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Climate Change?

Submitted by on Sunday, 16 October 20112 Comments

By Carolyn Keck

Yes, I’ve read the articles and listened to the reports and watched the documentaries. I really do believe it’s happening but from my little home in the woods of Vermont I haven’t paid much attention until this year. Suddenly a few things are definitely out of whack.

Dyed-in-the-wool Vermonters tend to be a stubborn lot and I heard a story about one farmer that I found very poignant. “Sugaring off” (tapping Maple trees for sap) has always been a part of his life. Every year he started tapping on the same weekend in the spring as did his parents before him. This year his sister told me “the stupid cuss won’t start until Washington’s birthday and the season will be over before he even starts!!” and it was – just about.

That was February into March. In the spring I took the risk of planting hot peppers and tomatoes mid May thinking I was a fool. My entire life in the North Country, planting has been June 1st for a very good reason. Almost without fail there is a late May frost. This year it wasn’t even close. I probably should have planted my peas earlier – they love the cold and definitely not the warmth.

The next thing I became aware of was my perennials. On a walk one day I noticed Phlox growing wild in the field. This brought back an NPR discussion I heard several years ago about how as climate changes cultivated flowers will start to seed themselves in the wild…hmmmm.

In past blogs I have mentioned how the wood thrush leaving and heading south harbors the arrival of Autumn – albeit not for several weeks. I always take note of this for the thrush is a bird of joy and light and I miss its song dearly. As long as I can remember it has left the first week in August – from the time I was a little girl because my father always mentioned it … “the thrush has gone – time to start winterizing”. This year it didn’t leave until the third week of August. I couldn’t believe it and was both thrilled to have its wonderful song a little longer but definitely puzzled.

Finally the fall colors. Where I live the changing of the leaves is something we all take note of – both for their beauty and the many visitors they bring to our state. Because we notice, this year
is especially odd. Without fail, since I can remember, the leaves have reached their height of color around Oct. 3rd give or take a day or two. This year it is the second week in October and they are just getting close.

I know there are many documented studies about ice caps melting, oceans rising and weather patterns changing. These are real events and we acknowledge them but there is something very frightening about changes in day to day patterns that have been here as long as one can remember. The very foundation of our lives is shifting and the people who have the power to do something about it are too disconnected from the real and living world to see it- or be willing to see it through their haze of greed and ego.

Carolyn Keck lives in West Newbury, Vermont with her tuba playing husband Bill, two newfoundlands and an obnoxious cat. She teaches music and gets great joy from cooking, fly fishing, gardening, quilting and being a grandma.


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