Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sufferin’ succotash!

. Today is November 13. Having lived in the Northeast virtually my entire life and in Connecticut for the last few years, I do not expect to look out the window in the middle of November and see sugar maples at peak color, copper beech just beginning to go from green to copper here and there, cherries about a third yellow and having lost perhaps five percent of their leaves, the Bradford pear still solid green, and the grass still growing (my neighbor mowed on Sunday and I should have but didn’t have the time).

Fall is a full month—perhaps five or six weeks, actually, depending on the species—behind what we natives have learned to expect. In fact, the normal course of events is that weather drives most of the deciduous species to deciduate in unison—Whomp! The ground is covered in leaves. But the lack of cold weather has left every species to define its own schedule this year. My lawn would typically be inches deep in copper beech leaves from my neighbor’s tree by now, the magnolia leaves would have been raked into the compost pile weeks ago, and I’d be expecting to do my last lawn cleanup just before the first real snowfall. This year, I expect to be raking the lawn in January, if not February.

We’ve had only one sharp freeze sufficient to wilt tomatoes, a week or so ago. Having paid attention to the weather forecast the previous morning, I went out and picked the last of the mature green tomatoes, and we’ll be enjoying our own garden tomatoes at Thanksgiving dinner. A couple might even make it to Christmas. If you live in a warmer part of the world, that might not sound impressive, but it isn’t something I’ve experienced before.

I won’t try to connect this with the large issue of climate change, because this is liable to be a freak occurrence (time will tell). I’m just looking forward to using less fossil fuel for heating this winter. I’ll probably spend as much or more, given the rapid rise in energy prices, but consuming less is good, anyway.

What does this have to do with the subject of this blog? Not a damn thing.


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

It is ridiculuth! At my house, we just harvested the last of the watermelons, which normally shouldn't be around this late.

Anonymous said...

I’m in Katharine’s neck o’ the woods and, while I can no longer stand the cold, there’s something a bit strange at how warm it’s remained.

There’s a place in Riverhead, Katharine, where I occasionally lunch. Just two Saturdays ago, my wife and I sat outside overlooking the Peconic River. It was perfectly pleasant. But strange.

Still, Dick, as long as the polar ice caps don’t empty into the Long Island Sound in the forseeable future, I’m going to enjoy the unseasonable warm and push the vague disquiet I feel about it to the back of my mind.

Dick Margulis said...

My wife, a California native, says she's upset about global warming but glad about Connecticut warming.