Friday, November 4, 2016
The Longest Indian Summer
"This is the longest Indian Summer ever," the waitress said. She is right, too. It is November first, the day after Halloween, when it has typically been so cold here in Colorado, that the children have to cover their costumes with winter parkas and stomp through the cold snow and freezing temperatures just to collect candy while saying "Trick or Treat".
I spent several Halloweens in Colorado with my children, freezing while I followed them from house to house with other moms and dads trailing behind. Sometimes it snowed. Sometimes there was no snow, but the main constant was cold. Very cold. 30 degrees, 20 degrees, teens, even colder once, I think. I remember my hands being so cold I couldn't feel them them anymore. My feet, too. That was a year it was snowing. Some parents drank to keep warm. Those of us not drinking watched after both them and their children. Finally, we all went home, warming ourselves in front of the gas fireplaces while children checked and ate candy.
I'm sitting with my friend David in a small bar/coffee shop/restaurant in a smaller town in a county as large as an Atlantic state. David and I had just finished an autumn hike of 5.5 miles at a nearby mountain. This is one of my favorite local-ish hikes that climbs to 7500 feet, a trail surrounded by spruce trees, a mountain island surrounded by meadows. Yes, this is Spruce Mountain, an open space park in Douglas County, Colorado I have written about here many times.
We had gone for lunch afterwards at a favorite place of David's. We both enjoyed our lunches, the coffee and latte, the service and local history. There was a photo on the wall of a man and motorcycle standing among piled boards with a caption about a June 1965 storm, telling how the tornado had taken down the garage, but left no scratches on his motorcycle inside. That kind of local history.
Our hike had been quite fine. It was cool today, in the upper 40's when we started on the trail. It was windy here too, the windiest I had seen yet while on Spruce Mountain. Windy enough to blow me around at Windy Point, maybe 50-60 mile per hour gusts there. It is all part of the Palmer Divide weather phenomenon there, where storms stream either north or south at the last minute, confounding meteorologists statewide. Once back in the trees, the wind was not so bad, the path was wide and sandy. The climb up to the top loop was very cool along the stony edge, but the temperature warmed up to the low 60's when we got back to the car. We were the third car here, now there are 11 and one of them is a retirement community bus (seriously active seniors).
So about that Indian Summer thing. I believe that Global Warming has now reached us and is staring us squarely in the face while we wonder what to do about it. We cannot turn the calendar back. Maybe we cannot even slow Global Warming, science doesn't really know. Some don't even acknowledge it, others won't care until their homes are underwater, while others are running around yelling hateful things about it.
I think one thing we can do that can help is to change from heavy, industrial international farming to a local permaculture system where we grow all our food locally and organically without using chemicals, GMO's, or semi-trucking it around the world with logistic networks. Voting for renewable wind/solar/geo energy world-wide, and demanding that we must use it now can help. Making the change to electric vehicles will make a big difference too, but only when we can replace every gasoline vehicle on the planet, cease pumping oil from the ground and giving so much money and power toward it. Then we must equalize the social differences that create our imbalance of wealth with too few rich and too many poor. Meet people halfway and share. Then reduce our wasteful get, get, getting and constant consuming and the need for everything to be "profitable". Part of this is an internal change where we must learn to choose not to hate, choose not to consume, choose food for its locality and healthiness, choose people over profit while treating everyone nice, choose peace over war, choose community with others, choose happiness over pain, just choose to do the right thing.
Perhaps after all those changes and choosing, Global Warming may slow enough, just enough for us to live peaceably together. That's my opinion.