Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wearing a hooded sweatshirt and thick socks

This has been the coldest California winter I have ever experienced since moving here in 1979. I lived in San Francisco for the first 12 years or so, and I remember once or twice seeing frost on the windows, and one year, we had freezing rain. After moving north 15 miles, to Marin county, we were startled at the few frosty mornings where we had to pour water on the car windshield, and enjoyed seeing the glittering grass as we went out to pick up the morning paper. We'd have about a week of frosty mornings scattered through December or January. A couple of years ago, there was even a dusting of snow on the hills one morning. So that's the context for my comparison.

This year, there is much discussion of the extremely delayed winter weather back east, and the draught conditions on the west coast. But what I can't believe is just how cold it's been! For more than a month, a hard frost in the mornings. Our trumpet vine, survivor of many winters, has died. Of course the banana tree down the street is completely gone. Our lemon tree has lived, but it is the largest and hardiest lemon tree I've ever seen. Lemon production seems to have gone into remission, however, and usually January is the big month for lemons around here.

This may not sound like much to those who choose to live in the frigid states, but I can complain, because I moved here to escape the cold winters. In Oswego NY, where I went to college, they had to string ropes between the dorms and the classroom buildings, so that students wouldn't be blown away or lost in the blizzard conditions. One year the snow drifts along the streets were so high, that drivers put poles on their front bumpers, with little flags on top, so that motorists approaching intersections could see each other.

If this is global warming, when will it warm up?

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