Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ice is Nice

Yes, ice is nice. The other morning the temperature at the house was -6° F, the coldest it’s been here in many years. But, it was a beautiful morning! Anyone who listened to the folks presenting the weather on radio or TV would be left with the impression that to merely open the door would be to risk instantly freezing to death. I feel sorry for those folks who hate winter and only experience it as they scurry from house to car, from car to store or office, back to the car, and back home.
It was such a gorgeous morning that I couldn’t resist taking a 4½ mile walk along one of the streams in the Big Woods. Except for a few juncos and black-capped chickadees there was no wildlife to be seen and there wasn’t even enough snow to make tracking wildlife a worthwhile enterprise. But, there was the varied and beautiful ice along the stream:
Yes, ice will suffice!

I’m old enough to remember when below zero temperatures were common here, common enough that we would regularly register several below zero days every year and a winter without seeing zero was unusual, not the norm it has recently become.
But that was then, this is now and the world we live in has changed and is still changing – rapidly. The waterfalls we used to climb almost every winter after they froze now go years without freezing enough to make climbing safe.
There are forecasts predicting that by 2100, northcentral Pennsylvania’s climate will resemble the climate of central Georgia. If that comes to pass, our forests will change dramatically and many of our species of plants and wildlife will be in dire straits. As a friend used to say, “I’m glad I’m old.” For now, and while we have it, I’ll revel in the cold weather and enjoy the ice.