About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Could it be Climate Change?

Yellow leaves and fruits on the Ohio Buckeye Tree

The heat affects people in different ways. Some people love summer and thrive in the sunshine. Others prefer to be cold rather than hot. I fall in the later group. The heat steals my mind away, flips my stomach upside down, and makes me light headed. I do not sweat much, so my body can not cool itself well. Therefore, I have been cursing this terrible heat wave.
But I realize there is more to it than that...

Two feet of snow and cold
The past few weeks have been so sweltering that even people who enjoy mild heat have been hiding in the shade. With temperatures over 100 degrees every day since the endless rain stopped in June, who can appreciate summer? It has not rained a measurable amount since the flooding in May. Usually the Ozarks gets afternoon showers throughout July and sometimes into August. But this has not been a typical year.

Endless rain and a confused wren
In winter, we had record snow fall and negative temperatures that wouldn't budge. Then the spring brought record rain with flash flooding and a perfect storm of deadly tornadoes. There was no break between the chilly showers of May and the sweltering heat of June. Now we are experiencing record heat and drought conditions all throughout the region.  

Dry leaves and dry grass
The plants don't know how to react. All spring seeds were washed from garden beds and saplings drowned in the saturation. Along every river trees laid dying, drug down by the overflowing banks. And spring seemed to last forever, well beyond its welcome. Then overnight summer hit like mallet. The sun baked out any moisture and the clouds retreated. Now it is not even August and trees are changing color, dropping their leaves because they can not afford to loose any more moisture. Black berries are ripening before they get plump. The buck eye trees, like many others, are dropping small shriveled fruit that was suppose to hang on until autumn. Dogwoods and redbuds are drying out and look like death. I am honestly concerned for the dusty plants.

Looking out at the bewildered forests, I can't help but blame myself for climate change. These are transitional times. If you are awake and can hear me, you must also share in my fears. If you are sleeping and don't believe in climate change, than it is too late for you. I don't know if we can turn this thing around anymore. I just hope for a fresh beginning.

It looks like fall in summer

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