Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Weather-Related Note

It occurs to me to share with readers information about the weather in my part of the country--in case the power in our community happens to be interrupted for extended periods of time in days to come.  As many of you know, I live in Little Rock, in the U.S. state of Arkansas.

And as quite a few of you will also know, in our area, there has been one severe storm after another for days now, with more predicted today and, indeed, for several days to come.  Though Arkansas is in tornado alley, and we have always had such severe storms in spring and fall, as warm, moist air from the Gulf meets cold air sweeping down from Canada across the plains, this constant drumbeat of violent storms is something new for us.

To my way of thinking, it goes hand in hand with the palpable warming of our climate.  As someone who has long been interested in gardening (though I'm a lazy and increasingly desultory gardener), it hasn't escaped my attention that, for some years now, flowers that once bloomed later in the spring in our region bloom earlier and earlier.  

Dogwood and redbud usually coincide with Easter (which, admittedly, occurs on different dates in different years).  They had long since bloomed in central Arkansas this year, before Easter.  Roses are usually (the first round of roses, that is) a May thing, coinciding with the blooming of honeysuckle and hedge (Ligustrum vulgare) to fragrance the late-spring air.

This year, the roses have already bloomed.  They bloomed at the same time the azaleas did, whereas the azaleas normally come first, and then the roses follow.  I know that roses bloomed in May when I was growing up for the following reason: the old custom in country churches had been for children (and others) to wear a rose to church on Mothers' Day.  If your mother were living, you wore a red rose.  If she had died, you wore a white rose.  

My grandmother grew both red and white roses in her rose garden, and we'd always pluck a rose for Mothers' Day, though we didn't wear them to church, since city folks had discarded that country custom, and we were strictly forbidden to behave like the country folks we were, per our roots--though my grandmother made sure to tell us about this custom from her own childhood.

The climate is warming.  That seems indubitable to me, with spring after spring in this region now characterized by one fierce storm on the heels of another.  Yesterday as we flew back to Little Rock from our Easter visit to our friend, we could actually see from above the line of the storms producing tornadoes, as they neared central Arkansas and then moved east.  We were fortunate to land between storms, though later in the day, as we settled back in, the fireworks began, and the tornado sirens sounded for hours into the night.

All of this to say: I hope I will not be offline in days to come.  But more storms are forecast here later today, and for several days to come.  If you don't hear from me, the weather is the reason.  And I'm certainly thinking, it goes without saying, of the people who lost their lives in the latest storms, of the flooding in parts of my state and other areas, of the town north of Little Rock that was decimated by a tornado last night.

We need to do something--and quickly--about global warming.

No comments: