I know 2015 was the hottest year on record. This is the biggest climate story around this week. People died in heatwaves in India. There were severe weather events with weird ass storms at the wrong time of the year. Flooding in England and Missouri. Drought in Guatemala and Brazil. And it wasn’t all because of El Niño. That weather altering brat is only partially to blame. Nope it was the global warming machine at work.
Still 2015 was one of the coldest for me. This time last year here in the Northeast we were in a deep freeze. Frosted windows, repeated snowstorms, single digits. I loved it. Then in August I was in England, where it was downright chilly for me (although folks complained it was too hot.) From there I went to Iceland where it was sunny and cool (although the Icelanders said it was unseasonably warm for them.) In October I travelled to the Arctic Circle and spent a week in the city of Tromsø, Norway. I walked for hours in the snow and under the northern lights.
Then this past Christmas I travelled to San Francisco by train to see the family. While New York enjoyed/endured a sweltering holiday with temperatures in the 60s, it got below freezing in the Bay Area most nights where people remarked, “It is rarely this cold.” Then off to Phoenix where I never took off my down jacket because of the cold weather. The Arizonians rejoiced because they got to wear their winter gear for a change.
Am I a frozen Disney Princess?
Perhaps I am a cold magnet. My poor husband adores the heat of his South African homeland, and here I am a queer Prince Elsa with a frozen touch. Right now in Central PA I am thrilled with the frigid weather and the snowstorm predicted for the weekend–this is the one that may dump two feet of snow on Washington, DC, where they don’t really have a clue of what to do with it. They are warning of gust of winds upward to 55 miles per hour.
Of course I am safe and warm in my home. I have a home. I know that for LGBTQ living on the streets, extreme weather creates multiple challenges, including the risks of seeking shelter in places that are not welcoming toward gender queer, transgender, and queer folks.
Looking at the projections, I know that winter is something that has changed and will change. Snow, ice, and deep freeze may well soon become a thing of the past, so I cling to every opportunity I have to feel the cold. It makes me sad. I remember my childhood with weeks of thick layers of ice on my bedroom window and long stretches of cold and snow. That doesn’t happen much anymore in my hometown of Lake Huntington, NY.
In Episode 21 of the Climate Stew Show we travelled to the future to see how our descendants will respond. How will we adapt? How will we hold onto the nostalgia of winters of long ago?