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What?

It’s finally gotten cold in our neck of the woods – relatively speaking, of course. After the warmest winter on record in 2012 and several 70 degree days this month, we’ve finally run into a five or six day stretch in which temperatures are predicted to range from the high teens to the low 40s.

I had to dress for the arctic when I walked the dog this morning. The sides of the deep and ugly rut where a neighbor’s visitor parked in my yard after last week’s rain were frozen solid.

I’m not crazy about cold weather, but I’m not crazy about mosquitoes, either, or fruit trees blossoming six weeks early and then losing their promise in the next freeze.

One of the beautiful things about our world is the delicate dance of the temperate zones, where hot and cold work together like ballet dancers to tell trees and plants and bugs when it’s time to flower or fold, to grow or go dormant, to emerge or to cocoon, to rise or fall, to fly or to die. It’s a tenuous balancing act from year to year, and it doesn’t take much to throw it off.

Which is one of many reasons global warming is such a concern. Even the die-hard skeptics who think climate change is a liberal conspiracy can’t deny the data showing a steady string of warmer years, or the reality of their own more abundant sweat.

Every one of the 12 years in this millennium have been among the 14 hottest years on record. Think about it: nobody less than 36 years old has ever experienced a colder than average year.

That should get our attention.

It’s not a trend that can be quickly reversed, but it screams for us to be more stingy with our use of fossil fuels, and to continue developing non-polluting renewable energy sources.

When I drive to work or make my way to a preaching assignment, I enjoy guiding the Prius through fields of cotton and soybeans, sweet potatoes and even tobacco. If trends continue, one day they could be replaced with orange groves and banana plantations.

I love tropical fruit, and generally I’d prefer to sweat than shiver, but sometimes you have to say “Bring on the cold!”

 

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