Yesterday, in a climate-change-produced Christmas miracle, it was 71 degrees in New Jersey. I went for a hike in short sleeves with my son and my dogs at a time of year normally more suited for parkas and mittens. Stateline Lookout was practically deserted, despite the fact that if it had been April and that same temperature, the place would have been packed. The few people that were there seemed disoriented. One woman was in a down vest and a puffy coat down to her ankles, walking alongside a man with a thin windbreaker on. Others were, like us, in short sleeves. It was climatological confusion.
Today it is pouring rain. Now, don’t get me wrong, I simply love rain. But I can’t help but think that all this precipitation could have made for a beautiful, white Christmas. Alas, it is 30 degrees too warm for that. And here’s what’s weird about this rainfall: it seems to be bringing out the squirrelmaggedon. The squirrels, either also climatologically confused or otherwise just opportunistic, are out there digging up my lawn like the buffet line just opened up and it is under my grass. When I took my dogs out for a walk this morning, my little Scarlett yelped in frustration at the sheer number of tasty morsels teasing her with their proximity. Whenever I see squirrels proliferate around these parts I always think, “Well, if the end of civilization and modern food distribution ever came, at least I’d have plenty of squirrel meat.” If, you know… I got good at throwing rocks. The happy news on that front is that the chicken wire seems to be keeping them off the tulip bulbs and the crocus I planted out back. They have not yet figured out how to penetrate that particular storehouse. Hope I didn’t just jinx it.
So, yeah, climate change. I watch the seasons get weirder, the storms get stronger, and it makes me sad. But then I think that 12,000 Earth was in the midst of an ice age. The planet has been covered in fire and in water and countless species have come and gone before we ever got here. It is only because we humans think ourselves so supremely interesting and important that we think things can never change from what we’re used to. Yes, we’re changing the climate. And, yes, the planet will be fine. All that remains to be seen is whether we humans survive the squirrelmaggedons and the strange weather.