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I did know the awful risk I took last week by putting away the ice scraper, snow brush, and shovels. In spring even a bit of balm in the air can be enough to make an otherwise reasoned person somewhat balmy of mind. What I did not expect and apologize for with a true heart is the consequence of my rash act calling in an over the weekend return of winter. It was possibly nice to see a white dust brightening things on Saturday morning. I could say this little and unexpected snow dust was the nicest part of winter, but I’d have to do so with a strained expression hardly able to hide my feeling of irate disgust. On the other hand, I can recall times in past May seasons I stood outdoors in an old army parka wearing my choppers to wet down a patch of newly seeded grass. I was about as optimistic and happy doing that as I’d be trying to grow grass in the refrigerator with the light on. There’s the odd crop of peculiar colored mold that’s flourished on a back shelf when a bowl was pushed rearward out of sight and far from mind. I grew some impressive purple stuff with green tufts, but never anything resembling lawn grass. I doubt refrigeration is conducive to lawn growth. If it were we’d have to buy little mowers to keep the icebox verge under control. At least we are spared that problem, but really, there is no face I can put on mid-May snow that makes it jolly or desirable.
On the other hand, the event must have cheered those riled against the topic of climate change. Following a strict cause and effect regimen the case for global warming should mean (to the strict minded) everything getting gradually and uniformly warmer as in an over turned on. But what was heralded as global warming might have been better case as climate instability or climate change. Nature is uniform, but not always in a pattern we’d say is even. Sailors will tell you that in a well-built sea the bigger waves will come in sets of three. Exactly why has never been made clear to me. You’ll have lots of fairly regular large waves and then a set of three whoppers with no side of fries. Another oddity is the unpredictable appearance of an occasional rogue wave that puts the trio of biggies to humble. To get a picture of the intricacies of nature we need to either step further and further back for perspective or go in electron microscope close which in many ways resembles the furthest view imaginable. To get things in perspective depends on where you stand and the tools you might use. I’m not trying to be critical or pooh-pooh anyone’s point of view other than make clear as I’m able to view that any perspective on a major topic is like trying to take a picture of the infinite. Good luck with that.
In any case, I did not mean to play with fire (the title of this piece) whether it be icy fire or the other kind. It just happened that way and is a good old reminder of how easily the things we say and or do can run out on limbs of their own creation. A great thing about being Up The Shore is the seeming separation from civilization. For those living here there is often a sense of freedom or escape from the regular world. At times the North Shore has been called Minnesota’s Alaska; the further north you go the more Alaskan we become until reaching Canada where the Arctic begins and the folk live in houses made of ice and drive vehicles named FARGO and where electricity is called hydro. It is a good thing we share the same uncommon language. Those of you in the Twin Ports can view flocks of migratory Canadians seasonally for the big Florida migration and weekly for the shorter flights to the Miller Hill area where good deals are plucked from store branches by northern birds with strong nest building urges stronger than their budgets. It’s a show worth watching. The last act, long strings of vehicles flocking north ad dusk, is a sight equal to any majestic V of geeses.
Perspective, what’s included and excluded from our view, is worth remembering whether the topic is weather humor, global impacts, or society watching. Quite often, as I’m sure you do as well, I hear silly overstatement plopped down as universal fact. “Shakespeare is the most performed playwright.” The statement sounds OK, but I bet sitcom reruns are not included in the tally. Claims and assertions are easily made but less reliably proven. One of the Republican Presidential contenders happily stated a view that the Ottoman Empire was the greatest civilization ever to grace this poor planet. I wonder. Do you think the speaker included China with quite a few long running and successful empires or did contrary fact get in the way of whatever the assertion was supposed to support? There should be ready proof if the Ottomans were the greatest. Did that greatness rise or fall on repeated attempts (finally ceasing around the time of the American Revolution) to establish all of Europe in a Caliphate under Muslim rule? Or was the greatness based on that in common with and rising from the Moguls who waged a 600 year long war of genocide against the people of India? Our “Western” perspective is a set of blinders that keep most of us largely unaware of what was very likely THE single most extensive and largest genocide ever enacted by one group on another because one group truly felt and believed their god to be greater or greatest.
Some “plane wit far” is inconsequential silliness; the case with taunting mom nature with a snow brush. But it is truly playing with fire when narrow perspective and lack of factual scope is touted as material of worthy hallmark.