Each Other — Where We Are SANDRA STEINGRABER
The DisconTenT of our WinTer
Are reliable seasons gone for good?
MY CHILDREN have snow anxi- ety. For the record, this started in the winter of 2011–12 when
no snow fell—at all—and sleds, saucers,
skis, and snowball makers sat dejectedly on
the porch, unused, next to the irrelevant
and despondent snow shovel. Week after
week, month after month, Faith and Elijah
scanned the skies and studied the forecast.
When June-like temperatures hit in March,
the sight of the toboggan filled them with so
much despair that they wordlessly dragged
it back to the barn and put it in storage.
Which did not go unnoticed by their
dad and me. When had our kids ever put
stu= away without being asked? It was
as unprecedented as a snowless winter
in upstate New York. Nobody had ever
experienced that either.
During the unfrozen winter of 2011–12,
the grown-ups all walked around saying,
“This is crazy!” True enough. When the
temperature in the mudroom hits eighty
degrees before the day:night ratio hits parity, some synonym for insane is what the
thesaurus should take you to. But “This
is crazy!” also implies that we possess no
rational explanation for June arriving in
March. And I noticed that my son and his
friends never said things like that to each
other. They spoke more grimly, along the
lines of, Global warming. It’s here. Now we
can’t go sledding. Probably ever. So what do
you want to do, dude?
When snow and ice finally fell in
April—hard enough and fast enough
to cancel school—it fell on tulip and
magnolia petals and killed o= the entire
The toboggan stayed in the barn.
But wishful thinking springs anew in
the hearts of children, even in the face of
permanent catastrophe, so, after a cherry-less summer and a fall with few apples,
Faith and Elijah conferred hopefully about
the upcoming winter. Last year was a
global warming winter. But maybe global
warming winters come only every other
year. Maybe this year would be normal.
The snow fell. The sleds came out. The
The snow fell again. And turned to
rain. The ground thawed and great lakes of