Thursday, January 10, 2008
Picture of Global Warming
The record-breaking warm weather of the past few days has forced Ski Roundtop to close for today and tomorrow. With temperatures into the mid-60’s, the resort has lost a lot of snow this week. You can see in this photo, even one taken as early as I took this one, that not much snow covers the slopes. This is what global warming looks like at the local level.
The rain that’s predicted for this evening is also likely a factor in closing the slopes now. So far this season, we’ve had about 7 days of actual winter temperatures—2 days here, followed by a week of warmth, another 3 days of normal temperatures, then more warmth. I might as well be living in, say, Virginia.
Up at my cabin, this cloudy and damp morning brought me more birds than has been usual at this time of day—or perhaps it was simply today’s extra minute of daylight. I heard a great horned owl the moment I first stepped outside. It wasn’t very close, calling from somewhere down deep in the valley. Their call is one of those haunting sounds, like the call of a loon or the scream of a red-tailed hawk, that always draws me out of myself and makes me pay attention to the natural world around me. The Carolina wren trilled loudly just a moment later and was much closer. My feeders were soon full of the usual suspects.
Other than the ubiquitous squirrels, I haven’t seen many animals around the cabin for a while. Perhaps they are still wary from the hunting seasons. Even so, it has been longer than usual since I’ve seen deer, raccoons, opossums, fox. The lack of raccoons isn’t a real surprise, perhaps not even the ‘possums, but the deer and fox have also been strangely absent. Of course, with the weather as it has been, what used to be normal isn’t normal anymore. Perhaps the animals are as confused as I am.