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Will warm weather bring ugly weather payback?

Posted by Your Town  March 22, 2012 01:34 PM

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“We're going to get whacked.”

That's what my friend Ellen says about this unseasonably beautiful weather. We're going to get whacked, she says, because you can't skip winter. It's like skipping that sad pile of wilted green spinach on your plate and going straight to the chocolate cake.

“What do you mean, whacked?” I asked Ellen.

“We're going to pay,” she answered. “After this amazing weather, we're going to be punished with a scorcher of a summer. Basically, we're going to fry.”

Other people think we've already gotten whacked. We've whacked ourselves, they say, by dirtying the planet. They call this gorgeous weather global warming. These mild days, they say, are nothing compared to the climate change that lies ahead. We've been selfish and irresponsible and we'll get what we deserve. Not so many years from now, no matter how warm and sweet the spring air, we won't be able to breath it. We'll be stuffed into gas masks, or hiding indoors, or washed away in a fierce unseasonable storm.

Maybe I'm a bad person, but I wasn't feeling the doom and gloom yesterday. I had my bike out of the basement for my first ride of the season, and I was feeling very intensely alive.

I saw my first big fat bumblebee of the year. It flew a surprisingly crooked path right in front of my bike for about four seconds. Still warming up those wings, I thought.

I detoured around a child's sippy cup lying on the edge of the road, a cute blue double-handled number with ducks on it. Dropped, or maybe flung. Hey kid, you have a tricycle to look forward to, and maybe you will get it this year.

The roads weren't pristine, but they weren't as bad as last year. Not much sand, not so much loose gravel, not as many potholes as I remember. At least in eastern Massachusetts, we've been spared the repeated freezing and thawing that so rudely disregards cyclists and jumbles road surfaces.

I'm the cranky bicyclist in the family. I'm the hold-out, refusing to trick myself out in skin-tight bike shorts, cunning zippered shirts, clip-in shoes, gloves, sleeves, multi-lens sunglasses, special socks, special anything. Ladies and gents, I bought bike shorts for a very hard bike seat in a spin class I took this winter, and I wore those babies out on my inaugural ride yesterday. All I can say is that I've been a fool.

I don't know, is this too much good weather? Are we going to get whacked? Will we be washed away, or will wildfires, carbon dioxide concentrations, Arctic sea ice melt rates, hurricanes, and heat waves make living on Earth extraordinarily different or difficult, in coming years? As according to Ellen's prophesy, are we going to fry?

I think it's my duty to get Ellen on a bike this spring. I should do it now, too, before we are crispy and toasted, and whether we toast ourselves or crisp up naturally. Ellen, let's do it. We don't know what's coming, but I promise you that on your bike, you'll feel very much alive.

Susan Meyers is a Brookline writer. Her memoir about sight, blindness, and her relationship with her brother, titled Check This Box If You Are Blind, was published last June by Climbing Ivy Press.

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