Monday, March 8, 2010
March 4, 2010 A day of absolute beauty. The recorded high temperature reached 62 degrees. Unremarkable? Let me explain. The National Weather Service, for our city, has records going back to 1888. It has not reached 60 degrees here since November 28. (Over 3 months ago). According to the Weather Service, that has never happened before. (At least not since 1888) I rode to work every day this week except for Monday, because I had to go to a funeral . That hasn't happened for awhile either. It has had a positive impact on my outlook on life. I don't know about all of you readers, but I am much happier when I can ride to work. It charges me up! I always look forward to the ride. As I was riding this morning I could sense some changes in the air. The smells are a little different. The winds feel different. Can't even put my finger on it, but somehow there seems to be some changes coming. Spring is still, what, 15 days away, technically? This time of the year, I am pretty well "chained to the desk" at the office. Many times, in past years, a 60 degree day would happen in January and we would all look at each other in the office and wish we could go outside and play. It was difficult sometimes to stay inside and keep the nose to the grindstone. It hasn't been a problem this year. Nobody has had the desire to go outside, it has just been too cold, not exactly frigid, just well below normal. I am not opposed to riding in the cold, it's just ice and snow that usually holds me back. In fact, I find riding in colder weather to be rather stimulating. This winter has been much more of a challenge to engage in riding to and from work. A lot of people around here scoff at the idea of global warming. Especially this year. Who can blame them? Locally, we just don't see the evidence. I think I'll leave the debate about it to the experts who probably know a lot more about it than I do. I find it rather humorous that much of what we hear about it, pro or con, comes from people I consider to be unqualified in the field. Al Gore is certainly no scientist. Neither are the people on Fox News. There are a few things, however, that bother me. You only have to look at the atmosphere over many major cities with high smog levels and know that "It just ain't right". Also the pictures from space of glaciers and the polar ice caps and how they are shrinking are fascinating, even ominous. I am not qualified to evaluate it, but it makes me wonder. National Geographic magazine had an excellent depiction of what we might be doing to our atmosphere. They described the atmosphere like a bathtub. As we deposit greenhouse gases into the bathtub, it starts to fill. Of course nature has it's own ways of emptying the bathtub. Plants and trees in particular absorb and use many of these gases in a very natural way, thereby helping to empty the bathtub. The oceans absorb a lot also, just slower. The problem is that, by their analysis, the bathtub is filling faster than it is draining. What that means over the long term, I am not sure. Scientists will continue to argue over the implications. I just hope that with my scooter regularly getting over 70 mpg, that maybe I am helping a bit. My car gets good mileage, too. But the scooter gets about 3 times the mpg. What if more people rode motorcycles, scooters and, or bicycles to work? It's a big planet, 2/3 if it covered by water. Mother nature is extremely powerful on her own. Are we jeopardizing the atmosphere for future generations? I don't know. But some of what we do just doesn't seem right. With Spring just around the corner as the plants start to grow again, and the trees become filled with leaves, then maybe the atmosphere can get a little cleaner. I think Autumn is my favorite season for a number of reasons. But right now..... Spring is looking pretty damn good.