2014-02-28 / Opinion


Winter, Taken with a Grain of Salt

T he sun rose at 6:25 a.m. Wednesday and set at 5:32 p.m., giving us just over 11 hours of daylight. Spring is near.

Just don’t tell Mother Nature that.

For good reason, much of the news over the last two weeks has been focused on the weather. We’ve seen images of ice caves on the Great Lakes, frozen highways in the Deep South, and even ice fishing on Melville Pond.

We’ve had a bit of snow on the ground over the past few months. More so of late, which happens to be normal for this time of year. It hasn’t been overwhelming, but it’s been consistent.

The same can be said of the cold.

Since the last days of autumn, record low temperatures have been shattered across the United States almost daily. And as December wound down, we learned that for the first time in 20 years, the U.S. saw more record cold temperatures than record warmth in 2013. That streak has continued into the new year.

By now it feels like we’ve been stuck in a cold weather pattern since the last time the Russians won gold in hockey.

Speaking of which, in Sochi there didn't seem to be enough cold air. Instead, athletes in the Winter Olympics were left to contend with rain, fog, and ice.


To be sure, it’s hard not to focus on the weather, but it’s even harder to imagine other creatures being as fixated on it as modern man.

Yes, it’s been a cold winter. But we do still live in New England, don’t we?

As a group, we’re meant to be a hardy breed, with salt in our veins and a Yankee work ethic. We’re supposed to be used to the cold, revel in the snow, and take a bit of joy in hunkering down.

It doesn’t become us to complain.

It’s also worth noting that the chill we’ve experienced over the last year or so has not been felt universally. Climate change – and the threat posed by rising global temperatures – remains a relevant concern.

Out West, snowpack is at record lows, and what has been called a drought of historic proportions continues with little relief. In England, record rains have princes sandbagging and entire villages under water. And while we’ve experienced a bit of the polar vortex, the Arctic hasn’t.

Don’t lose sight of the long view.

So while news breaks that the region is running low on salt and topping over snow removal budgets, let’s keep in mind that all is not lost. That this too will thaw. And that spring is as sure to arrive as is the next whim of Mother Nature.

If that doesn’t help, then just remember this: Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is now less than three weeks away.

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