Summer of Twenty-Twelve

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I've been wondering for a while, almost in some kind of fantasy, if we would remember this summer as the turning point. And I would think back with a kind of Mona Lisa smile on my face that I knew it at the time, as it was happening. I think so.


It's been a crazy summer, preceded by a crazy winter that wasn't quite winter at all. The summer before this one was hot Hot, HOT! I remember because I had just had to sell my house (where I lived for 25 years), and I so missed the trees and the shade and the coolness brought in by the attic fan in the evening that dragged a breeze through every opening. I would have been in a daze that whole summer but for the thunderstorms that greeted me in my new apartment. So bright they lit up the night sky. I have video to prove it.


Storms like those always thrilled and terrified my in my house. Now, in an old brick factory-turned-apartments, I was fearless, if still very sad. I missed my home. Still, the storms were very cool. There were tornadoes that summer, and they ripped apart towns to our west and left people without power for weeks.


Just that winter we'd had more snow than we'd seen since the blizzard of '78. If you weren't living around Boston that year you don't remember; might not even have heard of it. But there was enough snow that Governor Dukakis declared a state of emergency and prohibited driving for a week.


This winter was the opposite. No snow. Not even much cold weather—at least not the below freezing kind. When the azaleas bloomed in March, it was downright eerie. At the same time the perennials, like crocuses and day lilies, were sending up green shoots. All I could think was, "This isn't right." Now it's summer and the lack of snow has left us dry as a bone. But it's not just here. It's all over the country. Driest, hottest, most crop-less since the dustbowl days.


I'm not really feeling much like smiling, Mona Lisa or otherwise. I think I'm living through that episode of The Twilight Zone, where the Earth appears to be moving closer to the sun, and people are dying of heat and thirst—until the dreamer wakes up and it's really the opposite. The Earth is moving away from the sun and everyone is actually freezing to death.


Maybe I'm just being melodramatic. No way to tell for five or 10 years or so. What we know now is that food is going to be more expensive this year. I could stand to lose 10 pounds anyway.

Created: Jul 27, 2012


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