by Paul Big Bear
I am not a scientist or a meteorologist but I feel my observations of life qualify me to present my thoughts and theories. We have had a few “heat waves” recently; a heat wave is defined by our weather people as three or more straight days in the nineties or higher. Growing up I recall many hot days, we had a thermometer outside our kitchen window but we also knew how hot it was at night by counting the chirps of a katydid. We did not have radio or TV to tell us how hot it was or if the humidity was up, we also never heard of dew point. We had no air conditioning or fans we opened the windows (top and bottom) to create a breeze flowing through the room. We also had transoms, push out windows above the doors of each room. We had plenty of trees for shade, miles of woods behind our house, grass, flowers and shrubs abundant, we knew when we were going to get rain by watching nature; the lake water would get rough, the birds would take to their nests, the trees would curl their leaves up to catch the rain, and flowers would close to protect their petals.
Smaller animals; squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, groundhogs would all disappear and the rain would fall and if it was more than a brief sun shower, it would cool off. In 1972 it rained very hard for days and the lake rose eight feet and flooded the dirt road. That was the most rain I can remember, but I always enjoyed listening to the older folk reminisce about hotter days, more rain, and winter snows that required chains on car tires. Apparently such things were not knew nor were they worrisome, it had all happened before, we had one summer with a spell of no rain and everyone’s well dried up we had to load as many gallon bottles (glass) into the car and head over to the village, there they apparently had a very deep well that ran very cold and was not affected by the drought. Nobody panicked, no one predicted the end of life we survived. So, why is it so hot? Why does it seem the weather is changing? I believe that a lot has to do with covering Mother Nature with Asphalt, cement, homes, huge high rise buildings, malls and huge parking lots. Hell we have pushed nature out of its home where it has existed for thousands of years; birds, small animals, trees and flowers were the first victims, I remember meeting people from cities like Philadelphia and New York who never saw big trees or rabbits and groundhogs.
Soon we pushed deeper and deeper and the larger animals, raccoons, fox, deer, even bear started finding their way into the rural, suburbs as their homes and feeding grounds were turned into corporate buildings, warehouses, and huge parking lots. Look at the city of New York, an Island with Central Park. Rain falls on impenetrable surfaces and seeks its lowest level, a place it can seep in bringing life to plants and animals, into the earth where nature filters the rain cleaning it for human consumption. Acid rain, polluted waterways, polluted air, and a sad lack of open grounds, fields where nature can continue undaunted. They are disappearing.
Some weekend take the family for a drive out in the country, my wife and I enjoy a few such day trips each year, recently as we drove along with the river and canals on our right and trees (a bit of woods) on our left with plans to stop and have lunch at a diner and maybe ice cream at a small stand where they make their own, we enjoyed the scenery and the chance to get away from the closeness we find even in our suburban home. Sadly we also noted that we were getting there on a road of asphalt and more and more trees were felled to make room for more homes, even a shopping center. We stopped at a favorite diner for lunch, great food, quaint family run and friendly service overlooking the river and we wondered, how long it would be before the food chains and conglomerate stores would replace our little diner and mom and pop stores we enjoy stopping to shop at. We were surprised that the outhouse out back stood unused with the addition of an indoor facility.