Long-time reader Gail, who has been at Wit’s End in NJ for an even longer time, directs me to today’s New York Times editorial, “April Heat,” and gives her reply — I have a slightly different take — all of which are below.
She asked to file this under humor. Why not?
Thanks to global warming, the NYT will be able to write lots and lots of these faux poetic, unintentionally ironic, pro-heat-wave editorials in the future:
The past few days in the Northeast have been the spring version of Indian summer. It is the kind of weather that comes sooner or later every April or early May, a short burst of heat that takes the upstate magnolias out of bud into bloom and leaves the ground strewn with their streamer-like petals, all in a matter of a few days. We like to think that nature isn’t fooled by much, but this is the warmth that could do it, teasing sudden growth out of every growing thing.
And yet this has been just the right kind of warm spell. The warmth seems fragile, easily dispelled by the night. It lacks the ingrown, acrid tang of the heat that feels like August come early, the kind that embeds itself in the asphalt and drifts down the subway steps and piles up in stale corners all across the city. The breeze rises in the late afternoon, and that’s that.
The difference, too, is that this warm spell has felt like a just reward, a kind influence after a harsh winter and what has been, so far, a cold, slow spring. It is usually pretty hard to say just what we, as humans, really deserve. But there were a lot of us walking around this weekend, heads tipped back to catch the sun, thinking we deserve this.
The forecasters are promising one more hot day on Tuesday. Then the weather will break and we will be back where we belong, in late April, shading into May with no foreknowledge of what the rest of this season will bring. That is perhaps the best thing about this short-lived heat wave “” a sense of modesty and restraint, the clear understanding that this was a cameo.
Gail writes me:
It’s almost a schizophrenic response to what is clearly hideous, anomalous and freakish weather. Did I say dangerous?
These past few days have been horrifying for me. It’s so hot and dry, the new leaves are hanging, limp and wilted. It’s terrifying, frankly, to see August in April.
Please do a post and file it under humor, or something. Here’s what I wrote the greying ladies:
This is utterly crazy.
The climate is changing. The trees and other vegetation that evolved over millions of years to live in the environment on the Eastern Seaboard cannot adapt fast enough to keep up with warmer, dryer conditions. Thus, the trees and shrubs are all dying. The ecosystem is collapsing. We are in the midst of a rapidly accelerating mass extinction.
All you have to do is go outside and take a cursory inventory to see this is true. Consider the implications. With trees drying and dying, we will have wildfires. All the life dependent on trees will also expire – squirrels, birds, ferns, even trout in streams that require cool, shaded water.
For the next generation, maple syrup and apples and squirrels will be legends. The soil will wash away and we will be lucky if we can grow food.
Wonder why newspapers are irrelevant? Maybe cause they don’t print the news. Just garbage to make their advertisers happy.
Want a real story? Write about the environmental holocaust going on in everyone’s back yard that they don’t want to acknowledge.
My take: Yes, we all know the difference between climate and weather, and the unexpected heatwave down here in Washington DC is evidence of nothing in particular concerning global warming.
But the question always arises as to what is a good use for the very limited space that the NYT or any major publication has for things like editorials — or cover stories of the Sunday magazine.
I think the NYT editorial should be cut and and framed as one of the last of its kind, a prose poem to a naive but dying era. By, say, 2020 — and then perhaps for the next several hundred years assuming we don’t quickly and sharply get off of our current emissions path — no serious publication, and that includes the NYT (at least the online edition is likely to survive that long) would ever write and publish such a piece.
For me, the irony is the best part:
We like to think that nature isn’t fooled by much….
… this warm spell has felt like a just reward…. It is usually pretty hard to say just what we, as humans, really deserve. But there were a lot of us walking around this weekend … thinking we deserve this.
I can hardly wait for future generations to dig up this editorial and stare at it in utter disbelief.
Apparently what we humans really deserve is what we are doing to ourselves. Let’s all pat ourselves on the back for gliding through the global Ponzi scheme, hoping we can be the last to cash out before the collapse, thinking that we pulled a fast one on nature.