Editorial

'Baby, it's warm outside'

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Water skiing in a Santa hat on Twin Lakes on December 11. I kid you not. / Photo courtesy Pam Sanford

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

Our flip flops all lined up in a row.

Where we need no mittens, and children listen

to hear the jet skis go, go, go.

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

Shopping in a tank top doesn't bite

May your pajamas be sweaty all night

And may this Christmas be totally unwhite

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

Not like subzero ones that used to blow

The treetops bud and basements flood

With our lake continuing to flow

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

With Canada geese still in flight

May your forecast be for 40s and bright

El Nino, my compadre, you're alright

You know those people, who wax philosophic about the beauty of the drifted snow, and can't wait to bundle up, roast chestnuts, jingle the bells and whatever else people are supposed to do in winter in the forsaken tundra of the midwest?

I'm not one of those people.

As far as I'm concerned, winter is just a big, fat, dark thing that keeps us from getting to summer.

I wish the world leaders well with their Paris Climate Accord, I really do, but if the last couple of weeks in Iowa is an example of climate change, goodness help me, I can't say I haven't enjoyed it.

As I write this, it sounds like something closer to reality is arriving this week, but on Monday morning, December 14 no less, geese were floating on the rain-ponds in my backyard, there was no frost to chip off the windshield, and it looked more like early April than the middle of December in northern Iowa.

Historically, the lake freezes over in Storm Lake on or about Thanksgiving Day. Judging from the longterm forecast, it's not impossible that we could see open water for New Year's this time around. Sailing anyone?

I apologize for my delight, if you've just spent your life savings on a $14,000 snowmobile that is proving mostly to be an expensive paperweight, or if you've driven hours to a midwest ski slope only to find that the snow machines can't keep up with the temperature, and they have kids out mowing the grass. I'm sorry if your traditional family Christmas snowball fight becomes a lawn darts tournament by default. No worries, they should be able to surgically repair Uncle Phil's unmentionables by holiday time next year.

Crazy weather. What's next? Santa in his traditional fur-trimmed Speedo? Palm trees growing in Buena Vista County? Getting malaria shots instead of a flu shot?

Case in in point: November 11, 2015. The temperature was in the mid 60s... and around 30. The National Weather Service reported conditions including snow, fog, rain, thunder, lightning, sun, clouds, haze, calm, in-line windstorms, sleet and tornadoes - all in the same spot within a few hours on the same day in Iowa. All they forgot was a tsunami and a locust plague.

Seriously? This is making weather the way I make stew - throw in some of everything you can find in the 'fridge and let the chips fall where they may.

It would be kind of hard to deny that there's some weird stuff happening with the weather these days - though there are dunderheads, including some presidential candidates, who seem to manage it. What color is the sky in their world, I wonder?

Luckily, we have members of Congress who believe they are smarter than the world's leading scientists, so we don't have to hassle with things like controlling emissions or updating coal-and-fossil-fuel technologies left over from the Roaring '20s. With them at the helm, we can just wait for something worse to happen. Just in case, I'm keeping my lawnchair out on the deck for January. I do like a nice tan.

In an age of wind, solar and biofuel technologies, the big development talk of Iowa this season is a buried crude oil pipeline.

No worries. Exxon-Mobil is surely looking out for the planet's well being, and if they miss any spots, Leonardo DiCaprio will go snuggle the polar bears and U2 will record a CD about it.

Surely the world leaders will live up to the Paris Accord. They've done so well in stopping terrorism, fixing the world economy, human rights issues, racism, hunger, and, and, well, you get the picture. If you can't trust a politician, who can you trust, right?

Good news, kids! If you've been bad this year, no coal in your stocking, no sir... the President will be sending out carbon offsets instead this Christmas. Yay!

At least it keeps things interesting.

By next week, Storm Lake may be in the next great ice age, or it may be the new Gobi desert. Next month, we'll be in drought, or flooded out. With the right combination of earthquakes and volcanoes, we might even find ourselves as oceanfront property someday.

If it has to happen, personally, I'll be hoping for a tropical Christmas. But feeling really guilty about it.