Pleistocene dreams

It’s all my fault.

I waxed my skis last week, and it’s been 50 degrees and clear ever since. Sure, you can blame it on a Pineapple Express that’s only been delivering canned tidbits, but the fact of the matter is, I’m beginning to see a direct correlation between my enthusiasm over winter sports and the mercury level. There also is an inexplicable link between the number of times I peek at the weather forecast and the lack of snow projected. I checked the weather five times today – and strangely enough the next chance of precipitation is five days away.

And in case you were wondering, my powers seem to work in the reverse direction as well. For example, I waited the entire month of November for temperatures warm enough to blow out my automatic sprinkler system, so as to avoid an unplanned front yard fountain feature. Of course, the more anxious I became over the prospect of digging up shattered PVC pipe for the rest of my adult life, the colder it got. Eventually, I gave up and, well, here we are.

I’m sure there are those who think I am only flattering myself to suggest that my neuroses have any affect on global climate, let alone my own front yard. In fact, some point out that the whole damn planet is heating up, our ozone layer shriveling up like a piece of shrink wrap in the microwave, humankind hurtling toward extinction faster than a speeding SUV. Kiss those snows of Kilimanjaro and the Haute Route goodbye. Welcome to the greenhouse, baby.

A bit fatalistic, for sure. But it does help take the pressure off me, so when the global warming bandwagon comes around, I hop on. Of course no sooner do I get on board than a certain smarter and more scientific someone lets the air out of the tires. See, he comes from a background of numbers, stats and precise measurements, while I come from a background of well, let’s just say it’s a miracle I made it out of college algebra alive. The closest I ever came to a scientific experiment was stealing a bunson burner lighter in high school to see if it would work on cigarettes (it didn’t). So, as you can imagine, scientific discussions are usually a bit lopsided between myself and the plaid scientist, consisting of lots of “becauses” when it comes to defending my beliefs.

See, while he does not dispute that as of late, things have been a tad bit on the balmy side, he won’t attribute it all to the human factor

Naturally, when I suggest writing on the topic of global warming, I am met with rolling eyes from Mr. Pocket Protector.

“If you do, you better have some hard numbers to back it up,” he sternly warns.

But I don’t need numerical data – that’s what the U.N. is for. Besides, I’ve got empirical proof to back up my theory of dwindling winters: more dings in my ski bases than there are craters on the moon and herbs that are flourishing in my garden despite the fact that the growing season supposedly ended months ago. But don’t take my word for it. I have friends who grew up here and insist that it used to snow, a lot. Then there’s another Durango native I met recently who said the same thing. And what about the winter, years ago, when there was so much snow that the Concert Hall roof caved in? Or the Chapman Hill rope tow, apparently it was put there for a reason.

So there.

It is at this point that I am typically told how small, inconsequential and egocentric we humans are in the grand scheme of things. The way it is explained to me, people are no more than a hair on a pimple on the enormous posterior of history. And our knowledge of weather patterns, consisting of about 100 years of records, is a tiny speck of dandruff on said hair. In other words, we don’t know squat. For all we know, we are no more than a freak biological blip in between cataclysmic super novas; a microscopic layer of dust in the polar ice caps, sandwiched between layers of woolly mammoths.

It is this latter argument that I can at least find a shred of hope in. Sure, it may be sick and twisted to find delight in the outside chance that the Earth will soon (geologically speaking, anyway) be plunged back into the Pleistocene frozen produce section, making air conditioners obsolete and fur mukluks more than something to snicker at in the ski lodge bar. Sure, bikinis and beach volleyball may become things of the past (and the world none the less better off, some may argue) but take heart. By then, we pesky little hairs will have figured out a way to fly to the Venus Riviera for vacations cavorting in the sun.

And in the meantime, here on Earth, my skis will be waxed and ready to go.

- Missy Votel




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