I really can’t get over the weather this spring. We had some snow yesterday, flurries in the cities and more up north. The general reaction was surprise. “This isn’t normal.” Actually it is. Not only is it normal for April, but it’s not unheard of even in May when the trees typically are in blossom and the bulbs are blooming.
I’ve lived in the area all my life and I was raised to be aware of the weather. We did a lot of camping, even locally, and that of course helped. I grew up fascinated by thunderstorms and tornadoes. I watched from my basement window as the tornadoes that destroyed one of our neighboring suburbs went past. I was out on the lake with my father and grandfather when a storm came in and we sat out the accompanying tornado under the boat pulled up on someone’s lakeshore back yard. I’ve ridden through tornado weather in a tent, occasionally the only one left standing in the campground the next morning.
In the fall of 1985 I announced that I was getting married on May 10, 1986 and that there would be apple blossoms and fresh lilacs for my bouquet. I was told I was crazy. First off that the lilacs followed the apple blossoms, they did not bloom at the same time. Secondly that here in Minnesota neither the apple nor the lilac bloomed that early in the year. I was adamant.
Although it was early I knew down to my bones that it was possible. I’d been watching for years with an awareness that I wanted those flowers when and if I ever got married. Yes the lilacs usually follow the apples, but sometimes for a couple of days they can be in bloom together. Yes the spring is often later than that second week of May, but early springs had happened almost that time of year.
I got married on May 10, 1986 under a blossoming apple tree with lilacs in my bouquet. I had to bring the lilacs in the night before and put them in warm water to force the blossom from the bud, but I was a happy bride. This is why I keep insisting that we are a full month ahead on the season. We really are. The fruit trees are blossoming and the lilacs are starting to bloom. In mid April. Even before the taxes were due.
In my lifetime, my fathers lifetime and my grandfathers lifetime this weather pattern was unheard of until this year. Everyone loves it. I love it, it’s beautiful. It’s also SO wrong. There is no predicting if it will hold or if we will loose all the fruits from these early blossoms. There is no predicting if we will have and earlier or longer or hotter summer. There is no predicting what may happen in August.
The weather forecasters and climatologists are using models based on data that is no longer applicable. They are assuming that the weather patterns will hold true as they move to more northern latitudes. Unfortunately there is no data that indicates that is an accurate theory. The tornado systems that have plagued the midwest already this year (much too early in the season) are not typical of Texas springs.
Most of us have become very urbanized. We are dependent on the shipping of our produce from “wherever it might be growing.” We have lost our sense of how the climate affects the crops, affects the prices, affects anything beyond our daily comfort. That’s why we are loving this weather, this early spring.
I can’t say I’ve had much conversation with the local farmers. Our farmers markets typically don’t even open until after Memorial Day and there’s rarely much produce until mid June. I suspect they are as torn as I am. Enjoying the early and dry spring as it allows for early planting. Worried about the lack of rain rather than the over abundance springs often bring. Not at all sure what they are risking by planting early, or what the potential for gain may be if we have an extended season.
In all my life I can not remember ever taking the weather truly one day at a time. I’ve always seen the patterns. I’ve always had a climate norm that I could relate to. I’ve always laughed at the weather forecasters who compare “today’s temperatures” with the mean average, knowing that our “typical” temperatures in the spring are plus or minus 15 degrees.
I guess I’m just going to have to get used to the weather as it comes. We all will. Let’s hope the surprises Mother Nature has in store for us are things we can survive.