Changing Of The Seasons

Bear with me today. This might get a little political. You be the judge.

From a very young age of maybe 5 or 6, I was exposed to climate change. Yes, I was forced to meet winter head on when our mom shooed us out the back door to play in the snow. Dressed like Eskimo children, we faced the wind chill factor with brave resolve … and survived.

Hand-knitted mittens from Aunt Louise, sometimes in layers, kept our fingers from freezing to the metal portion of our wooden sleds as we pulled them to a neighboring backyard slope. To alert the neighboring kids, we threw snowballs at their doors until they came out and joined in the fun. That was as high tech as our communication skills got in those days.

Minutes turned to hours as we built snow forts and attempted to construct igloos from the generous amount of snow that filled our yard. It seemed to hang around from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick’s Day most years in the 1950s and ’60s. I guess that was the start of global warming.

When our snow boots developed a leak, Mom saved the plastic bread wrappers to pull over our socks before putting on our boots. Ingenuity was one of her finer traits. She also threw our sweaters in the dryer to warm them up before we walked out the door to head to school on those frosty mornings. The only snow delays were if the school buses got stuck somewhere in traffic.

At most times of the year, the small creek that runs along the “Woodsdale Park” is but a trickle of water. Only after a wet spring would water rush in enough for us to form pools deep enough in which to sit.

However, deep into winter, the creek would freeze over. With skates hung over our shoulders, we would head down to the frozen water for a bit of ice skating and hockey. It took skill to skate around the rocks and areas not quite frozen yet. This simple bit of play was actually good exercise.

That’s not to say that a mishap never occurred. I recall a frozen foot on occasion when the ice slipped out from under my skate and into the water I sank. We kept those incidents secret from our parents for fear they would make the creek off limits.

When spring arrived, the climate changed enough for us to head outside and sweep off the mound in our backyard. If you owned a mit or a bat, you got better placement in the batting lineup.

There were storms, floods and blizzards during my childhood, but we learned how to cope and not blame anything but fate on what happened. If you spend all your time looking for someone to blame for the heat, cold, rain or snow, you miss out on a lot of living.

I just don’t know if drinking out of paper straws will have much impact on the Earth or the little creek that has managed to entertain kids for generations.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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