january rain

Last night I was awoken by a thunderstorm. It was a big one, too - driving rain, frequent lightening flashes, powerful thunder, and I heard a pop and sizzle of something getting hit with lightening down the street. Normally I like the sound of a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, but not in mid-winter when we should be getting snowstorms instead. We've had several bitterly cold days here, as we should, but there have been a couple of warm patches, too, so the evidence of last month's 18" blizzard has largely melted into a sloppy mess of mud, puddles, and small, sad piles of snow reminding us that it is supposed to be winter.

I suppose this is the new normal, and it distresses me. Last night's storm enveloped me in fear and hopelessness for the future. How can people deny global warming when the evidence is glaring them in the face? Flooding their homes? Burning the mountainsides and scorching the deserts? When I look out my window on a day that feels like mid-March and see water pouring from the sky, my efforts to do the right thing seem so puny and futile. What good does it do to compost my onion peels and reuse my plastic zippy bags and give a few dollars to WISPIRG when we've already reached the brink of climate change, and possibly passed it? I keep hoping that all the extreme weather of the past couple years is only a blip and we'll return to normal before long. But I know better. And it literally keeps me awake at night.

Like many progressives, I was disappointed in how Obama fell short of expectations on several issues in his first term. A lot of that couldn't be helped, given the economic collapse and the belligerent obstructionist Congress he was up against. Now that he's gotten a second term, I hope he takes this issue head-on before it's too late. If it's not already.


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