The old verities are gone. The cold of the northern hemisphere’s winters is becoming a thing of the past. Sure, there will be cold snaps, polar expresses of arctic temperatures swooping down into lower latitudes, but weeks and weeks of winter? A good three month period? Something today’s children will not know. In recorded history, 2016 has been the planet’s warmest. Expect to break the record again next year, as we did the last, and the one before that.
Today is the winter solstice. The shortest day, the longest night. This has long been celebrated as the beginning of the beginning of longer days, the true new year. Little wonder the Christians imposed Christmas on it hundreds of years after the supposed birth, in denial of the Bible’s invocation of springtime as birth-time but in recognition of the longing for the return of light. Light returns tomorrow. Oh, only a little bit, true, and then a little bit more the day after that, marching steadily on. It’s all in the orbit, you see, the wobble, the angle of our quirky little planet itself hurling through space. We can’t do much about that. Can we?