Climate change is marked by its erratic behavior. I can relate. Nevertheless, one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is the slow transition of summer to winter. Autumn includes that honeymoon time between air conditioning and furnace when you have perhaps a month of reasonable utility bills. After that hot summer we had around here, this weekend showed why we call it “fall.” I awoke yesterday morning only to feel the indoor temperature slipping into winter range. (Seriously. The furnace isn’t on yet.) It was 41 degrees outside, a full five degrees lower than projected. There’s a subtle insidiousness to morning chills. I tend to wake around three or four, but that’s not the coldest part of the night. No, that comes just before sunrise. Morning connoisseurs know that. It’s always coldest before the dawn.
Weather forecasting is a dicey business, not for the faint of heart. When it’s getting uncomfortably chilly, a degree or two can make a difference. You see, I get out of bed, throw on some lounging clothes, and go into another room where I won’t disturb anybody. That means if I underestimate how cold the house will be, I’ll spend some time shivering until those who awake on normal schedules get up. That, or I have to wear a jacket indoors. I’m not above that, of course, but it’s only September. Honeymoon time. Global warming doesn’t mean it’s going to be hot all the time. So all of this has me thinking about winter already. It’s only September and I’m already wearing fingerless gloves.
I’m extremely sensitive to cold. I attribute it to a case of mild frostbite I had as a teen. The cold didn’t bother me so much before then. My brother and I, dutifully awaiting the school bus, stood for the required half hour or so at the bus stop. It was bitterly cold and there was no bus shelter. When we were finally allowed to head home the pain was incredible. My extremities are still chilled at the slightest suggestion. On all but the hottest days my feet can count on being cold. The morning skies were a beautiful blue yesterday, suggesting that the predicted cloudiness of the previous night had not performed, allowing full radiational cooling. Yes, global warming is real and all of us alive today will be dealing with it for the remainder of our time here on earth. That doesn’t mean it’ll always be hot outside. It does mean the honeymoon may be over.