Still here. Always looking for . . .

Here in my corner of the world, it has been a Very Weird Winter. With the exception of two incredibly cold and snowy weeks toward the end of January, we have had a freakishly warm, record-breaking, heat wave kind of winter. And very, very little snow. And this is very much . . . not normal . . . here.

You’d think that I’d be jumping for joy . . . summer-lover that I am. Getting an early start on my garden chores. Hauling out my flip-flops. Inviting Mr. Heater to join us on the patio for drinks.

But I am not jumping for joy.
At all.
Because . . . well. This ain’t right! (It just. . . ain’t.) And it’s so hard to find hope when we have evidence of global climate disaster right here at our doorsteps.

Last Tuesday (February 27), we set an all-time high temperature record here in Kalamazoo . . .
74 degrees F.
In February!

I pulled the car out of my garage that afternoon, shocked to see these daffodils in my garden . . . blooming in FEBRUARY. Granted, these are an early-blooming variety of daffodils, so they always bloom weeks and weeks ahead of everything else anyway, and they are located in a very warm, sun-drenched spot in my pollinator garden. But still. This is stupid-early. I don’t usually have blooming daffodils until April.

Of course, by the next day the temperature had plummeted 50 degrees and we had all-weather-in-a-night (wind, hail, thunderstorms, tornado, rain, snow). But it’s warming up again, and it appears we’re headed for a spell of more record-breaking warmth through at least the middle of March.

Climate change . . . and the fact that we’re (seemingly) not doing anything about it . . . feels hopeless to me. The too-late-ness of it all disrupts my sleep. (So many things wake me up in the night, actually.) It’s all just . . . too much sometimes.

So I pulled down my copy of Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows to read (at least in part). . . again. Because, of course, all of this too-late-ness keeps Margaret up at night, too. One of her essays in The Comfort of Crows (Fall/Week 11) addresses this kind of sleeplessness, and suggests that perhaps just . . . resting . . . is actually a suitable antidote to insomnia. That instead of getting up and “doing something” or laying there in bed fighting for sleep . . .  we might just accept that sometimes rest is as refreshing as sleep. Then she goes on to compare this same kind of “acceptance” to metaphorical darkness of all kinds, including our changing climate.

“Instead of fighting it so hard, maybe I should be honest, tell myself the brutal truth: This is the world as it is. This is what we’ve made of it, and there is no going back. This is the best the living world will ever be, and that’s only if we can stop the worst from coming.”

Those are sobering words coming from Margaret. But there is a release in there, too. I can’t stop the daffoldils from blooming early. I can’t stop the fruit trees from budding when they are still so at risk of fickle weather. I can’t stop the birds from thinking it’s (real) spring already.

Yes. We are in a dark place. But like Margaret says . . .

“The night sky is full of stars best seen from a dark place. I try to remember that, too.”

Hope is hard to find. But I’ve still got a few blooming daffodils in my garden.
I’m going to enjoy them, despite the darkness.