It’s that time of year here in New England when the temperatures ripple like a sine wave. One day it’s in the 40s, then we slide into the 30s and even the 20s, then up to the 50s. As I write this afternoon on President’s Day, it’s a relatively balmy 54°F. Later this week we’re expecting snow showers, and the weekend promises to be frigid.
Al is more sanguine about this than I am. “It’s winter,” he says, with a shrug.
So I layer up my sweaters and shed them as warranted. My fingers are cracking, like a sidewalk that shrinks and expands with winter’s thaw. I’m using up more bandages, as I always do this time of year.
The transition to spring is always the toughest on my digital ulcers, harder than in the coldest months, when the cold is more constant. At least, it used to be. With climate change comes more temperature ups and downs. A geographer friend once told me that our weather here in Massachusetts will become more like Virginia’s, and Maine’s will become more like ours used to be. His prediction seems prescient. So far, we’ve only had one short stretch of Arctic temps this season and hardly any snow.
I am profoundly concerned about the implications of a warming planet and am devoting volunteer hours to my city, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change locally. But, I must admit, my hands don’t mind. It’s selfish of me, but these milder winters are just easier to manage, without our having to move south. The transition to spring and summer will always be a challenge, because it’s the relative temperature change that plagues my ulcers. But shorter spurts of bitter cold? Less snow and ice? I’ll take it.
Life is a series of adjustments. Some we can predict. Others, we can’t. The older I get, the more I realize that staying nimble in the face of all that we can’t control is crucial to resilience.
And so, with just one more week of February ahead, as daylight grows notably longer and the switch to Daylight Savings Time looms on the horizon, I will continue to layer up and shed and layer up again, tend my fingers, and make sure I have a full inventory of bandages and other dressings. I can’t change the weather, but I can surf the sine waves.