Monday, February 06, 2012

It Takes a Worried man

I am a worrier. And like most good practitioners of this agonizing art I stress best with respect to things that I cannot do anything about. Right now I am fretting over the effect that our currently non-existent winter, followed by an early spring, followed by an existent winter, could have on the perennial plants that should, at this time of the year, be hibernating under frozen ground and several feet of snow.

It is early February with weather that feels more like early March. This was preceded by a January that also felt more like early March. And a similar December and November. We did have some snow on Halloween weekend, and five inches one day in January but that has been it. Temperatures have been above normal.

The finches, cardinals and juncos that normally would be all over my sunflower and Niger seed feeders are off somewhere in the wild dining on their “natural sources of food”. The squirrels are here at the feeders in abundance – person-supplied fare apparently being their only “natural source”.

The crows, which stop here briefly on their migration from Maine to the Mid-Atlantic to chow down on fallen acorns, are, as we speak, stalking across the front lawn. By now the fruits of my oak trees should have been long ago buried in fluffy white stuff. And the crows should have been long-gone before Christmas. But they’re not. That they are still finding acorns seems numerically impossible but obviously isn’t.

In early March of an ordinary year I would impatiently begin raking back the accumulated leaves of the cold season looking for the first tiny burst of green popping up through the thawing earth. Even then I would worry about prematurely exposing them to the still-possible winter elements, but my eagerness would overcome my fear.

Now, since we have been in virtual March all winter-long, I am wondering if I should cover them up even more and keep them totally in the dark as to what’s happening climatologically. I’m having fever dreams of the over-eager bulbs and buds beginning to bloom and Mother Nature (or global warming or whatever) deciding to zap them with three months of ultra-extreme winter compressed into one week. I can actually hear the noise of each over-extended sprout splitting in the sudden blast of bone-chill – a literal cold snap.

Or the toasty trend could continue, maybe even accelerate, and my over-wrapped plant babies could fry in their cocoons.

Maybe it is best to just let nature take its course – que sera, que sera. After all, these perennials and their ancestors have a lot more experience with this sort of thing than I do. And they didn’t get to survive this long by making dumb decisions.

Besides, there are lots more frightening things to panic about – POTUS Newt and FLOTUS Callista for example. Then again that might be too scary for even an inveterate worrier like me.

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