William A Gardner





Occasional Blog

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Socialism and Human Nature

The Magna Carta and Limits to Power

Hope in a World of Defeatism

Culture and Societies
Relativism and the Madness of Crowds

Winter Silence

The Disease of Affluence

Health & Wellness
The Bane of Arthritis

Culture and Societies
Challenges and Crises

Foothills Weather

The Range of Natural Variability

Here near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and at an altitude of 1050 m the weather can change suddenly. People who live here are used to surprises. Saturday was another lovely day echoing a summer of dry warm days and sun. The hot summer had created a habit of spending late afternoons on the deck surrounded by fragrant flowers; typically with a drink in hand and conversation to share.

The potager had produced a bounty. It is a great pleasure to augment a dish with fresh herbs cut moments before a meal. Swiss Chard, oregano, lettuce, kale, parsley, chive, sage and coriander, all growing happily together. The tomatoes plants have thrived in the heat. This year we had three types: cherry tomatoes, Roma, and full size Celebrity, all grown in soil fortified with bone meal. Unlike tomatoes available in the regular stores - most of which are likely grown hydroponically in greenhouses - our tomatoes have firm flesh and an especially strong, sweet flavour that cannot be duplicated commercially. The small ones just explode with a tart salty sweetness in your mouth.

How soon we forget the reality of latitude and altitude. It is perhaps our tendency toward hope that helps us ignore the shortening days and coming cold. But nature never lets us forget for long. In some geographies it's hurricanes and typhoons. Here it is ice storms and blizzards. Saturday was a warm summer day (photo above). By Sunday afternoon the freshening wind hauled around to the north pushing black clouds and spinning the thermometer downward. The snow started late, driven by a gale that howled past the gutters, piling up drifts in the lee of houses and spruce trees. You could hear the fitful wind moaning past the window, and the sound of snow hitting the glass. Lying in bed with the covers up to your chin you were thankful that all the winter preparations were complete.

Monday morning the wind is still strong, carrying snow that limits visibility and closes roads. All the soft edges and colour of summer have been transmuted overnight into the cold grey face of winter. What a difference 48 hours makes. Now it is hot drinks in the kitchen rather than cold drinks on the deck, thoughts of snow shovels and winter tires, heavy coats and boots rather than short sleeves and sneakers. October has come in like a lion chasing a warm-blooded September. Will it go out like a lamb? Now it is time for snow angels and snowballs. But no doubt it will all melt in a few days and we can hope for a few more weeks of fall sunshine and warmth. We always hope.

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