Seasonal changes

February 21st

New buds on magnolia tree on the 21st of February

The seasons are no longer what they once were,
But it is the nature of things to be seen only once,
As they happen along…”

John Ashbery

The situation ain’t right at all. Actually, it is fucking terrible. I spent an hour today in my garden, taking stock after a weekend of rain and wind storms. No major damage, a lot of small branches covering the ground, but that is expected after the winter. But I also noticed that my magnolia tree has new buds for the spring already! And my lilacs are budding as well! And my hydrangeas! On the fucking 21st of February!

I am shouting because I am fucking angry. It is not normal, it is not supposed to happen in a fucking February. It always starts with willows in the middle of March with their catkins, and then by the beginning of April other trees and shrubs start budding. And now we are 5 weeks ahead of the normal seasonal pattern in my part of the world.

I don’t think John Ashbery had a climate change in mind when he wrote that above, but it is a good, concise description of what is happening. The seasons are no longer defined as they were 30–40 years ago. The current winter — I thought it was a normal winter. Plenty of snow, but not disastrously so. There were plenty of days of cold weather, freezing temperatures like it is supposed to be. But no, it wasn’t normal. It is “the new” normal. The new normal that I got accustomed to year after year, fraction of a degree after a fraction of a degree. It happened slowly but relentlessly until it was no longer new, it was just easily accepted as normal. Those changes that are happening are not sudden, they happen by a small degree year after year, so it is actually hard to notice the difference — not year by year, but decade by decade. And then suddenly that change is right in front of my eyes with a smirk — “what are you going to do about it now?”

I know that climate change is a major subject for many people and organizations around the world. Possibly even there are few politicians and governments that care about coming disaster as well — I know that is naïve on my part, but hey, let’s go crazy and be naïve for a change. There are studies, charts, data, numbers, interpolations, graphs, peer-review articles saying and showing the same problem. And the fact that it is almost too late to do anything about it. But all that pales compared to just what I see in my garden. Do other people see it as well? Do they care?

It is not supposed to be happening in the second half of February. Not in my garden with magnolias, which are thermophilic trees. Not around the world and not without much care and no action. But it obviously does. I wonder if, in the future, human science will still exist on any level to actually determine when we turned the point of no return? This year? Or last year? Or in the coming 2 years? I have no illusions — we are fucked.

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