Worrying about winter


Last Sunday it got up to 70 as the sun lazed across the Indian summer sky. Monday morning it was snowing and a bitter wind blew in from the north. It gave me the chills and I wondered what kind of winter we were going to have.

Last winter was one of the warmest, driest on record. Not to be outdone, this past summer was one of the hottest and driest ever.

The Farmers’ Almanac predicts it will be colder and snowier in the east and warmer and drier in the west this year, which puts Indiana on the cusp. It could go either way.

I don’t know if the early snow means anything or not. It just makes me worry.

Early snows happen a lot in the Midwest. More than once I’ve taken the kids trick-or-treating in blowing snow. When I lived in Minnesota it was not unusual for a cruel wind to blow snow in from the arctic regions as early as August. Two days later it would be hot and sunny again.

The fall of 1977, however, was a different story altogether. Not just in Minnesota, but the entire Midwest. It started snowing the day before Thanksgiving, and by the time we carved the turkey there was 18 inches of snow on the ground.

It snowed again the next day  and the next. We never saw the ground again until May, and snow banks along the road were 12 feet high. The county plows were hard put to deal with the endless snow. To make matters worse, the temperature stayed below zero for 40 days.

That’s when I decided to pack up and leave the frozen north for the balmier climes of Indiana. I’m going to pull out my old winter boots and parka, however, just in case today’s snowfall is trying to tell me something.

Ward Degler lives in Zionsville with his wife and dog. He is author of “The Dark Ages of My Youth … and Times More Recent.” You can contact him at wdegler@comcast.net.


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