Notes From the Field: Something is Up with the Weather

Sioux City Waterfront Circa 1930Sioux City, Iowa.  Something is definitely up with the weather.  Yesterday’s (November 15, 2015) temperature here reached 67 degrees Fahrenheit.  Today, the temperature hovered around 60 degrees.  I gotta admit, I like it.  Who wouldn’t?  I don’t know anyone who prefers snow, ice, and frigid temps to sunshine and warmth.  But as much as I like this weather, it worries me.  I mean, this weather is not normal.  Something has gone haywire with the Midwest’s climatic cycle – actually with the whole world’s – and its screwing with plants, insects, and animals.

This afternoon I went out for a hike along Sioux City’s waterfront.  This is what I saw.  A dandelion in full bloom.  A honeybee sucking pollen from that dandelion.  Trees that only two or three weeks earlier had lost their leaves are now budding.  Elm trees are still fully cloaked in their summer greenery.  Vibrant lawn grass grows everywhere.  Ferns, bushes, and shrubs are alive and very green.  Lots of insects are jumping, flying, or crawling across the sun-drenched ground.  Grasshoppers and some kind of small, jet black beetle crossed my path, as did a large tan caddis fly.  I even spotted a yellowish butterfly fluttering next to the concrete walkway that skirts the Missouri River.

Walking the same trail a few days ago, I viewed fish rising to feed on the surface of the Big Sioux where it approaches its confluence with the Missouri.  Usually, fish are down deep at this time of year.

Some of you might be thinking “big deal,” so what if the plants are green and the bugs are out.  Yeah, well, I think all of this is a big deal.  Climate Change isn’t only visible in superstores, mega-droughts, and melting glaciers; it’s apparent in the small things – in budding trees and blooming dandelions in November.

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