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Sunday in the Park

The topic of the week has been the weather. Locally, that means snow, which is good in the short term for the resorts and long range for the water supply in our desert state. But this time, the snow came with wind and road closures and below freezing temperatures. The backcountry has been treacherous. In February, we thought early spring was certain. Now, we remember that old saying about March, "in like a lion, out like a lamb."

In the rest of the country, the weather has been unpredictable with tornadoes sweeping through the south and turning cars upside down and crashing through the walls of schools and hospitals indiscriminately. In New York, it has been unseasonably warm — in the 70s in December — and unseasonably cold — minus temperatures with the wind chill factor in February. It even snowed in Tucson, Ariz., where it hasn’t in more than a decade.

And everyone has a theory about the weather and how it has changed from "normal." At the recent "Save Our Snow" symposium presented by KPCW, learned scientists presented carefully researched materials to talk about the overall climate change on the planet. And we all watched at the Oscar Awards, when Al Gore’s movie picked up best documentary. We know, collectively, we have been asleep to environmental issues and man’s contribution to messing with nature and the ozone. And, as Grammy Award-winning singer, Kathy Mattea, so passionately expressed during "Save Our Snow," once awake, you can no longer ignore the simple things we can all do to make a difference, from changing your light bulbs to looking at the car you drive and how much you drive it.

All that aside, I love listening to the rantings of friends and relatives and even politicians over why the weather is/is not so dramatic. Take, for example, the interview on KCPW the other day with Summit County Commissioner Ken Wolstenhulme. Station manager, Blair Feulner, asked him how the county felt about the job it had done in handling the horrific snowstorm of Tuesday, which closed down the interstate for a number of hours. And Blair said something like, "it really dumped that day." To which Ken replied something like, "you think that was a dump, you don’t know dump. We used to have it snow two feet overnight. That’s a dump!" Which makes one ponder about the "old days" and the level of weather and have we forgotten or embellished the past? I tend to remember some of those storms Ken referenced when I first moved here in the late ’70s. But were we paralyzed by the weather because we had fewer people to move and remove the snow or were those blizzards actually more intense? My guess is equal parts of both.

As explanations continue there are the handful of, "the government is messing with the atmosphere and They are causing this change in patterns" believers. I always love the "We" and "They" arguments. Especially in a democracy. We are the They. Government works in secret only when we allow that by not paying attention, not enough oversight. We, the people, can just ask better questions and do our homework about our elected leaders and elect new ones as surely as fuzzy little pussy willows are starting to form this time each spring.

My favorite argument came the other night, when a learned man insisted that aliens, having wars in black holes, were actually causing the changes in the atmosphere. I was (temporarily) speechless. Until I launched into my personal quest for an explanation on why war always took precedent over celebration with guys. (I was fine with the whole alien idea.) "Because that’s the way we’ve always solved problems and in the continuum of time" (yes, he does speak like that) "humans are rather recent additions to the planet and still have much evolving to do." Given the week I had, I had direct confirmation of the need for more evolution of our species. Which then launched us into a conversation about vibrations and whatever happened to the entire Mayan culture? No references to Mel Gibson or "Apocalypto." There were only moderate amounts of alcohol involved.

And so, having a small break in the day-to-day crunch of our organized work world, I declared a couple of staggered days, snow days. Someone had to come in and answer the phones and that was a different person on a different day and the rest of the folks could not come in. They could ski and a few did, they could go to a movie, get a massage, build a fire and read a book, but we all didn’t need to be in the office, driving in hazardous conditions on bad road day, after bad road day. We do that enough, late at night, year-round, in our business and on holidays and weekends and times when normal folks are tucked safely into bed. And in this world of computers and cell phones, those with deadlines to meet still worked from home anyway.

I used the time to dig around in my house, moving piles of clothes and papers that had taken on kind of living sculpture dimensions. The mound in the corner of my bedroom had purses and jewelry sparkling on top of evening clothes and workout clothes alike and the colors and the shine and the shape had been there for, well, several weeks to be conservative. Dismantling that fixture opened up the energy, in feng shui terms, and also just plain created more space in the room.

In the study, I tackled some boxes of papers that, in one folder, dated back to the mid ’90s. I was shocked by my notes to myself over what appeared to be important to me then. Goal setting I had done. Observations. No need to bore you with the personal revelations except I found a direct correlation to the weather confusion. More than 10 years ago, it seemed I found the world and especially my own life situations far more dramatic. In hindsight, I can see some things were far more dramatic and, in some cases, it was just that I was far more dramatic. All in all, when I paid attention and had a plan and set a goal, things worked out pretty well. All except the parts about staying better organized. Obviously.

The weather promises to offer more opportunities for snow days in the week ahead, so plan one for yourself. Feel like the little kid playing hooky. Dig into something you have ignored for a while. Take a weekday and make it feel like a Sunday in the Park


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