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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Let's talk about the weather

© Another Day in the Country

We used to laugh, my sister and I, when we first returned to Kansas from our home in California, about how much folks in Ramona talked about the weather.

It was the number one topic of conversation.

“Why was weather so important?” we wondered. After all, where we’d just come from the weather was predictable and pretty constant.

In the California summer, the sun always shines. In December, January, and February, it rains. In the fall, it’s Indian summer with long warm days and cool nights. In the spring, which happens early in the calendar year, it’s bursting forth with everything that grows and blooms — California poppies covering the hillsides, lupine in the pastures, and yellow mustard in the vineyards.

We soon discovered that weather was a topic in Kansas because it was always changing and affected everything. Now I understood why my Aunt Anna, who’d lived on a farm all of her life, was constantly watching the horizon.

“We’re going to have rain this afternoon,” she’d say while peering out her kitchen window. “I’d better get those clothes off the line.”

Or she’d warn, “You be sure and turn north when you go back to town. That south road isn’t maintained well and you’ll get stuck.”

It wasn’t until we’d lived here awhile that we understood how different road conditions can be depending on the weather and where you live.

Weather affects your day, your livelihood, and in areas where religion and politics are hot topics, weather used to be a pretty safe interaction — but that has changed.

Because our climate is changing, weather has now become a hot topic, too. Our poor planet is reeling under a load of pollutants the ever-growing population is putting into the air and the ground. The rain forest is shrinking daily as huge enterprises chop down trees and plant soybeans. You do know that the rain forest is the lungs of our planet, pumping out precious oxygen for the world to enjoy and how will we breathe freely when it’s gone?

Even though scientists tell us that our weather is becoming more extreme and we can watch the polar ice melting at an alarming rate on our favorite Nature channel, right after another hurricane has landed on the evening news, it seems to me we watch like deer in the headlights and don’t do anything.

I heard someone say the other day, “Look, I’ve pretty much lived my life — the planet is going to last as long as I do — and the younger generation can worry about saving it.”

Someone else added, “And, what can one person do? I can’t stop corporations from being greedy. I have no control over companies that pollute the environment.”

I have that same helpless feeling. What can one person actually do? Then I think, “I’ve got to do my part! But what is effective?” Now here’s a topic, and it involves our favorite subject — weather — that we can add to the conversation about the amount of moisture in the rain gauge.

As I survey my lifestyle and wonder how I can reduce my “carbon footprint,” I’ve been stymied. My attempts at conservation seem so small. I’ve been veering away from plastic bags and plastic utensils only to discover that I’m addicted to Ziploc bags. They are so convenient, but what about the landfills clogged with plastic.

I’ve vowed to be more careful and more creative about recycling. Cardboard goes under the hay in the garden for mulch. Paper shredded. I’m trying to remember to bring those cloth bags every week for my groceries. I’ve stopped using plastic straws in restaurants. I’m back to using glass containers for leftovers in the refrigerator.

These are such little things; but I’m convinced that every little move we make in the right direction will make a difference, which brings me to the topic of voting in November.

We may be as uninspired and discouraged about politics as we are about the weather but if we do something, even getting out and voting for someone with integrity, who cares about the environment — whether it’s worldwide or just in Marion County — we’re doing our bit to care for and preserve another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 18, 2018

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