Friday, February 27, 2009

a veracruz apology

Hubris, your name is Steve.

Fifty-five years of living in Oregon should have taught me one thing: never get smug with the weather.

A mere week ago, I posted, in
spring in our step, that "Spring is upon us." My evidentiary support was the appearance of little snowdrop blooms. Little did I know that snowdrops are not omens of spring; they are omens of snow. At least, in the Pacific Northwest, they were on Thursday.

I woke up this morning to discover that Mother Nature had given me an opportunity to capture some great Christmas card photographs. Kim of Boston could probably use the photograph at the top of this post for his Boston greetings next year. Who's to know?

Professor Jiggs immediately rejoiced in this late season gift, and started making doggy snow angels. And, because I was already taking the day as a vacation day, I did not need to worry about drivers who consider one inch of snow akin to the continental shelf sliding into the Pacific.

But, I do owe an apology to my amigo
Juan Calypso. He commented last week: "Oh sure hombre - February in Oregon and Spring is upon you - I lived there - some good days and some bad - wishful thinking to consider the 'good' Spring."

I was, shall we say, a bit brusque in my response. And you see who was correct.

In my defense, I would like to say that the snow disappeared in hours -- to be replaced by some great sunny weather. But it was snow. And snow is not spring. I will hide the budding daffodil photographs for a better time.

But this has been an odd winter. And an odd winter that has had an impact on Pacific Mexico.

Due to the mild early winter, thousands of breeding pelicans stayed on an island in the Columbia River too late this year. As a result, they were caught in the Arctic storm that caused such problems on the Pacific coast in December and January.

Because of the late start, the pelicans suffered severe physical trauma (some with frostbite). When they arrived at their winter destinations in southern California and Mexico, some were so fatigued, they could not eat. Others wandered into car traffic. Some smashed into boats.

The Tom Zap message board in Melaque carried stories of large numbers of pelicans dying. And whenever that happens, the usual suspects are trotted out: bird flu, global warming, overfishing, toxic spills, sewage leaks.

This time, the culprit appears to be nothing more than an unfortunate storm that slowly killed a lot of birds, and correctly worried a group of compassionate people.

Nothing so dramatic happened as a result of today's storm. Maybe this was Mother's Nature way of reminding me that all things come to an end. It is just about time for a new chapter in my life.


Anonymous said...

That's really sad about the pelicans. I thought migrating animals have an innate ability to avoid inclement weather. I guess not. As for counting on spring, despite being a lifelong boater and lover of the Great Lakes...I have seen snow here in Detroit in May. Once summer arrives, Michigan is truly a water wonderland and for me justifies the long cold winters.
It's a very good idea to take your brother with you on your trip south. Traveling solo is, regardless of what others say, something to be avoided if possible.
Bueno Suerte

Calypso said...

It snowed in May occasionally in Colorado - we were sure it was Spring.

Today it will be 80F here and unlike Professor Jiggs I will not be saddened by the lack of snow.

It IS Spring here - Summer comes early - and while it isn't endless it is a far cry better than Salem, Oregon amigo.

You will be basking in the sun soon enough.

Apology accepted.

Larry Lambert, Mazatlan said...

It's been noticed locally that far fewer have made it south to Mazatlan this year.


Steve Cotton said...

Frank -- Some of the frostbite stories were real ugly. Hobbes may have had a much better handle on the truth of nature than did either Locke or Thoreau.

Calypso -- We are back to a day of winter here. 34 degrees and overcast. But I am heading to POortland for another ride on the consulate merry-go-round.

Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- That would be understandable. The mortality rate must have been high.

Anonymous said...

Hola Steve,

I had to chuckle at your post. Here in Boston, we've all kind of accepted that spring is soon to be here. We had a couple of weeks warm enough to melt the 18"+ of snow hanging around.

But not so fast, pal...

Tonight and tomorrow we are slated for 4-6" of more snow!!!

Mother nature will, as always, have the last word.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where hope can be crushed as late as April.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- Even though Calypso lived in Oregon for a period, he seems to have forgotten that a 70 degree day is not spring; it is summer. Sunny days in the 50s is spring.