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Could we be in for a ‘Polar Coaster’ winter?

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They say a watched pot never boils. This year, the same thing seems to be true of fall foliage; it never turns.

After our hot, hot summer that stayed with us into fall, I think we are all anxious to welcome the change of seasons, but I have been watching my favorite bellwether trees around town and they have remained stubbornly green, or else turned dingy brown.

Usually our annual display of reds and oranges and yellows coincides with the North Carolina State Fair, but the dry weather may have done away with most of it entirely, and certainly the tenacious heat has slowed things down. But fall will come, and behind it will be winter.

If the barrage of acorns on our roof is any indicator, it’s going to be a long cold winter. The oaks are full of acorns and all the berry bushes are bending from the weight of their bountiful harvest. But when I checked on the woolly worm report, I found that they are predicting a rather mild winter. The Farmer’s Almanac supports both of nature’s harbingers by calling for a “Polar Coaster” with many ups and downs of the thermostat.

While I missed the changing seasons when I lived on the Gulf Coast, I really don’t like winter very much. My nose seems to stay cold all the time and a few consistently chilly, gray days can send my spirits plummeting. When the leaves fall off the trees, I am aware of just how much the landscape around me has changed. I can see houses where there used to be trees or open fields and there is a constant parade of lights visible on busy Highway 98.

In the summer, I can ignore the encroachment until I get to the end of my dirt road, but in the winter I can both see and hear how things have changed. I only hope those residents a little further out 98 who are expressing concern about new development pouring more traffic onto an already overstressed road will be heard. It’s a mess out there!

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.


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