09 October 2007

Let's Hear It For Global Warming

Truth in labeling: I didn't actually take this picture today, but I could have had I thought to bring my camera to Brighton Beach with me. If anything, there were even more people than you see here taking advantage of what might turn out to be the last day of summer. It may be the second week of October, but today the temperature hit 88 degrees (31C), and even now, at 1 o'clock in the morning, it's still 80 (26.5).

It's been like this all week, although today was the hottest day yet. Even out at the beach, where it's generally 10 degrees cooler than in town, even sitting just feet away from the water, it was just plain hot. The weather is supposed to start returning to normal tomorrow, but they've been saying that for days now. Today was supposed to barely hit 80, in fact, when it turned out to be an all-time record breaker, so if they're wrong about tomorrow as well, I'll be straight back to the beach come morning.

But as I went for one last swim this afternoon, I did it with the assumption that it would be many months before my next one, unless of course I manage to slip off to Florida or Hawaii sometime over the winter. And that made it exceptionally hard to drag myself out of the water, even though I was already late and getting later for an appointment in town.

There's something incredibly melancholy about the last swim of the season, and I find this ever more so as I get older. No longer is it just a matter of waving goodbye to the joys of another summer; there's also a growing consciousness of the dwindling supply of summers still remaining, a growing sense that while beach weather will always come around again, one of these years it will do so in my absence.

Of course I've been especially blessed of late by having two summers per year to wax melancholy over. It was only last March that I was saying goodbye to the Southern Hemisphere summer with a last swim at La Perouse outside of Sydney. But this looks like being the first time in four years that I won't get to Australia for some or all of their summer, and the first time in a lot more years that I'll face the full wrath of a North American winter. With that in mind, you won't hear me complaining if these 80 degree temperatures last right into November or December.

I know, it's terrible and selfish and unpatriotic of me to cheer for global warming when the polar ice caps are melting and the sea levels are rising. Rather stupid, too, considering that I live on a low-lying island. But hey, if you don't tell Al Gore, I won't mention it either. In any event, another day or two at the beach sure would be nice.

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