Two Stick Ice

It iced today. Two stick ice. 

I haven’t had to walk with a stick much since my new knees healed up year before last. Tonight I had to use my foot-bottomed cane from the knee days, and my hiking staff from interim times, just to go shut the chickens up.

Even with the sticks I couldn’t walk out on my concrete back porch. I tentatively put one foot down and knew immediately that it was hopeless. I made a long step down from the inside floor to the garden beside the stoop, pretty confident that I could keep my footing on soil and plant matter.

But even to walk across the short grass yard to the chicken yard gate, I had to use both sticks. And walk very carefully: plant each stick, move one foot, one stick, other foot, other stick. Plant foot and stick carefully after each move. I’m pretty tough for an old geezer, but I’m also pretty sure it would annoy my skeleton for me to take a dive onto this frozen ground. The spring goes out of the machinery over the years.

My back porch is concrete blocks. I had to turn one of the blocks dry side up in order to get back into the house, and then carefully not put a foot down anywhere else.

Some folks might read to this point and say, “See? I told you. Global warming is a hoax!”

Nope. This is global warming ice.

I was born some fifty miles from where I’m sitting now, on a hot July night in 1947. Mostly I’ve pretty much stuck around. The first time I ever saw a killer ice was 1974. I had lived 27 years and never seen one. Most of Kansas City was in the dark for most of two weeks. We have had a killer ice at least once every couple of years ever since. Some entire winters have been defined by killer ice.

My parents were born 150 miles north of here in 1913 and 1915. They didn’t remember many, if any, killer ices like the ’74 icing, in their lifetimes in Iowa and Missouri. They lived to see dozens of them. We make funny videos now.

In 1974 our ongoing science experiment with our planet’s energy level appears to have crossed some threshold when measured against my particular area. We used to have winter rains or winter snows. Now we’re stuck in the middle. We have ices.

We have ices because at higher altitudes the air is warmer than it used to be. It is also warmer than the air at the surface. In the warmer air, water doesn’t crystallize into the individual crystals of ice which we call snow, it simply precipitates out as liquid water. Down here on the dirt, though, it’s below freezing. It is, after all, winter. (We do still have winter, yes we do. The earth’s axis is tilted, see, and… maybe next time.)

As the liquid water falls on 20 degree F surfaces it freezes. It is literally not possible to walk on it. Young agile people fall down. Walking depends on friction. Youth and health can’t compensate if the friction isn’t there. This is slicker than lake ice, slicker than ice skating rink ice. Eat your heart out, Zamboni. Tonight’s global warming ground ice still has liquid water falling on it, lubricating it.

Depending on droplet size the ice may be utterly invisible, or thick enough and heavy enough to tear down trees, power lines, even buildings. But it is deadly either way.

The people who are paid handsomely for informing America have left a sizable number, I think probably a majority, of Americans thinking the weather I am living with tonight calls global warming into question. These people, the supposed-to-be informers of the public, should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

I do not watch TV but I would place a sizable cash wager that in every major market under this ice storm there are respectable-looking persons on the airwaves tonight pushing this very fiction, asking the stupidest imaginable question: If there is global warming why do we have this ice? If this particular ice storm causes enough death and destruction they will be doing the same thing on national TV. They should be made fun of, insulted, and held up to ridicule, on every occasion by every reporter on every station. Or themselves tarred and feathered. Along with the on-air personalities who speak seriously to them, the editors who chose these stories for airtime, and the owners of the media outlets carrying the disgusting propaganda.

One does not have to be a scientist to understand how and why global warming causes ice storms. One has to be cheated by one’s supposedly advanced and educated society in order to not know.

Toby the dog fell down on the sidewalk tonight. Twice. He’s old, but… he’s a dog. He has four feet and claws. He fell down on the ice. Global warming ice.

Followup Essay: Global Warming Ice, part 2

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4 thoughts on “Two Stick Ice”

  1. I read all of your essays before coming back to this one. You reminded me of my last day stationed in Frankfurt,Germany on my way to RM AFB on 12/9/78. Killer Global Warming Ice it was! Though, I think we either called it an ice storm or freezing rain when occurred. No matter, your explanation & name for it makes much more sense.

    Like you experienced in 74, it was the worst GWI Germany had ever experienced, remember hearing it on AFN on the car radio. Luckily, we survived a few 180’s & 360’s on the way but it was an experience I’ll never forget! Don’t know which had me freaked the most; an accident with horrible consequences or the fact that it was so slow still slipping & sliding that I’d miss my flight. Well, good & bad news when I finally arrived which was still in time,the good they told me my flight was delayed due to weather. The bad was Midway through 11 hours we were told our flight was en route from the states. My saving grace was the Army got brains and gave us a pants version to our class A’s my last two years. For a woman to have an aversion to skirts & pantyhose to begin with, well maybe you can imagine my relief at that. Just to note, I became one of the first women Ironworkers in 81. I credit the Army for giving me the courage to enter an exciting, fulfilling, male dominated trade/career.

    Weird thing is, my first time flying at 18 years old was on my way to Ft McClellan, AL from Seattle. On 12/5/72 what started as an exciting experience turned out to be the opposite. My flights ended up diverted all over the place due to massive floods I think in your neck of the woods. Landing & taking off is a blur to me now. One scheduled stop in Portland, OR but next diverted to Omaha, stuck on standby for hours. Finally arriving in Atlanta around 1130pm, racing to catch my puddle jumper to Anniston, I saw it take off. Being naive but a relatively responsible young person, my next concern was being AWOL my first day. But all turned out fine with the airline helping me contact the D.O. at McClellan.

    My service in the Army for an obvious reason being a woman, was no comparison to your service, sacrifice & wounds you suffered. Somehow, your essay here struck me to share my experience getting in & out of the Army 38 years ago this month due to the effects of GW. You expressed so many of my thoughts of what’s going on all around us. Thank you for sharing your views, experiences & your sacrifice.

    1. Thanks for your comments, and welcome.
      I’d never thought a lot about being a woman in the service. My loss. Your comments were educational. I remember a time caught in the airbase airport in Cam Ranh Bay because all available flights had been rerouted to some slaughter somewhere, Da Nang I think. Couple – three days. I was sleeping on the concrete floor of the airbase, nothing but my fatigues, but it was ok. Compared to being a woman stuck in the same mess, I suspect it was paradise.
      Any way – feel free to chip in. Welcome your input.

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