Well, it’s official. Here in central Kentucky, we actually did go straight from winter into summer.
You may recall that March and April were colder than normal, with several days of measurable snow, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Steve. Here on the lake, we enjoyed an extended ice skating season, something that has only happened two, maybe three times in the 20 years we have lived here.
Then, suddenly, May felt like summer. According to Steve, “Not only was it the hottest May ever—more than a full degree warmer than 1962's average of 71.6 degrees—it was also warmer than the average June temperature of 72.5 degrees.” And just for fun, let’s also celebrate that we enjoyed “one of the wettest [Mays] on record, with 7.45 inches of rain,” according to WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey.
Somehow, though, despite this unusual fluctuation in our weather, nature eventually fell into its typical rhythms, even if a little off-beat to begin with. One week in late April I finally noticed dogwoods blooming along the lake shoreline, a field of buttercups beside the road, flowers in the horsechestnut trees, Baltimore Orioles sweeping through my yard, and Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows patrolling near the water. A week or two later, fragrant black locusts abounded and yellow lilies brightened the edge of the lake.
Our resident bat, Bruce, who normally arrives in late April for a summer of insect gorging around our back patio, didn’t show up until May 10. We were beginning to worry about him—and about mosquito season if he didn’t return—so there was a family celebration when he was eventually spotted In his usual corner of the rafters outside my office window.
There seem to be fewer pairs of Canada Geese with goslings this year, but I have no idea whether that’s related to our non-existent spring. Three tiny Mallard ducklings appeared just this week, so we still have babies making their debuts as we get into June.
And, of course, in our neighborhood, we always look forward to a new season of fawns. This year, a larger number of turtle hatchlings have been visible away from the water. This tiny fella thought our patio looked like a warm spot to sun.
I can lament the effects of climate change, count up the human costs in lives and dollars, bemoan the potential loss of species and habitats, and rage about our reluctance to pay attention to the signs, but this season I’ll simply take heart that nature adjusted her schedule to accommodate the perverse weather patterns. Lush summer has arrived and, thankfully, the babies appear to be thriving.