Such a little word


Here we are in the middle of winter, and still no snow, and hardly any subzero days.  Plenty of times we go out of the house in light coats. And look at this guy’s natty blue sneakers, seen on the train the other night. Just pristine.

Which worries me, all of this.  This warm weather and lack of snow has been pretty pleasant, I admit.  No wading through hip-deep drifts, no salt, no excavating the car: nice.  But all that’s because we are in the middle of a stubborn, ugly drought.  We haven’t had measurable snow in nearly 330 days, but it’s more than that.  Over the long haul, over all of the midsection of the country, we are not getting enough rain, or snow. Last year the corn crop failed. This morning I saw that the USDA has declared the US winter wheat crop a  disaster.

This drought means a few things, none of them dandy:

1.  Higher food prices for us this year – less money for everything else.

2.  A hungrier planet.  The Midwest feeds the world.

3.  Unrest.  That’s a little word for a very big set of things.  It does not mean yelling at the talking heads on your television.  It does not mean cyberflaming.  It means demonstrations and riots. It means street fighting.  It can also mean people being shot full of holes and even governments overturned.  The Arab Spring began with “unrest” over sharp rises in the price of wheat.

I do like those blue sneakers.  The nice kid wearing them was also carrying what looked like a trumpet case. Good luck to you, kid, and to all of us.

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