It used to snow in middle Tennessee. Beyond the occasional powdery dustings, at least once or twice each winter, we had enough downfall, even just a few inches, to sled on snow-packed paved roads. We used "real" sleds with wooden bodies and metal rudders. Being "free range" children of the 80's (or latch key kids if you prefer), we capitalized on the lack of constant parental supervision with joyful, exhilarating, and irresponsible behavior. The goal of our "dogfight" races was to line up maybe eight or ten kids at the top of a steep, paved hill (a public street) and race to the bottom with no rules against forcing your opponents to crash or tumble. Strategies involved grabbing opponents' rudders and spinning them into ditches, yanking competitors from atop their sleds at full speed, and other creative methods of abusing our bodies and our parents' property. Some bumps, bruises, and, occasionally, broken sleds, were the only casualties in my experience, thankfully. Aside from the rare close call, we also managed to avoid the cars from the intersecting street at the base of the hill. This was one of the few events where everyone from the neighborhood came out, engaging in community building through the foolish, reckless rituals of pre-adolescent suburban boys. Nostalgia for the good old days of easy concussions aside, we don't seem to have those snow days too often anymore. It seems that transferring the carbon from millions of years worth of buried fossil remains into the atmosphere, within only a century and a half, has had a relatively fast insulating effect. Perhaps I'm a sucker for the rhetorical arguments made by all those wind and solar billionaires and their undue influence on public policy, but this seems like pretty clear science to me. Much like we took our resilient young bodies and our family possessions for granted as indulgent children, we seem to be equally cavalier with the entire planet these days. The fact is that our winters have changed even in my quick 41 years on this planet. This isn't to say we won't get the greatest winter storm in history this year as our weather seems to enjoy more statistical outliers in this new climate, but, thus far, even a recent glorified dusting was excuse enough to head out to Shelby Park in East Nashville in hopes of finding a few good photographs. Despite the blades of grass defiantly standing above the lackluster snow cover in the images below, it was still fun to see enough wintry precipitation to reminisce about the childhood days I experienced in our prior climate.
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