autoAmerican anarchy

The cyclists are revolting against autoAmerican anarchy. Up the revolution!

In New York City hundreds of cyclists laid down for a “die-in” at Washington Square Park after three cyclists were killed in just one week (15 Big Apple cyclists dead so far this year). “People are literally dying on the streets because they’re not being adequately protected,” Joseph Cutrufo, of Transportation Alternatives, said. Biking “shouldn’t be seen as a dangerous behavior.”

In Boston cyclists formed a human chain to protest the city’s decision to install painted bike lanes on dangerous streets. According to the Boston Globe “The 8 a.m. demonstration consisted of more than 100 people standing in the roads near the intersection of Fenway and Brookline Avenue during the busy morning commute to ‘highlight the dangerous conditions cyclists face every day when given no protection beyond paint.'” Paint isn’t enough, protestors say, they want bike lanes that are physically separated from cars. 

These protests follow a well-attended “Rally For Streets That Don’t Kill People” in Washington, D.C. “Cyclists laid down in the street, and activists read aloud the names of 128 people who have been killed on D.C. roads since” 2016 reports USA Streetsblog. 

Meanwhile, an NYC cop intentionally ran his patrol car into a cyclists who had apparently ignored an order to pull over. The cop later told the cyclists in front of witnesses “you’re riding recklessly, and you’re refusing to stop after multiple lawful orders that you acknowledged. So I am going to use whatever means necessary to stop you, OK? And that’s for your safety.” On the plus side, at least he didn’t shoot the guy. 

In Florida’s Indian Rocks Beach 17-year old Sophia Delott was riding her bike home from school when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Delott was well known in the community as the only girl on the Seminole High football team. The team posted on its Facebook page: “Last night, one of our own was taken from us by a drunk driver. Sophie was a Warhawk through and through…Most of all, she was our family.”

The City of Orangetown, NY, has passed an ordinance requiring cyclists to ride in single file or suffer penalties of up to $300 in fines and 30 days in jail – this despite a state law that stipulates otherwise. “Apparently, upstate motorists were upset that cycling tourists wouldn’t move out of the way of cars,” reports Streetsblog USA. Oh the humanity.

Want to know why the simple act of walking on public streets is hazardous for your health? Consider these survey results from Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance. Despite a “must stop” law requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, fewer than 1 out of 5 Chicago drivers do so. “Compliance is really, really low,” says Active Transportation Alliance spokesman Kyle Whitehead in a classic understatement. 

Speaking of pedestrians at risk, Strong Towns poses the $64,000 question with this recent headline “Why are U.S. drivers killing so many pedestrians?” U.S. pedestrian deaths have increased 51 percent over the last 9 years. Meanwhile the pedestrian death rate in Europe is steadily dropping. “It’s worth noting that this trend is occurring even though walking is far more common in Europe, streets are generally narrower, and in older cities, there aren’t sidewalks, but pedestrians share the roadway with cars.” Hey, if you don’t love autoAmerica, Pal, go back where you came from. 

On the plus side, police in five southeast states are cracking down on speeders – for exactly one week. “The speed limit is the speed limit,” Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Derrick Rahming said in announcing Operation Southern Shield. “We are going to be focusing on drivers who are failing to observe posted speed limits…to make sure the roads are safer during this season.” It’s rather like declaring a hunting season when you can bag your limit. The rest of the year we call ’em “speed traps.”

autoAmerican anarchy

Here we go again.

Two adolescents, a boy and a girl, were throwing snowballs at cars in Milwaukee. One driver took umbridge, pulled over, and shot them. Would an autoAmerican jury even convict?

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, an off-duty police officer, a the mother of two, pulled her car over to help an elderly woman cross the street. As a reward for her good deed she was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Turns out, Halloween is a truly scary night. “The most disturbing thing about Halloween isn’t the fake blood, urban legends, or sexy clown costumes. It’s that the streets are full of actual child-killers: Pedestrians under age 18 are twice as likely to be struck and killed by a car on October 31 than on any other day of the year,” reports City Lab. Be very afraid, kids.

It is a perverse autoAmerican value that the act of walking is actually hazardous to your health. “Ten years ago, 4,109 pedestrians died. The number has risen virtually every year since, and last year, the death toll was up 3.4 percent to 6,283. Pedestrian fatalities in urban areas are up 69 percent over the last 10 years,” Reports McClatchy news service. On the other hand, don’t you feel really safe inside that big, tall, armored SUV?

From our Best Intentions Dept: San Francisco adopted “Vision Zero” goals to eliminate traffic deaths. But the city has since declared a “state of emergency” because the death toll is actually climbing. “San Francisco is midway through its Vision Zero goal to eliminate street fatalities, which don’t count highways or underground transportation, by 2024 but faced a setback…this year has seen at least 24 people die in street collisions and 16 of those have been pedestrians or cyclists. In all of 2018, there were 23 deaths counting against Vision Zero,” reports SFWeekly.

And if you think technology is going to keep us from killing each other, think again. It turns out that the reason an Arizona woman was killed by an Uber self-driving SUV last year was because the car apparently didn’t know that human beings don’t always heed the rules of the road. “Much of that explains why, despite the fact that the car detected (Rafaela) Herzberg with more than enough time to stop, it was traveling at 43.5 mph when it struck her and threw her 75 feet. When the car first detected her presence, 5.6 seconds before impact, it classified her as a vehicle. Then it changed its mind to “other,” then to vehicle again, back to “other,” then to bicycle, then to “other” again, and finally back to bicycle,” reports Wired. Back to the drawing board on that one.

After a 37-year old cyclist was run over by a truck in Chicago, cyclists turned out in protest bearing “Please don’t kill us” signs. But don’t just blame the driver. ““You had a bike lane that is completely gone, it hasn’t been maintained. The plan was to make it a protected bike lane but the area pushed back, so it was just a faded, painted bike lane,” Christina Whitehouse, founder of advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising, told Block Club Chicago. “We had a cyclist that was in it and who was clearly an experienced cyclist based on the bike, and you had a commercial truck that right-hooked her.” The moral to this story is that life is cheap – or at least cheaper than the cost of laying down a little paint or installing barriers.

The city of Elizabeth, N.J. decided to ban Lime electric scooters after a teenager rented one and was killed. By a tow truck. ““It didn’t matter if he was 16 or 18. He was hit by a tow truck. No matter how old he was, he would have been killed,” Elizabeth resident Danielle Fienberg told StreetsblogNYC. “We have no bike lanes, we have no basic pedestrian safety measures, and we have drivers that are aggressive. We were not ready for Lime scooters.” No word on whether Elizabeth now intends to ban killer tow trucks.

They are serious about jaywalking in Gwinnette County, Ga. A man on his way to a job interview reportedly got tased three times for walking outside the line. “You jaywalked again right in front of us. Again, bro,” the officer said, according to a WSBTV news report. “Y’all doing all that over jaywalking?” the tasee responded. Hey, this is autoAmerica, pal, you need to watch your step!

Professional wrestler Matt Travis was a tough guy. “Wrestling is my lifeline. Every night I come home and hear how someone got shot… like, what if I’m next? But with wrestling I feel like, finally, I have a shot,” he once said. “It didn’t take a bullet to kill Matt Travis. It took a 10,000-pound dump truck,” reports StreetsblogNYT. “According to police, Travis was coasting down the Willis Avenue bridge bike path at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, intending to continue across 125th Street — but a dump truck on a service road parallel to the bridge made an illegal left turn onto 125th Street and then another left onto the bridge, hitting Travis in the process.

And, listen, you don’t have to be a pedestrian or cyclist to be at risk in autoAmerica. In Toms River, N.J. a red Porsche was traveling so fast that it actually went airborne and lodged itself into the second story of a real estate building, killing both driver and passenger. “The red Porsche Boxster was clearly visible upside down in the second story,’ reported USA Today. “Toms River building inspector John Gerrity deemed the building unsafe, police said.” And the building wasn’t even jaywalking.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reports that “Texas has not had a death-free day on its roads in 19 years.” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said “They die silently and violently,’…noting the numbness many drivers have to Texas leading the country in fatalities.” On the plus side, you get to drive really, really fast in Texas.

By the way, if you think driving doesn’t go to your head, think again. “New research has linked air pollution nanoparticles to brain cancer for the first time. The ultra-fine particles (UFPs) are produced by fuel burning, particularly in diesel vehicles, and higher exposures significantly increase people’s chances of getting the deadly cancer,” reports The Guardian. “Toxic air has been linked to other effects on the brain, including hugereductions in intelligence, dementia and mental health problems in both adults and children. The World Health Organization says air pollution is a “silent public health emergency.” Talk about distracted driving.

But don’t get the impression that all drivers are oblivious to the world around them. When St. Petersburg cyclist Steven Weldon got nailed by a speeding motorist, he got assistance from an unexpected source. “The unidentified driver stopped and helped pull an injured Weldon off the roadway. He also moved the bike out of the road,” reported the Tampa Bay Times. Then “the driver got back into his car and drove off. Now it’s being investigated a case of hit-and-run.”

Be careful out there folks.

The forever war

Listen, Donald Trump’s war on Iran could save hundreds of American lives. Maybe thousands.

But not against acts reprisal or terrorism. That blood letting is likely to be terrible, and we will live to regret our strategy of promiscuous drone warfare.

But it could save lives back here on the home front.

How? Because if things really go sideways with Iran, the price of oil will likely skyrocket.

Cheap gas is killing us, and we’ve been drunk on the stuff for years.

About 40,000 Americans were slaughtered in traffic last year alone. And it is a fact that the less we pay for gas the more we drive. And the more we drive the more likely we are to kill each other.

“During hard times, or when gas prices surge, people drive less: some shift to cheaper travel modes, some just stay home,” the online news service CityLab observes. “One predictable and well-documented result of big spikes in gas prices is fewer car crashes…”

Not to mention that less driving means less climate-changing carbon emissions spewing into the atmosphere.

The Union of Concerned Scientists points out: “Our personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming…cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas.”

We’ve been fighting this forever war in the Mideast for what seems like forever now – squandering our national treasure and throwing away young American lives to keep the oil spigots flowing. It’s not honor, but slavishness that makes the bloody Saudi regime our best pal. We have pledged our allegiance to Aramco.

What does “patriotism” even mean in war time these days? The Bush administration told us to go shopping while it knocked off Iraq. And thanks to all the oil we “liberated,” too many of us went shopping for gas guzzling SUVs and pickups.

That’s not patriotism. That’s self-indulgence.

To end the forever war, the ultimate act of patriotism would be to drive less, drive smaller and drive slower. Doing so would simultaneously save lives and help stave off climate change.

What might a rational homeland security strategy look like in a post-forever war America? Well, instead of spending billions on bigger highways we would be investing in transit…and then make it free as an incentive to not drive.

Rather than subsidizing suburban sprawl – as we’ve done since World War II – we would instead redesign our cities to be more walkable and bikable. Traffic calming by design saves gas and makes us more free to get around.

Here on the home front, pedestrian deaths in cities like New York and Denver are on the rise. This despite the adoption of much-touted “Vision Zero” policies.

Does that mean Vision Zero doesn’t work? No, in Norway, Oslo saw just one traffic fatality last year, thanks to a Vision Zero plan that takes itself seriously.

“The great tragedy of the American postwar development pattern is that we’ve built a world where a productive life is only possible if we do our daily travel at truly crazy, historically unprecedented speeds,” argues strongtowns.org. “These are speeds that make doing everything by car (with the attendant risk of injury or death, to yourself or others) the unavoidable ante to participating productively in society.”

To end the forever war we need to stop playing Aramco’s game and resolve to make America a civilization that doesn’t run on cheap gas.

Ron Cunningham is former editorial page editor of The Sun. Read his blog at floridavelocipede.com.

So long Surly

Oh the ignominy.

I just gave away one of my bicycles.

To make room for my new(ish) car.

I can’t even believe I just wrote that. Me, the holier-than-thou cyclist philosopher and constant scold of autoAmerican Anarchy.

But there it is.

And at this point I can only plead extenuating circumstances.

You see, I owned a 13-year old Nissan pickup trick. For years it sat in my driveway. And it was mostly my fallback transportation. I usually cycle downtown, or to campus, or to the Starbucks of my choice where I did much of my writing. But my mother lives more than three hours away, in Brevard County, and my favorite place to camp is Anastasia State Park, in St. Augustine. Plus, at my age, cycling in, say, a cold rain is no longer the thrill it once was.

Long story short, the old pickup was starting to cost cost money for repair. And so we finally traded it in for a 2017 Honda Civic. Smaller and more fuel efficient, it reduced my carbon footprint.

But here’s the thing. The Civic turns out to be the nicest looking car I’ve ever owned. A sleek, jet like, smoke-gray model that looks like something Capt. Kirk drove to the spaceport on his way to board the Enterprise.

And our next door neighbor has an overhanging hickory tree that has for years pelted whatever happened to be parked in my driveway with hard, dent-inducing projectiles.

So I resolve to make room in my half of the garage (my wife’s Subaru owns the other side) for the Civic.

One problem, though. What to do with the five bicycles that already had squatters rights in there? Not to mention the shelves full of God-knows-what, and the decades-old refrigerator.

First we got rid of the refrigerator (bye-bye emergency backup beer). Followed by lots and lots of accumulated junk.

Hey, am I the only American guy who kept large coffee cans full of nuts, bolts, brackets, washes, hooks and whatnot – all of it just sitting there waiting to spring into action?

I don’t even remember where all that stuff came from. Maybe I inherited from whoever lived there before us.

All I can say is that, in the 30-some years we’ve lived here, I can never remember dipping into any of those cans to pull out that one essential component I needed to keep the house from falling apart.

So I got rid of all that stuff….no doubt tomorrow I’ll have to go to Lowes and buy new nuts, bolts, washers etc.

But never mind that. After getting a junk hauler to haul all the junk away, I was still left with one final dilemma.

Let’s see, the Subaru on the left. The Civic on the right. And the little alcove in the back for the bikes and the shelves.

No kidding, it took me three days of arranging, rearranging and re-rearranging to finally figure out that I had one bicycle too many for a comfortable fit.

We’ve got two road bikes, Jill’s and mine. And two urban bikes that we use for everyday trips around town.

That left my touring bike. A sweet Surly Cross Check that I bought for multi-day road trips.

Getting rid of Surly wasn’t easy. It was the first bike I ever bought brand new. That was maybe seven or eight years ago and it set me back nearly $2,000 as I recall. Tough steel frame, fat tires and a three ring drive chain it was designed for the long haul.

And we’ve had some adventures together, Surly and I.

I once cycled the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal trails, from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. on it, carrying all of the clothing and gear necessary for a six day journey. I’ll never forget the night we showed up in Harper’s Ferry, Surly and me, covered in mud after an all day trek in stormy weather.

Not to mention our journey on the Erie Canal Trail, from Buffalo to Seneca Falls, fighting headwinds much of the way.

But truth be told, I hadn’t ridden that bike much in recent years. On the odd camping trip, mostly.

It was like giving up an old friend. But the truth was, Surly’s tires were all but flat from disuse.

So I just gave Surly away to a buddy, who seemed glad to have it. And all to the good, I suppose, because it’s a shame to see a good bike go to waste – languishing away on the hooks that kept it suspended up against the wall of my garage.

Surly I hardly knew ye.

The fire next time

Growing up in the “shadow of the H Bomb” and being a teenage boy, I naturally gravitated to nuclear apocalyptic fiction.

“Fail Safe,” “Alas Babylon,” and of course “Dr. Strangelove” all conspired to feed my Cold War era paranoia.

But the most depressing “end of days” book I ever read was Nevel Shute’s “On The Beach.” It was a grinding, soul-crushing account of how the last survivors of World War III lived out their remaining days while waiting for the radiation to reach them.

“It’s not the end of the world at all,” Shute wrote. “It’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.”

And then he tacked on what amounted to mankind’s eulogy: “Maybe we’ve been too silly to deserve a world like this.”

Shute’s “end of the world” scenario was set in Australia. It was the globe’s last outpost of humanity after Europe, Asia and the Americas wiped each other out in a nuclear holocaust. But the prevailing winds would ultimately spare no one, not even those who watched and waited at the ends of the earth.

I haven’t thought about “On The Beach” in years. But the inferno now raging in Australia…literally driving many refugees out of their homes and onto the beach, brought it all back.

Who knew that far from being the last outpost of humanity, Australia would turn out to be one of the first at risk? That its residents would be among the first to face, not radioactive Armageddon, but rather the deadly impact of man-made global warming.

It is a desert continent, after all. And changing weather patterns appear to be converging on that already hot and dry island as surely as Shute’s imagined radioactive wave.

But Shute knew of what he spoke, even if he got the means of delivery wrong. “No, it wasn’t an accident, I didn’t say that,” one of his characters, John Paxton, explained. “It was carefully planned, down to the tiniest mechanical and emotional detail. But it was a mistake.”

Mistakes aplenty were indeed made. Because, having escaped out from under the shadow of the H bomb, we humans proceeded to spend the ensuing years and decades spewing carbon into the atmosphere. We were warned, goodness knows, but we chose to ignore the harbingers of climate change doom.

“You could have done something with newspapers,” Shute wrote. “We didn’t do it. No nation did, because we were all too silly. We liked our newspapers with pictures of beach girls and headlines about cases of indecent assault…”

No, we opted for all of the cheap luxuries and consumer goods that our disposable, petro-sodden economy could give us. And we listened as charlatans like Donald Trump assured us that environmentalists were hysterical naysayers, and that we could have jobs or a clean environment but not both.

Have you seen the photos from Australia? As bad as the fires that have been raging in the Amazon rain forests. Worse than the conflagrations that burn large swaths of California.

But, surely, those are all just acts of nature and nothing to do with the rest of us.

“A look at the current fire map shows the whole continent of Australia ringed with flame,” reports the Daily Beast. “This is the driest continent on earth, and it is now being cooked by global warming. After the driest spring on record it has had the hottest day, with average highs across the whole country above 107 degrees.”

But nothing to see here, folks. “Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said climate concerns were being stoked by ‘raving inner-city lefties.’ Australia remains heavily committed to coal-fired power stations and has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates.”

In Shute’s novel, word of the encroaching catastrophe could not compete with all of the sweet distractions of life. “The news did not trouble her particularly,” he wrote of one character, “all news was bad, like wage demands, strikes, or war, and the wise person paid no attention to it.

“What was important was that it was a bright, sunny day; her first narcissi were in bloom, and the daffodils behind them were already showing flower buds.”

Daffodils are on fire in Australia. They will burn, or perhaps drown in the rising sea levels, elsewhere in the coming years. And we will likely continue to wallow in self-interested doubt and denial.

Perhaps because, indeed, “we’ve been too silly to deserve a world like this.”

“Australia today is ground zero for the climate catastrophe. Its glorious Great Barrier Reef is dying, its world-heritage rain forests are burning, its giant kelp forests have largely vanished, numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen,” Australian novelist Richard Flanagan, a latter day Shute, wrote in the New York Times. “The images of the fires are a cross between ‘Mad Max’ and ‘On the Beach’.”

Survivors are literally gathering “on the beach” in Australia because everything else is on fire. Will the fire next time blaze closer to home?

Our dirt cheap water

Fifteen years is a lot of water under the bridge. And every year that water got a little dirtier and scarcer.

“Floridians in 2005 may not be facing a statewide water crisis at present, but they are certainly facing enormous challenges. They cannot afford to be complacent.”

That cautionary note appeared in a little-heeded study, “Avoiding a Water Crisis in Florida.” Its author, Lynne Holt, was a policy analyst for the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center (PURC).

It is safe to say, 15 years later, that we choose complacency. So we now live in water crisis times. Red tides, toxic algae, collapsing oyster beds, mass fish die-offs and on and on are our new normal.

Two decades into the 21st century we are still making terrible water decisions. That’s why, to cite just one egregious example, one of the world’s largest bottling companies feels entitled to suck up Florida spring water, for free, and sell it in little petroleum-based containers.

Which is why it’s worth remembering Holt’s 2005 report as we blithely row, row, row on our fragile water resources into the third decade.

“One method of curbing water use and thus reducing conflicts over water in Florida and elsewhere is the adoption of more efficient pricing and funding mechanisms to capture the real cost of supplying water,” it asserts.

That’s a polite way of saying that if Florida wants to stop treating its water like dirt we need to stop making it as cheap as dirt. We need to stop giving away our most priceless resource to anyone who cares to pump it out of the ground.

Dirt cheap water is why Big Ag hasn’t moved to drip irrigation and other less water intensive growing techniques. It’s why Nestle can sell “our” water at enormous profits while continuing to add to the world’s plastic pollution stream. It’s why millions of Floridians can pour rivers of water on their lawns (after which it runs back into our streams and wetlands laden with pesticides and fertilizers).

Why not? That water’s as cheap as dirt.

“We Americans are spoiled, we wake up in the morning and we turn on the tap and out comes as much water as we want for less than we pay for cellphone service or for cable television. So we take water for granted,” Robert Glennon, a water expert at Arizona University, told Atlantic magazine.

But wait a minute. What about the poor? If we “right price” water, won’t they be deprived of this life-sustaining fluid?

No. The Atlantic article adds: “Since drinking water is a human right, experts all agree that the base amount a person needs to survive, about 15 gallons a day, should be subsidized.” It’s water squandering that needs to be priced out of the market.

What would happen if Florida right-priced water? Holt’s report recommends that the proceeds from water sales be used to replace aging and leaking water supply infrastructure, pay for water preservation and address pollution.

More importantly, right-pricing would foster a water conservation ethic among farmers, utilities, manufacturers and individual users.

“Absent pricing schemes that capture the true costs of water use, consumers will not be able to respond rationally to conservation signals,” Holt wrote.

That’s another polite way of saying that we will continue to soak our lawns, flood our fields and, yes, let entrepreneurs sell our water to the world in little plastic pollution delivery systems until we stop treating that water like dirt.

(Ron Cunningham is former editorial page editor of The Sun. Read his blog at www.floridavelociped.com)

Ron’s sense of snow

Canadians think Americans are loopy anyway. But if you really want to evoke eye-rolling and dark mutterings from our northern neighbors try saying this to a Canadian:

“I’m from Florida and I’m here for the snow.”

In December. In Ottawa.

And we’re not talking about skiing. I ski. I fall down. I break something. That way lies disaster.

No, I just love the snow. I like to walk in it. To savor its fresh, sharp scent and biting touch. It’s a walk on the wild side. I’m a stranger in a strange land.

Once my backpacking group, the Shining Rock Orienteering Society (AKA Old Florida Guys In Hot Pursuit Of Their Lost Youth) were hiking in snowy Rocky Mountain National Park. People kept looking at us funny because my fellow Orienteer, Louis Kalivoda, was wearing shorts. It’s just Florida Man folks, nothing to be alarmed about.

It is true that I have lived in Florida for more than 60 years. But the first seven years of my life was spent in Pennsylvania. And I still have memories of waking up on winter mornings and discovering that the world outside had turned white and magical.

Listen, to this day I can’t watch “Christmas Story” without tearing up.

The best day I ever spent in New York City happened because there was a blizzard and my flight home got canceled. I went for a long walk through Central Park in a driving snowfall (listening to Sinatra on a Walkman) and had the time of my life. I had lunch at Tavern On The Green and later went to the Algonquin Hotel for scotch. Move over Dorothy Parker.

So here I am at the age of 72, and a confirmed denizen of the Sunshine State. But there is nothing for it. Every now and then I’ve simply got to go looking for snow. Which is why Canadians find me such an odd duck. But there it is.

I’m a bizarre example of rare reverse tourism. The Air Canada plane headed north had quite a few empty seats. On the return trip to Orlando (aka Land Of The Mouse) it was full up.

Ottawa is one of my favorite cities. I have ridden bicycles there and walked for miles around Parliament Hill and along the Ottawa River. But always in the summer or fall. This time we arrived just in time to take in the Christmas Lights Up Canada festival in Confederation Park. They handed us lighted candles and we walked in a snowfall among gaily lighted trees and sculptures.

The next day I walked along the celebrated Rideau Canal locks. The last time I was here it was crawling with tourists and boaters who were patiently waiting out the long lift up or down. Now I had the place to myself.

Strolling along the Ottawa River was a bleak experience…all whites and browns and grays. Then I came upon a spot where someone had left flowers next to a small plaque of an angelic figure and another that said “Peace And Grace.” I know there’s a story there.

Had tea with the suffragettes near Parliament. Still waiting patiently for Hell to freeze over.

The last time I visited Maj. Hill’s Park we laid down in the soft green grass and took in the sunshine. Things change.

And the snow leaves room for interpretation.

The mutant spider at the National Gallery was still assaulting that cathedral across the street. But it seemed to be moving more sluggishly.

We had taken a cabin on Otty Lake for the month of July. This time we had to hike in because the road was blocked.

In nearby Perth is Steward Park. When last we saw it, kids were swimming in the Tay River. Now not so much.

And downtown Perth has certainly changed.

Although we did meet a woman who was shoveling snow off the sidewalk and told us “It’s very mild today.” I love that sort of optimism.

I’m only saying that if you decide to cross that bridge, the snow presents new and infinite possibilities.

So don’t be a grump. Enjoy the moment. Just be sure to dress appropriately.

It’s a wonderful life. Get out in it. And leave footprints.

I’m a Floridian but I love the snow. So sue me, Canada.

Plus, I’m not the only one.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’” Lewis Carroll.

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.” 
George R.R. Martin.

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” 
E.E. Cummings

“With luck, it might even snow for us.” 
Haruki Murakami

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person” Sylvia Plath

“The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows, politely begging entrance and then falling with disappointment to the ground” 
Jamie McGuire.

I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Rachel Cohn

“To want to understand is an attempt to recapture something we have lost.” 
Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow