Water. We human mammals – those of us born without fins, anyway – spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it. We pay a premium for housing as close to it as we can to a stream, lake or ocean and post signs around it announcing our success to those who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.
When many of us think of the woolly mammoth, I’m guessing we think of Queen Latifah, or at least the voice she gave to Ellie the woolly mammoth in the “Ice Age” movie franchise. For the record, the ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and so did Ellie and her mate, Manny.
Readers of J.R.R. Tolkein are familiar with Ents, those
long-talking, slow-walking ancient creatures of Middle Earth. They are among
the few beings to have survived to the current age. It seems they eventually took
root, owing to their extreme slowness, and became what we know as trees, those
flexible, sometimes giant, beings that wave in the wind.
At the tender age of about 10, I got my first lesson on the subject of cleaning up after oneself. We’d gone to visit Gramma and Grampa in Watertown, Mass., a little way out of Boston. I always liked visiting their home, a really old-fashioned place with a parlor – a small room off the living room, home to a couple of rocking chairs no one actually sat in. In fact, the big set of double French doors to the parlor was rarely not closed.
The evening news begins nearly every night with some version of, “Forty million people will be affected by the weather tonight.” Unless another Malaysian Air flight disappears, our TV screens will be filled with 8 feet of snow in Boston, and 18-wheelers piled up on Midwestern interstate highways.
Of course, news casters, not to be accused of unqualified hyperbole, usually note the effect will be limited to residents of Illinois through Massachusetts. If they’d include folks in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, and maybe Virginia and West Virginia, they could get those numbers up. Even Texas has had snow this year – which is odd since part of the state was wondering as Fall approached whether they would have water at all.