The day after the election, an azalea bush in full bloom momentarily distracted me from what happened in Pennsylvania and the country the day before.
Because of the fall colors in the leaves, you need to look a bit closely, but the bush bears dozens of purple blossoms. I’ve seen older azaleas here tricked into putting out a couple of blooms on one branch, but never a whole array in mid-November. The hot weather of most of the fall must have seemed like spring to the plants… as well as to us.
People here sometimes say at times like this: and what’s so bad about global warming? Actually, here in Chester County we are pretty lucky. Not only are we a beautiful county with a lot of preserved open space, but we don’t have big rivers and dams or low-lying sea coasts. We will need to manage our storm runoff better, as West Chester is starting to do and probably other municipalities as well; but we don’t have huge forces of nature arrayed against us. Global warming will make us hotter in summer but we can probably deal with it, and so far at least, droughts have been rare here.
The irony of this year’s election is that people who voted for the national winner are more likely than we are (he lost Chester County by 25,000 more votes) to suffer the consequences as time goes on. His most ardent supporters will see declines in health care, public education, and employment options (it will turn out that “reform” unfortunately does not mean “recreate and improve”). Meanwhile, those who live along the Mississippi and the Gulf and East Coasts will see the storm waters rising around them.
From the Delmarva peninsula south to just short of Miami, and then around the Gulf Coast almost to Mexico, the man who called global warming a hoax predominated in voting. People there will not be any more immune to megastorms and tidal surges than those in the endangered Pacific islands. But in West Chester, we’ll continue to enjoy our gardens into what used to be thought of as late fall.