IN THE SUBURBS / Experiencing Connecticut’s unpredictable for 25 years
Published 3:44 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2017
Thirty-five years ago, when I first came to Fairfield to look at homes to rent, I was absolutely blown away by the explosion of colors on the Dogwood trees along North Benson Road. It was early May, the temperatures were balmy and I immediately felt at home. I concluded that there was no season more perfect than spring in Fairfield and wished it would stay like this year round. Not!
I quickly learned over these last 35 years that the balmy May days that I first experienced as a visitor would quickly and predictably be replaced by out-of-the ordinary and sometimes frigid temperatures and a lot of rain like we’ve had for the past few weeks. Last week, a friend at our quilting guild jokingly asked if I thought we were living in Alaska as I was putting on my winter coat and she put on her lightweight spring jacket.
The temperatures that night were in the 30s and I was nice and warm. I explained to our quilter friend that every time I had decided to bring the coat to the cleaners, the temperatures dropped or the rains came and I liked the hood on my coat.
This week’s more sultry weather was certainly a harbinger of the hot summer we may be expecting, but even those high temperatures were short lived. By Saturday we were supposed to be back to more seasonal 70s and Sunday will only reach the high 60s. But I’ll be waiting until Memorial Day weekend to decide if this summer is going to be really warm and humid.
Unfortunately, the house we’re renting has central air conditioning that doesn’t work and our landlord has been reluctant to repair it for economic reasons. Thankfully, our first summer here in 2014 was magnificent. Temperatures were in the 70s and 80s and nights were cool for sleeping. We couldn’t have been luckier. The next two summers, however, were worse than a blast furnace and we’ve gotten a real taste of what global warming is creating.
I just read a piece this week that noted an increase of about 2 degrees a year since 1970 and the likelihood that by the end of the century it could be four degrees warmer. Those are scary numbers and the writer indicated the impact of this climate change on weather, storms and farm animals. Climate change is no myth. It is very real.
Overall, I like Conn. summers. I just don’t like the excessive heat and humidity that may accompany them. I guess I’m no candidate for Florida. And last summer, no air conditioning and only ceiling fans was inexcusable for us and our dogs. I told the landlord that we had considered cooling centers several times. He at least allowed us to put in two large bedroom windows, which should give us some cross ventilation this summer.
Friends lent us two air conditioners and we’ll probably use at least one of those to survive the heat a little better than last year now that both large windows in our bedroom work.
I remain hopeful that this summer won’t be as bad as the last two.
Once we get to the middle of August every year in Conn., my mind turns to my second favorite season of the year - fall. The temperatures may remain very warm or hot during the day, but the nights start to cool down and some nights are downright crisp.
Once October hits, my wife and I love to go exploring for fall foliage spots and we’ve discovered some right here in Connecticut, as well as further up across the Massachusetts border and into New Hampshire. When we moved here, we never imagined something as breathtaking as the New England foliage. It is truly spectacular.
But all too soon, the leaves create a colorful carpet on our lawns and the occasional chill in the Conn. air is a preview of the inevitable - those special holidays at the end of the year and winter. This year, the winter proved to be as unpredictable as ever. Just when we thought we had escaped snow and bitter cold weather in January, we were punched in the face by February blizzards and March storms also. I really wanted to strangle that groundhog.
Now as we move toward summer, knowing we’ll have our new little grandson from China here, we’ll welcome any kind of warm and sunny weather Mother Nature can dish up.
But for now, we’ll just have to wait to see what Mother Nature has up her sleeve in the way of Conn. surprises.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.