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Global warming, baby 

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Here he comes, rounding the table in the living room, toddling toward the inviting stairs.

Our neighbor's little boy just turned 1. There's no one cuter. He's so cute he has two nicknames, one for the country, one for town.

Everything stops when he comes by to visit. I'm the frozen bagel man. My wife's the peek-a-boo queen.

He's always barefoot, he loves the outdoors. We think he said his first word, a variation on "kittykitty," when he peered with intense curiosity through a lower window. Our kitty always comes and visits him. She loves his stroller.

When Cubby wakes up in the morning, his mother and father say he crawls over to the window next to his crib and calls for the goats. There's a fence 10 feet beyond the house, and they're always waiting for him.

This was Cubby's first full summer. For him it wasn't a really hot summer or a really dry summer, it was just "summer." Maybe all future summers will be this hot and dry, who knows? But this season will be the benchmark. For kids growing up now, through this new cycle of seasons, there is no "used to be cooler" or "when it snowed a lot."

They are living the updated version of turn-turn-turn, the global warming version of the seasons.

Years ago I used to keep a calendar almanac, charting all the natural events we were part of out here in northern Orange County: last frosts, hurricanes, days without power, first chicken egg, big snow, earliest tomato, that kind of thing. When we started getting all those 70-degree days in January, you knew the weirdness was upon us. But less than an inch of rain in August? And raking leaves in September?

My oldest daughter had a big birthday soon after Cubby turned 1. We reminisced, looking at old pictures on the walls of her room. Lots of shots celebrating the seasons. We reread one of her favorite books about splashing through the creek, "splash splosh!" going through the mud, "squelch squerch!" and huddling through a snowstorm, "Hoooo woooo!" Twenty years ago, North Carolina did have four clearly defined seasons, didn't it? Am I getting melancholy or what?

The pumpkins I tried to grow this year didn't fare so well. Cubby better get a good selection to pick from this year, even if they have to be shipped down from New England. I'm all for the concept of "carbon footprint," but what's a fall without jack-o'-lanterns? And if we don't get any snow this year, we're still going to pull him down the driveway in one of our sleds.

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