December’s Spring

New Yorkers are seeing spring in December this year.


The city’s temperatures soared far above normal for our region every single day throughout the month, reaching 72 degrees F on the 24th, Christmas Eve. Our historical average is 40 degrees for the day before Christmas here. And much as I love rose blossoms nodding in the wind…


and sunflowers dipping to earth…


marigold buds popping open, and new sage leaves packed with fragrance and magical oil,


usually December in New York City is a more somber, reflective time for mother nature – and us. She shows us only a few red berries on bare shrub stems and the skeletons of trees patiently waiting for spring.

All of these photos are from around St. Marks church, taken December 27th. At 60 degrees that day, our neighborhoods looked and felt like spring.


The blooms are pretty, and winter warmth is pleasant. But those flowers and woody shrubs that bloom now probably won’t in spring, according to the plant experts at the New York Botanical Garden. They get to do it once a year. After flowering, these plants run out of the energy they had saved up all year for spring.

New Yorkers are never really quite normal, but in our experience of climate change during December’s spring, we are not alone.

Last month, November 2015, is marked as the earth’s warmest November ever recorded, at about 2 degrees higher than the average of 55 for the globe in the whole 20th century – according to NASA. And last month was the 7th month in a row to break heat records around the world. From the earth’s poles to her lakes and plants, climate records show we are all feeling the heat.

This year as we inch toward the new year in New York City, I can’t help wondering what December’s spring means for the rest of us living things.


Read more about how environmental changes affect our lives, in Brindle 24, my latest novel – at my author page.