by Rose Blackthorn
First of all, welcome to the Preserve. Here are your room keys and a map of our little settlement. You can see there’s an all-night café right next door, and we have an enclosed walkway between here and there, so you don’t even have to go outside. One of the services we offer is a little oral introduction to the Preserve presented by yours truly. Some people don’t seem all that interested, but I’d like to tell my story anyway, and if you don’t mind, I’ll get to it right now.
My opinion? It all started with global warming. No one really believed it; I mean c’mon, the planet heating up until it started an ice age? That just makes no sense at all! But regardless of any of that, the winters were getting drier, at least around here. Not nearly as cold or long as they’d been when I was a kid. We didn’t get as much snow in the winter. Used to be three or four feet of snow on the ground, sometimes more, from October on through April. Temperatures used to dip into the negatives and stay there for weeks at a time. Then, in the winter of ’12, it never dropped below freezing. Still had a couple good snowstorms, but nothing like usual. The winter of ’13 was so mild, most folks didn’t even call it winter. We never had more than two inches of snow on the lawn all season. Clear on into April, all the grass was dead, kind of a dried-up beige color lying flat against the soil and not much rain either, so even the bulbs were late coming up.