COLUMNIST: There’s more to whacking the mole

It became patently clear Monday morning that one should always attempt to solve the problem before trying to repair its result.

It became patently clear Monday morning that one should always attempt to solve the problem before trying to repair its result.

Having spent much of Sunday neatly spreading and smoothing soil along the mole and mouse paths that had turned my lawn into a network of mini-canyons over a winter of neglect, dismay (followed by a litany of words unsuitable for a family newspaper) greeted my walk to the gate for the morning newspapers. The Mole was back, with a vengeance!

If I thought it had the mental capacity, I’d swear it was laughing at me while rooting up the ground. On the other hand, the indignity of it all has spurred retribution, or at least a temporary cure to the problem. Mr./Ms. Mole will soon be dispatched. And so few decent days to make up the time wasted.

Like last weekend, when I backed the truck and trailer behind the barn to pick up a load of branches from a downed tree. Took me 15 minutes to load up, and three hours to winch the truck out of the mud.

And it was so cold, that on the third of May I had to order more oil for the furnace that gets worse ‘mileage’ than my pickup truck.

On April 28 it snowed, and this weekend, in cleaning up the yard, I discovered that our banana trees, which I swear produced bananas last year, melted to nothing in the frigid weather this winter.

The magnolia is only now beginning to flower, at least six weeks late, and the garden that is usually planted is a mass of weeds embedded in soil that would swamp the rototiller.

The horses are still on hay and the cows are still on ‘winter vacation,’ because the field grass, unlike that of the lawn, continues with its reluctance to recognize that spring, according to the calendar, has sprung.

Even the ducks who show up every year to mooch grain don’t appear to have nested yet, and the swallows must be starving for lack of flying insects.

But up north it seems, from a European perspective, things are positively balmy. The prognosticators are predicting that the ice melt in the Arctic is such that within 90 years the sea level will rise some 1.6 meters, or about five feet three inches. Disaster in the making they claim. And in England, it was the warmest, and driest April on record. Except for the rising sea levels, the U.K. could be a destination of choice if one planned to stay around for another century or so.

But while scientists get their knickers in a knot over the future, and it may not be nice for the grandchildren of my grandchildren, in the greater scheme of things this isn’t new.

Years ago I’m certain stuff froze, or wouldn’t ever grow here, and I’m also sure that at other times you could grow bananas in B.C.

Climate changes, ice ages come, warming trends cycle through. Flooding, frost, hot, cold – it’s all been here before, and will continue so long as the Earth turns.

Yes, carbon emissions created by our thirst for consumer goods and luxury are contributing to the speed of change, but try as we might, real change is out of our control.

The only difference is that today we have the ability to communicate our concerns, though no more real ability to manipulate inevitable change than there was in the time of cave dwellers, mammoths or dinosaurs.

Which means of course that, try as I might, whacking the mole is only an interim and brief solution to keeping my, and the world’s, garden neat and tidy.