A change in climate, and perspective

By John Pixley

It was only a month or so ago, in January and even February, that I was complaining that there was never any snow below Baldy Village. Or that there was barely any in the village. At least not for a long time.

I was telling friends about the time I went up Baldy Road, and there was no snow, or barely any, until I went into one of the tunnels and came out, suddenly, into a white wonderland. I couldn’t remember if it happened 15 years ago or if I remembered 15 years ago that it had happened years earlier.

In any case, it was years since there was snow in the village or much below the Icehouse Canyon turnoff. I would often go up when it looked from here in town like the snow was low, only to find no snow in the village, much less at the tunnels. I would feel like Charlie Brown fooled again by Lucy with the football. (At least it was nice. Going up there is never a waste of time.)

It was something like 10 years ago that a friend and I had breakfast at the Baldy Lodge, enjoying the freshly made cinnamon buns, when there was snow melting outside. It has been at least that long since there was a thin layer of snow covering the field at the school at the entrance of the Baldy Village.

What a difference a storm makes.

Or at least the unusual, record-breaking, cold storm that ushered in the last weekend of February. I had been reading about it and hearing friends talk about it snowing in Upland and Montclair, but then I saw glimpses of the hills covered in white, and not just for the morning, but for two, three, four days. Then, I knew it wasn’t just hype.

On Monday morning — it was not only uncrowded but also turned out to be between storms — I ventured up Baldy Road to Baldy Village, wanting to see what I used to see.

Well, I got what I wanted and then some. And then some.

There were patches of snow soon after the incline began. By the time we were at the Shinn Road turnoff, quite a bit below the tunnels, the snow was all-present. In fact, traffic was being stopped to let a snow plow pass. So much for just wishing there was snow at the tunnels like I remembered. This was serious, very serious, as was evident when the village came into view.

The field wasn’t covered with a pretty layer of white, as I pictured in my head from years past.  The field was gone, lost, buried in more than a few inches of snow. I thought of having heard that the school was closed for snow days — snow days near Claremont! — and knew it wasn’t all fun and games.

This was all the more clear further into the village. Snow was piled in all-too-perfect formations on top of cars, many of which were trapped, so to speak, with piles snow blocking their way out of driveways. I wondered if these people were stuck in their houses that were partially hidden by snow.

For all my fond memories of snow in Baldy Village and even at the tunnel, I had never seen snow quite like this, at least not up there. Maybe the snow, if there was this much, had always been shoveled or was melting away when I went up. This wasn’t exactly the stuff of fond memories. This was, again, serious, even alarming. I understood why a couple I know who live in Baldy Village were “camping out” in Claremont.

I had seen enough, and rain was starting to fall again upon arriving back in Claremont. I wanted some change in the weather but perhaps not this much change. Indeed, “climate change” is a better term than “global warming.” At least it stops the deniers in their tracks.

All I wanted was a bit of rain now and then, for the heat and dry weather to hold off for two or three months, until April or maybe even May. This wasn’t quite what I had in mind.


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