WHEN WILL THE craziness end? From ice fishing just four days before the opening of fishing season in early May, to sweltering August-like 85 degrees in late May, our weather has been anything but normal. Quite simply, the mood swings of Mother Nature have been crazy.

For fans of the global warming argument, the early part of the year did little to back up their claims. Day after day of below zero temperatures during much of January and well into February, seemed to refute any signs of global warming.

A month of March weather when the thermometer stubbornly refused to give us, what for decades has seemed to be a treat of, at least a few days in the 60s or even 70s, further advanced the views of the global warming bashing crowd.

Then, came April. There was more cold to freeze our fingers, even a little dash of below zero. And to top it off, snowstorm after snowstorm dropped huge amounts of white stuff on us, including 30 inches on parts of Wisconsin in one quick, hammer blow. In our neighborhood, seemingly continuous drops of up to 12 inches assured spring would not come early.

Turkey hunters drawing tags for seasons during the last two weeks of the month found themselves wading through over knee-deep snow blanketing the woods. That kind of made it hard to believe in global warming. 

And then, late May arrived. We suddenly found ourselves sweltering in Florida-like 80s with humidity to match; temperatures we commonly don’t even have to endure in an average July or August in this neck of the woods.

Wood ticks, gnats and mosquitoes seemed to love the heat wave; people, not so much. Just like that, global warming buffs were back on the winning side of the argument.

I, for one, am not about to get into the global warming argument. Parts of it I am inclined to agree with, while parts of it seem to me to be bogus. As it is with most arguments, people on both sides are all too eager to enlist Chicken Little in their ranks as they clamor for all the world to hear the worst possible outcomes of global warming as it seems to be occurring to them or the “fact” that there is no such thing as global warming.

All I know is that weather, during the near-69 years of my life, has taken many wild and wacky swings in all parts of the world.

One year, Europe can’t seem to get above zero for an entire winter, while El Niño keeps much of the United States snowless and 20 degrees above average. One year, parts of the United States can’t buy a drop of rain and the next, floods ravage them. Go figure.

Let’s just look at what has happened right here in the North Woods. For about 10 years, we were locked in one of the most prolonged droughts I have ever seen up here. One of my favorite lakes, Big Muskellunge, a lake of near 1,000 acres and near-70 foot depth, dropped about 7 feet less than normal. Deer Island was no longer an island as it was a berm, at least 6 feet high, that spanned the channel between it and the mainland. Where normally there was enough water to float most any boat, sometimes even allowing careful navigation with the motor down while clearing large boulders littering the bottom, there now was no channel, period. Just two years later, Deer Island is an island with the lake as high as I have ever seen it.

For almost a decade, campers, swimmers enjoying a newly-created sand beach at the north side of the lake and casual walkers could tramp around the entire circumference of 60-acre Starrett Lake. Now, there is no beach and walkers would have to wade much of the way through knee-deep water to circle the lake.

The list goes on, but the message seems to be that the more we think something is normal, the more abnormal it becomes and it’s not just here.

I have hunted ducks and geese in North Dakota for nearly three decades, always during the first week of October. I have hunted on an opening morning when the thermometer read 12 degrees and quarter-inch ice skimmed all but the largest sloughs and ponds. In other years, we swatted mosquitoes for an entire week in temperatures reaching the mid-80s.

One year, we hunted in short-sleeved shirts and sweated in 80 degree-plus weather for four days. The fifth day, it dropped to 60 and that night, it dropped to 30 with the beginning of North Dakota’s worst October snowstorm in recorded history pummeling us overnight. My dad, my brother and I were trapped for two days in my little white house on the prairie with no electricity all that time until the state opened highways 66 and 20 so we could make our escape to Devil’s Lake and on home to Wisconsin. During the blizzard, 15 inches of snow piled up, driven by steady winds at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60. Did I mention the first half of our week of hunting roasted us in temperatures more than 80?

So, global warming or not, the weather continually shifts and changes as it pleases. Prior to last Thursday, I was digging and rebuilding flower beds at my house which had nothing but dry powder for dirt 15 inches deep. A gully washer Thursday night and more rain since has, at times, made it seem like monsoon season.

I suspect that for years to come, despite man’s best or worst efforts one way or the other, weather will continue to change wildly from year to year, decade to decade and that, in the end, man will survive, thrive and even find time to go fishing every now and then. How’s that for an enlightened summary of the global warming argument?