Of butter and warmer days


Iím going to say up front I canít believe Iím giving this a shot.

It combines a couple of subjectsóif not moreóI have attempted before on multiple occasions. It wanders a bit. Doesnít have a definitive conclusion. And it all began while making some toast for breakfast today.

You have been warned.

When I was growing up, we made regular trips to the grocery store. Our purchases were placed into paper bags, which in turn were brought home and then used to cover our school books. We had a box in the backyard for the milk delivery. A glass bottle, return the empty, milk delivery. I walked places more often, used my bicycle more often, and rode around in a car less.

Our air conditioning involved screen doors. Personalized, high-end air conditioning involved distracting the sisters long enough to steal the portable box fan, bring it to my room, and place it in the window.

The point is, I never really noticed much of a difference in the weather. It was either comfortable enough to put in the screens and open the doors to let in the fresh air or it wasnít.

Today, temperatures, I notice.

We have a central air system in our house. Most of the year, the weather is going to be well above or well below our target range of comfort, so the windows are closed. We like having them open. Enjoy fresh air. But we truly do watch the weather and understand whatís going on when letting in the breezes from the great outdoors.

What I donít understand is butter.

Or, more specifically, why it does or doesnít get soft when being left out.

If the temperature inside the house is a constant, why does the butter react differently? Is it the amount of daylight? Are there unseen pockets of heat over the kitchen island? I have to be missing something.

But, am I?

Yesterday morning I made some toast. Brought it directly from the toaster and had a knife in one hand before the other hand had placed it on a plate. Butter was soft. Spread it on the toast. And, it didnít fully melt.

This was hot toast. Not a wasted second, hot toast. And the soft butter didnít completely melt.

Outside in my yard, there are plants all over the place. Seasonal annuals and perennials, in boxes and planters and flower beds and against fences and more. During the summer, I grab hoses and water cans, then make my rounds. The differences can be stunning to see.

Hanging plants may get longer runs of direct sunlight. Flower beds may hold the water better. You can place the same flowers in different places, and the amount of water they need to remain fresh and perky differs.

I get that. It makes sense.

The butter on my toast not melting does not make sense. And I have this weird thought, previously unacknowledged but steadily growing, that wonders if global warming is to blame.

We probably should pause with that idea for a moment. Step off the path, present a tangent thought of equal strangeness and associated themes, then step back. Ready?

Have you seen the reports that one reaction from nature to global warming will be periods of intense cold?


Sounds wrong. But true.

Idea is that global warming brings changes to weather patterns. Wind and rain and more changing and adjusting and disrupting. Do something like disrupt a polar vortex and suddenly temperatures drop.

Thatís really simplified. But it makes sense, right? Action, reaction.

Back to the butter.

It probably still seems strange that I would even vaguely associate the butter on my knife in the morning with a sad polar bear. I see your point on that one. But nature is often funny, unpredictable and strange, even with all of its recognizable patterns and activities.

Have you ever seen a supercooled bottle of water? It can be below freezing by temperature and yet still a liquid. Then some type of shock hits it and water instantly turns to ice. Amazing to witness. Honestly seems to make no sense at all.

And thatís where Iím headed with the butter. Global warming means increased cold, nature provides frozen liquids that transform to solid with a smack, butter on my toast doesnít melt.

That makes sense.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com