Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Of Lions, Lambs, Lynx, and Hares

It's time for March to take a firm personality stand. Either come in as a howling blizzardy lion, or a sunny, snow-melting lamb. Then at least we'll know what to expect at the end of the month. This year, March couldn't make up it's mind, so it came in with a few lame flurries that left us wondering whether we'll be buried in snow or slogging in slush in four weeks. You'll agree that this doesn't look particularly lionish, nor does it fit the bill for snow-melting lambishness.

Since the weather gremlins can't get their act together this year, I propose a third category to supplement the traditional lion and lamb stereotypical weather patterns: the March Lynx.

Stop rolling your eyes long enough to hear me out on this one.

A lion roars, has big teeth, and is scary (not unlike a March blizzard). A lamb is cute and soft and cuddly (not unlike a March thaw). A lynx is in between. It looks soft and cuddly, but it has sharp teeth, and can scream in a manner that curdles your blood and rattles your spine like an aspen leaf before a thunderstorm. March weather is not unlike a lynx. Soft and cuddly one minute, then a screaming maelstrom the next.

March weather may be nutty, but it's usually harmless (except that it was -30 again this morning. Ouch). Lynx are generally harmless too, unless you are a snowshoe hare. But snowshoe hares don't care about March weather, so their opinion doesn't count. On the other hand, perhaps crazy March weather can be attributed to the fact that the March Lynx has eaten too many March Hares.

Now you can roll your eyes.

So here is my counter axiom to supplement the traditional Lion/Lamb theory: When March comes in like a lynx, it goes out like a hare. A crazy March Hare. My long range weather prediction accuracy rate is running at about 50%, which is considerably better than Environment Canada. We'll see how this one pans out.

Oh, and by the way, when this March lynx thing catches on and goes viral, remember you heard it here first.

Here is a picture of a real live Upsala lynx that you may have already seen in my Groundhog Day post (thanks again, Christina).

I don't know what the weather is like in the Middle East and North Africa, but the political climate resembles a March lynx suffering from March Hare indigestion. You can get a synopsis of the state of various Middle Eastern and North African countries here.

Speaking of political climates, my feelings about support for M-635 are similar to my feelings about the non-commital entry of the March Lynx. I wish the various organizations would either roar like a lion or follow along like a lamb. Volunteer groups have voiced their support, but several larger organizations have left me wondering.

The CAFC gave a brief nod to the motion, then affirmed that they were going to focus on the Give Firefighters Credit campaign (which I support whole heartedly). Not exactly an endorsement, but at least it wasn't opposition. Very lynxish.

The IAFF, which is the union that represents career firefighters, sent a letter to John Rafferty about M-635. I saw a copy of it yesterday, and I must admit, it seemed lynxish as well. In short, it said supporting firefighters was a good idea, but don't forget the career guys. It was neither support nor opposition . . . and it made me uneasy. I find this even more perplexing than schizophrenic spring weather. I'd like to be on friendly terms with this well-funded organization, and I don't expect them to support a volunteer firefighter motion. Most of all, I do not want to compete with them. The intent of the motion was to put a spotlight on critical problems in places like Wandering River and Upsala. Canadian career departments may have funding issues, but I've never heard of one being stuck in the middle of nowhere doing an extrication or fire with two or three responders and ancient equipment . . . and no back up on the way. The intent of M-635 was to help these situations.

I'm still waiting for a response from the OAFC. I'm actually a member of this organization, but they haven't given an opinion on M-635 yet, or replied to my request to help spread the word. I understand that the OAFC executive directors are fire guys with lots of stuff on their plates, and that they'll get around to commenting eventually. I'm hoping for support from these folks, but I still feel a bit lynxish about the delay.

To make the situation even more bewildering, all three organizations are full of great people. In fact, some of them are good friends that I consider to be amongst the best and truest people on earth. It's the organizations that remind me of a March lynx.

Enough with the political analogies. When a person is trapped in their crashed vehicle somewhere between Raith and English River, at that precise moment they don't give a fig about March hares or March lynx, or whether we're with the IAFF, CAFC or OAFC. They just want help.

Here's hoping that small rural Canadian fire departments will figure out a way to continue that service for many years to come.

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