There are two conversational topics guaranteed to be icebreakers, politics and weather. The two often find themselves in the same sentence these days, especially when talking about ice breaking up or melting. I steer clear of political talk even in the sanctuary of home with the occasional lapse at holiday times. But as Mark Twain said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
Photographing the Town of Yarmouth’s Winter Carnival over the long holiday weekend, weather was on everybody’s mind. The day I was there, Saturday, was seasonably cold, mid-30s with a slight wind but abundant late February sunshine and lengthening daylight. The other two days saw much warmer weather. Despite the mildness, winter was on display, outdoor ice skating and even a rare sighting of a yeti and snow princess, actually Yarmouth librarians dressed for winter story hour and crafts.
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The mild weather came up in just about every conversation I had. It was not scientific polling, but just about everyone was relieved to have had it easy from Mother Nature so far this winter. One hearty New Englander did opine about not having at least one old-fashioned snowstorm so far this year, just wait, we both agreed March can still bring a bad nor’easter our way. It was only five years ago in March 2018 the Cape got back to back ocean storms beating up the peninsula badly.
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Several kids by the skating rink were still looking for snow days and sledding. The skating rink by the way was synthetic, plastic panels snapped together making a large rectangle, plenty of space for a nice circular glide using real skates. The surface is lightly sprayed with a coating to make it even more slippery. Ever the skeptic, I did the slip test, and almost toppled over. Online research, well, a couple of Google searches, showed the popularity of these new artificial ice rinks, a 21st century solution to cope with a changing climate.
Wishing away winter for an early spring on Cape Cod is something even a groundhog without a shadow can’t be sure about. But no matter the weather, old photo wisdom remains the same, “bad weather makes good pictures.”
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This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Mild winter: Talk of nor’easter, snow days at Yarmouth Winter Carnival