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  • What a difference a year makes. Exhibit A, on the left, the winter of 2011. On the right, winter of 2012. Last year record snow; this year record warm and lack of snow. Global warming? No -- global warming is figured in decades and centuries, not one year to the next. But these aberrations of weather are themselves becoming patterns, patterns noticed by the real sugarers in Vermont who say the trees are producing less, are more prone to disease and have shorter lifespans. Their records show that sugaring begins earlier and ends earlier and that the South Line -- the line where sugaring stops because of climate conditions -- is creeping north.

    Nonetheless, the year-to-year difference in the last two years in my tiny world is, if nothing else, disappointing in terms of the harvest, and unnerving in terms of how I view the earth.
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