Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Strange Thrill of A Weather Event

We in the north have learned to deal with the cold, the gloom, the ice and snow over the many years of living here. To those who are in warmer climates, it might be puzzling as to just why we stay and tolerate less-than-ideal weather conditions for so many months of the year.

The reasons are varied:

  • We like the change of seasons.
  • We have family here.
  • We have jobs here.
  • It's too expensive to relocate.
  • We like to complain.

It does give us a break from the garden and for those of us that are a bit obsessed with ours, we need that break, whether we think we do or not.
This winter has been one that's all over the weather map, with thunderstorms, high winds, snow, sleet, freezing rain, blizzards, and fog. The result of some of that has been flooding and power outages for some of us. Never a dull moment!

Think about this . . . what would winter be like if we didn't have some extreme weather to look forward to? Day after day of gray, brown, cloudy, depressing weather, with a few sunny days peppered here and there. Bo-r-r-r-ing. So sometimes, strange as it may seem, we get a bit excited over what the weather forecasters like to call A Weather Event.

Right now, I'm reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. It's been recommended reading for me for quite a few months now, and when I saw it on the shelf at Walmart last week, I picked it up. I started reading it last night and in the very first chapter, there's a perfect explanation of how we northerners are when A Weather Event is forecast.

There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and share in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.

Of course, it is also true that storms interrupt business and, while a few companies make a bit extra, some companies lose money - meaning there are those who find no joy when everything shuts down temporarily. But they can't blame anyone for their loss of production, or for not being able to make it to the office. Even if it's hardly more than a day or two, somehow each person feels like the master of his or her own world, simply because those little droplets of water freeze as they hit the ground.

Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity.

Wm. Paul Young has been there. He gets it. He could never explain it in such an accurate way unless he'd experienced it.

I'm sure the southerners have their own counterparts to these northern natural events, especially those who live in California or other areas that experience earthquakes. Though relatively commonplace for some, it still provides a bit of drama to their days.

We're having A Little Weather Event here today. This is one of a slightly different sort, but the resulting feelings inside us are much the same. We are having what I call "a teaser day." The thermometer on the bank just outside Walmart read 51° at 1:00 this afternoon.
The average high for this date is 25°.

The sun was peeking out for a little while and though it was a bit windy, it was still much, much warmer than it was just a couple of days ago. We saw people shedding their heavy winter coats and walking around in just sweatshirts and sweaters topping their jeans. The sheer numbers of people out and about was an indication of The Event, too. The fresh air smelled so good.

These days put a smile on our faces because they are the sign of things to come. The teaser days will occur more frequently from now on - melting snow and softening the frozen layer of soil blanketing the land. Oh, we'll have more snow and maybe even A Weather Event or two, but spring is on the way!


Cathy S. said...

I surely vote for spring!

Kathy said...

It didn't get quite so warm here--we didn't break 50--but the feeling was much the same. Enough to give one hope!

Anonymous said...

I love living in a warm climate, but I do miss not having four seasons. I especially would like the gorgeous fall that northerners have. I guess people would ask why you live ___ to just about anywhere in the country. We don't have snow storms, but our hurricanes would scare a lot of people. It is all in what you get used to and know and most importantly where your family is.

Always Growing

Shady Gardener said...

Oh, Oh! That photo of the cardinal is wonderful! We've had a couple of warm days (yesterday and today, esp!) Hope things don't start to grow... it'll make me nervous!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I could identify both with what you and the book author said about weather events and the great excuse for everyone to stay home. We have had some teaser days, too, and will probably have more snow yet, too.

The older I get, the more I wish our winters weren't quite so long and cold.

Great cardinal pic, too!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trade our four, distinct seasons for anything. That excerpt was spot on! There is something about a "weather event" that is joyful, even when the event is a typically nasty one. It unleashes a "need to nest" for me, a lot of times -- time to gather supplies for possible power outages, time to make soups and fill the kitchen with the aroma of baking bread. I'm not sure why that is, but I always feel like baking and "putting aside stores" when a storm is coming. Maybe it's some primordial survival thing. :-) Lordy, you'd think I lived in the middle of the barren Prairies or something! YOUR weather event sounds wonderful -- we hovered around the freezing mark today, and have rain on the way for tomorrow. Spring is just around the corner! (And that photo of the cardinal is spectacular! I wish we could attract one to the balcony.)

Unknown said...

It's never dull, is it, we who have weather events?! We're expecting one of some sort, whether snow, rain, ice or toads, we're not sure yet. I just plan to sleep in tomorrow and let it do as it wishes. It's gonna anyway....:-)

Diana said...

Kylee - you're right, we do miss the 4 seasons here...for about a week or two. But we do get the same rush that you've described in your post when we have a weather event. Interesting, isn't it? Even though I accuse our weather forecasters of being Chicken Little, I get just as caught up in it all! You hit it on the head.

F Cameron said...

North Carolina has 4 seasons, only we don't get a lot of snow. Our skies are blue on many winter days and I like sunshine.


PS I just got the same camera for the wide angle and zoom.

Kylee Baumle said...

Cathy ~ It's got my vote, too!

Kathy ~ I know! It was just what we needed. There are a couple of warm days predicted for the coming week, too, then I'm sure we'll be back to typical winter. But spring can't be far off now!

Jan ~ You're right! We get used to no matter where we are, because what makes us truly happy doesn't really have a thing to do with the weather, does it? ;-)

Shady Gardener ~ Isn't he FAT? I don't think things will start to visibly grow here just yet. It won't stay that warm for long, I don't think. Every year we have weather like this as it gets nearer to spring.

Sue ~ I think winter bothers me more each year, too. I can understand why some people go south for the winters!

I do enjoy a nice crisp sunny winter day with snow on the ground, but I don't want a whole season of them!

Nancy ~ I get more energetic when there is a snowstorm predicted and I think you're right about the nesting thing. It's probably instinctive.
We have so many cardinals in the yard and on the feeders right now! I just love seeing their brilliant red feathers.

Anonymous said...

Here is the wilds of Oklahoma, we get so excited by a weather event that forecasting is a sporting event. LOL.~~Dee

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

We have 4 seasons in SW France also. It's just that winter is always the longest one.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I loved the book excerpt Kylee. You were also right on about needing winter. I also need winter to be able to slow down and enjoy all that was done in the garden. Also to have time to think about what to be doing the next summer. I actually enjoy winter. If we have an "event" the better it is. As long as we have electricity that is. I do like to be warm and able to cook up a hot meal.

Our Cardinals have been singing quite a bit lately. It seems a little early but they aren't the only ones singing their praises about the warmer weather and longer days.

Nutty Gnome said...

I think you were English in a former existence!

I love the seasons - it's snowing again here even as I type. We once spent a year travelling around Asia and got SO bored with the weather always being the same that it was a joy to come home!

I love teaser days ....but I may be waiting for some time for one round here.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Love that cardinal photo! Puffed up by the cold, I suppose. It's close to 75 degrees here today.

EAL said...

I don't mind winter, though I sorta wish I was on a plane flying south, as I believe you are at this moment. A break would be nice, particularly after the brief thaw we just had.

I do love trees covered in ice.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Living in the north does give us bragging rights. (It was so cold...) But I do appreciate the change of seasons. Would I love spring as much if it didn't follow on the heels of cold & snow?

Unknown said...

Good luck with that book.
I read and reviewed it already.
Good luck.

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