October 27, 2011
I was just about to start out this blog remarking upon the gloom that overtook me when the weatherman this morning said (with weatherman joie de vivre) we might have “wet snow” mixing with rain on Saturday morning. And then it occurred to me that I always used to shake my head and smile, behind a concealing hand, when my English mother-in-law discussed the weather. Which she did, on the average, five to six times a day. Bless her heart and revered memory.
Which led me to the accompanying thought. We get weather forecasts on our news radio station every ten minutes. The news on TV always has a weather segment — admittedly emphasized when the weather is remarkable in one way or another, and here in Michigan, we get just about every kind of weather there is. I always thought everyone in England talked about the weather so incessantly is because it’s so inescapable. Much of the time it’s raining, with various intensities. Sometimes it’s that dreadful damp cold that goes straight through to the bone. When you have a sunny glorious day, you notice it, and it becomes the #1 topic of conversation for the day.
But that’s not true around here. And yet weather is, indubitably, a big deal. Why, I ask myself. Why?
Is it because warm sunny weather is so life-enhancing? But does it continue to be when you have warm sunny days following each other in predictable succession? Maybe to develop a full-fledged weather obsession you have to be somewhere where what it’s like outside is not so predictable. We had a wonderful picnic out in the woods a couple of weeks ago. The beginning of October was absolutely wonderful around here. It was particularly welcome after what I have been assured was a miserable rainy September. We missed it — we were in England, where it rained, too, but not all the time. But this is Michigan, the upper Midwest, and it’s no secret that days in the 70’s and low 80’s will not continue deep into the autumn. So that sunny weekend in mid-October we decided it was the day for a picnic, and probably the last one for the year. I made chef salad and we brought a bottle of white wine and we sat out under the trees (just beginning to turn color then, as it was still so warm) and we absolutely reveled in it all.
Would we have if we knew the next weekend would be equally pleasant?
So. What difference does the weather make to you? Do you listen to weather reports or (if you’re a real junkie) the Weather Channel? Do you notice what’s going on outside, and if there’s precipitation, what variety it is? If you do, why? Why do we care about it all?
It’s raining out there now. I’m going to hunker down and take a nap.