Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Hazy sunshine; 60s at the beaches, 70s and 80s inland..."

What's the first thing you think about when you awaken each morning?

It's different every morning? I suppose that's technically true. It is for me if I've been dreaming and can still remember the last few seconds of my ET life in Neverland. But once I've whitewashed my always ridiculous life in slumbering absurdity, check my limbs for flexibility and my brain for purpose; once I decide that consciousness is doable, I'm pretty sure the first lucid thought I've had nearly each morning of my nearly fifty-eight years is the absurdly pedestrian wondering about the day's weather.

You may well disagree. Maybe you don't think about the weather first thing.

Then again, maybe you do but just don't realize it.

The weather is ubiquitous. Except when it threatens your comfort or very existence it is well worth ignoring. I've never understood how TV weather-casters can spend three minutes on "sunny and warm for the rest of the week." Unless you're planning a garden wedding or luau, who cares?

Why am I even prattling about weather?

Because my friend and partner, Anita Garner, has put my mind to something I describe two dozen times each morning on the radio but rarely give a second thought.

You should pause now and go read her delightful and insightful, "Weather-watching obsession..."

I'll wait right here.

***************

Anita has plugged into something most of us have forgotten.

"...my country born-and-bred father had a set of weather instruments on the back porch and glanced at them several times a day, always remarking out loud on what he saw there. He often disputed what the dials told him, and he was always right. He could feel changes in his bones."

This passage slapped me in the face with a crystal clear memory from a parched, rocky slab of Wyoming hardpan more than fifty years ago.

I barely reached my grandpa's waist, standing there in his unfenced Rock Springs backyard which stretched all the way to Nebraska. The clouds were few and unremarkable. It was barely nine in the morning but already hot and unusually still. Grandpa shaded his eyes and looked first one way and then the other.

A moment later we were back in the house and he told my grandmother she should hang the day's laundry on the line early because it would rain by that evening.

I awoke the next morning to the open-window smell of soggy clay and prairie.

They knew, back then, because they needed to. Somehow that inclination to know still reaches us eventually.

When we're old coots, obsessed by the weather.

Isn't that wonderful?

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