Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weather

C.S. Lewis once wrote these words to a friend: "[Y]ou and I ... positively enjoy almost every kind of weather." In his novel That Hideous Strength, this same love for weather is given to two of his characters: "That's why Camilla and I got married," said Denniston.... "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."

I grew up in Southern California, where the weather was (in my memory at least) rather monotonously pleasant. Apart from the occasional thunderstorms or fogs, and the regular bouts of Santa Ana winds, my memories are of moderate temperatures and mostly sunny days. Though we knew there were such things as seasons, we really only experienced about one-and-a-half of them.

Here in Wisconsin it's different. Here we have Weather with a capital W, spread across four distinct and decided seasons. The weather is not only a safe topic of conversation, but knowing what to expect of it can affect one's personal safety.


When we first announced our intention of moving here, the response from our California friends was invariably along these lines: "Don't you know it gets cold in the winter?"

Yes, we knew - and we moved here anyway. And after 23 years we still like it. In fact, we love having four seasons.

We like the white-and-blue of sparkling snow and winter sky; the softness of spring rains and spring air that bring the miracle of returning leaf and bloom; the deep moist heat of summer when the corn and tomatoes seem to grow before our very eyes; the mellower warmth and the sharp frosts of autumn, with its unutterable glory of changing trees.


We like the rolling thunderstorms that can strike almost any month of the year, darkening the sky with ominous clouds and stabbing it with violet and silver and peach lightning (though always we hope it won't stab too close to the ground). We marvel at the wind that can drive a stinging snow sideways for hours, carving it into fantastic shapes, burying familiar objects, changing the look of the terrain. We maintain a healthy respect for tornadoes; also for temperatures that can rise and fall 20 to 40 degrees over 24 hours, melting snow and then re-freezing it, turning our sidewalks and roads into a vast and dangerous skating rink. We wonder at a climate that can go from 100º and 100% humidity in summer to -25º (or worse) in winter.

It has to be confessed that much of this awe and enjoyment takes place from within doors, which makes me ask myself: do I truly like Weather in all its forms? Or does my pleasure stem from a sense of comparative cosiness and safety - from knowing that while the Weather is out, I am in?

Would I want to take a walk in a lightning storm? No - but this is a matter more of prudence than preference. Do I like to go out in a heavy fog or a soaking rain? Not usually, especially if I have to be somewhere and want to look decent when I arrive.


Which raises another question: why do I like some forms of Weather less than others? Upon mature self-examination, I have to admit that it boils down to vanity. The Weather I like least is the weather that makes my hair go limp and draggly. A blowing mist is of all things my horror, especially if I have to walk to work in it. (How sad is that?)

On the plus side: I like sun and wind and clouds and snow; heat and cold, and most things in-between. Tonight when I walked home from work, the temperature was -1 (F). I'd been fighting a sinus headache all day, and the clean icy air felt (and smelled) absolutely wonderful. Who needs an icepack when you can step outside into that? I reached home too soon, and wished I could have walked a mile or two more in the lovely breathtaking chill.


I am glad to live in a place where Weather has so many faces, where grandeur and beauty, blue skies and grey, clouds and sunset, storm and calm, even dull days and heavy, all have their places upon the stage of the year, and come and go in their appointed times.

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How do you feel about Weather? Do you enjoy it most from a position of safety, or do you like to be out in it?


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22 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, you are talking my language, I absolutely LOVE weather. I watch the sky all the time, whatever is up there. There isn't any weather I don't like. And the beautiful warm sunny days of summer are so much more precious for being here only part of the year. My other half lived in Alice Springs for a year, and I think it rained once, he was so fed up with relentless blue sky! Each and every season is wonderful and the many, many different types of weather keep it interesting, all the time. CJ xx

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  2. I often think that it would be nice if it were sunny all of the time, but when we get several weeks of sun sometimes in the summer I long for the cloud, rain and for it to be a bit colder. Like you I wouldn't really like it if we didn't get seasons, what is there to look forward to. I love the new shoots in the Spring, the beach in the Summer, the crisp Autumn days and the fire in the Winter. Yes, I'll keep my seasons thankyou..
    Briony
    x

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  3. What a great post! I like weather as well. It has everything going for it - something to look forward to, something to miss, something to dress for and something to talk about, what more could we ask?
    Amalia
    xo

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  4. Lovely. I really enjoy experiencing seasons too. And I like to get out and about in most weathers as well, especially cold and sparkly! Not too sure about lightning storms though - probably best experienced from indoors. Hope you feel better soon. Juliex

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  5. Dear Sue, what a wonderful post. I love weather too! You have got me to thinking that I love the sounds that different weathers bring. (Is "weathers" a word?) ....the sound of the wind, how snow muffles and quiets everything, rain pounding down, etc. Also I am reminded how the different seasons bring us the sounds of birds, crickets, the rustling of leaves..on and on. Right now, because it is relatively warm here, I can hear a few spring peepers! In another month or so there will be a full orchestra of those little green jewels singing in a glorious spring.
    Sigh.

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  6. I think I'm in the minority here, although my feelings may be because of having always lived in areas that had four distinct seasons. I would absolutely love to experience days of unending sunshine, no shoveling of snow and garden goodies year round. I lived in Nebraska my first 34 years. Enough said. Tornadoes? No thank you. Now I live in the mountains of Washington State. No, not Seattle where they just get a dusting of snow each year, but here, where we get a healthy amount of winter. I know I should be grateful for what I have, and I do adore our summers here. But I would really like to experience the "no snow" part for once in my life. :-)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  7. Nice post! For the most part, I like to be out in weather. However, I have healthy respect toward thunderstorms. I enjoy having four seasons. Each season has its own siren.

    Just for fun — sometime when your area is sub-zero and sunny, get a bubble maker kit containing the soapy liquid and little wand. Now make bubbles in the cold. The behavior of the bubbles in the frigid air can be quite delightful. The sun helps to bring rainbows of sparkle to the bubbles.

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  8. Dear Sue, I really enjoyed reading your post about Wisconsin weather. Especially today, as it was a day I had to work on the market. I sell fruits and vegetables for a local organic farmer and therefore the weather is quite important for me. I do not like heavy rains and storm, it is so uncomfortable to be on the market in such weather. At the moment it is just cold here, no rain, no storm, that's okay. But coming home after 8 hours of being outside in cold weather is a real challenge. My head turns red, I feel as if I'd run a tempature andf then after a while I begin to feel cold, But it is a good feeling, I am always so thankful to have a warm and cosy home. That's really important. Have a nice evening, Viola

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  9. Lovely post Sue, I love the rain not drizzly nondescript rain but rain that comes lashing down and bounces off the pavements, I love to walk out in it and smell new mown grass that has just had a shower. I can't pretend to like the cold of winter but love to see soft falling snow through a window while i'm snug and warm inside. :) xx

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  10. I'm one of the strange ones that actually likes driving in the snow, but mostly if I'm not in a hurry. Unfortunately, everyone is in such a hurry all the time, that the other drivers make me so nervous in their decisions. Yikes! But I wholeheartedly agree--I do love to be inside and watch all the weather changes that take place! The only place I disagree is that the bitter cold often makes my headaches worse rather than better. I'm so happy that it works for you, though! Whatever it takes to get rid of headaches is GREAT in my book. ;-)

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  11. I love the four seasons too and would not enjoy missing out on a single one of them! I like the C.S. Lewis quotation! Great pictures to show off the different seasons!

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  12. I like Fall and Spring...the rest, I have no use for! Ok, Summer I can kind of tolerate if I am indoors, but winter....nope, I don't like one thing about winter.....nothing! I hate the cold, the ice, the snow...where are you Spring? I keep saying that everything I look out my window and my lawn is dusted with snow, and the roads are icy....Oh Spring...I miss you so. :) Hey, what's on your knitting needles lately?

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  13. Most enjoyable post Sue, I love Weather! My favourite weather has to be the huge thunderstorms we have in our summer months here in the Highveld part of South Africa. Massive banks of purple and grey clouds, and lightening flashing across the heavens in great swathes, followed by loads of grumbling thunder! Our Spring is beautiful, Autumn is balmy and warm, with only three months of chilly , sometimes cold days in Wi

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  14. I'm like you. I like seasons that come in fours, and I like to be outside in all of them. I don't care to be in dangerous lightning, but I never tire of shooting it. Or getting wet doing so. As long as I can stay safe. I love each season for their unique contributions to Weather, but allergies in fall tend to get the best of me!

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  15. Wisconsin has a very special beauty in all the different Seasons. Florida is a bit boring although it has been kind of chilly here for us. Love the beautiful photos.
    Meredith

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  16. Such wonderful pictures! I like all kinds of variety in the weather and don't really mind being out in it if I have something interesting to do outside other than wait in a long insufferable line in the heat (like at amusement parks), or rummage for my keys when it's freezing and I haven't worn enough coat. I've often thought I'd like to have been a scientist or forest ranger because I don't mind being outside in all seasons.

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  17. I like having 4 seasons.. but I do have favorites - 1. Summer 2. Spring 3. Fall 4. Winter. I'm happy we have Snowdrops in bloom now! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  18. When we first moved to Florida, I would have said there were too seasons ----- Hellaciously HOT, and OTHER. After being here 30 years I've learned a few things. Summer is hot, humid and too long. Winter is variable, but if you have a warm winter, you will have a hot, humid, long and BUGGY summer. Fall isn't in Sept., Oct and November. It is in February and yes, the leaves do change.

    I DO like the weather. I enjoy a good lightning storm as long as I am IN and it is OUT. I love a windy day. I don't even mind rain. I rather like ice ----- it is very good for keeping my tea cold in August. ;-)

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  19. Not "too" seasons ------- TWO seasons.

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  20. Wonderfully written! And gorgeous pictures. If there was snow, I would definitely prefer being in than out. I'm not a cold weather person at all. But bundled up, I would definitely enjoy a crisp, cold walk with you. I imagine that cleared your head right up. Sometimes we sit inside in stuffy surroundings and need to get out and about in nature to just breathe. Here in desert country I much prefer winter which is when plants are able to grow and thrive. It seems more and more people are planting small gardens around their homes. Even if it is just a row of tomato plants or corn stalks. The change to summer means most everything dies off and we are back to blah for a good portion of the year. Thank goodness for palm trees. Happy Friday. Tammy

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  21. I too am very fond of all kinds of weather except extreme heat. I cannot imagine living somewhere without distinct seasons. Gorgeous images Sue x

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  22. Oh yes, I do love weather. The the varying colors of all the seasons! Staying warm has become more important then ever; however, there's nothing like a warm bath or a fireplace on a cold day!

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