January 23rd, 2004


an Alberta Clipper

There's an Alberta Clipper coming this way, according to the weather report forwarded by our bad-weather-lovin' officemate. If it's strong enough it might make the coast and turn into a Nor'Easter.

The weather may be the quintessentially most dull topic of conversation, but I do love the folk language of weather watching. Many hours of my childhood in Kansas, too, were spent playing in the presence of my father and various neighbors as they looked at the sky to the West, usually in the late afternoon or early evening, speculating about pending storms. I don't recall that they had particularly colorful language about it, but there was an atmosphere about the whole business that was both casually companionable and deadly serious.

Now the radar is so refined that the tornado sirens rarely go off out there any more, and people seem to take their cues almost entirely from the radio and TV. I'm sure that's good, knowing more sooner, but I miss the excitement lurking beneath the surface in those speculative weather times. And I think, too, it gave me a raw human respect for Mamma Nature and her potential to do me serious harm at any moment.

Stephen Crane on Nature:

"She did not seem cruel to him then, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent."