WEATHER’S COMING!

I live in the Blackstone Valley where no one tells you nothing. When weather people stand in the studio and do their predicting, they position themselves so you can see the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Except where we live because that’s where they stand.

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I asked our friend, the trustworthy meteorologist (there is one and he is it) about this. He said, “Well, we have to stand somewhere.” But on his next broadcast, he moved aside for a few seconds so that I could see the map. Thanks!

When anyone mentions the valley at all, it’s Worcester. The rest of our towns don’t exist. I have learned to read weather maps because I’m not going to get information any other way. Dinosaurs could be roaming the Valley, and no one would notice unless one of them ate a tourist.

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Now that we’re turning the corner to warm weather, I can take a deep breath and relax. It’s a quiet weather period, usually.

The past couple of months gave us a big dose of weather frenzy. Most of it was on the money, unlike previous winters when the frenzy exceeded reality by 100%, give or take a few points. I was numb from the hyperbole of previous years, so I ignored the warnings. When the first, huge blizzard hit at the end of January, we were unprepared. I hadn’t even bought extra groceries.

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The frenzy isn’t harmless.

Weather sells. It pulls in viewers. When hurricanes or blizzards threaten, people who normally don’t watch the news tune in. Higher ratings, lots of teasers.

“Seven feet of snow on the way!! Will you be buried tomorrow? Story at 11!” It’s money in the bank. Doom is a perennial best-seller.

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TV stations like to whip everyone into a frenzy. It’s good business. Weather predictions don’t carry issues of journalistic responsibility. No one can call you to task for being wrong because, after all, it’s the weather.

The frenzy is not harmless. Every weather event is presented as if it’s the end of the world. It’s impossible to figure out if this next thing is serious or more of the same.

Should we lay in supplies? Ignore it? Plan to evacuate? Fill all the water containers? Cancel travel plans? Make travel plans? Head for public shelters?

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Hysteria is exhausting and worse, it’s numbing. Some of us worry about the possibility of weeks without electricity. Telling us our world is ending is upsetting if you believe it. It is even more dangerous if it’s serious, and we don’t believe it.

They shouldn’t say that stuff unless it’s true. Or might be true. At the least, it’s rude to scare us to death, and then say “Sorry folks.”

You can’t unring the bell. When the real deal occurs — as it did this winter — we don’t listen. Weather forecasting may not be legally subject to standards or accuracy, but maintaining credibility might be worthwhile. I’m just saying, you know?

THE FIRST SUNNY SUNDAY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

It is spring. The calendar is unequivocal.

Spring has officially been here for nearly three weeks. Sure enough, if you look carefully, you can see the signs. Crocuses in the garden. Fat buds on trees and vines.

Our back garden is full of day lily shoots. They have a lot of growing to do before they bloom — a month or more — but they’re coming up thick and fast. It’s going to be a bonanza year for day lilies. I hope their enthusiasm is contagious.

This past weekend, the temperatures soared. The sun came out and stayed out.

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And we emerged.  Winter-pale, wearing crumpled shorts and tee shirts pulled from the bottom of drawers in which they have lain since last October. Squinting in the strong sunlight. Winter is finally over. We won!

Hauling cameras and fishing poles, kayaks and canoes. Picnic baskets. Umbrellas and lawn blankets. With small frisky dogs in tow.

It was the first sunny Sunday after the worst-ever winter.

No leaves yet on the trees. Nor were any flowers — wild or cultivated — to be seen. There is a world of hope for more sunny days and weeks stretching ahead. It’s the beginning. Never have we deserved it more.

DRIVING THROUGH THE RAIN

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #14

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It’s raining again. It has been raining for more than a week and will continue to rain for a few days more. Actually, to be entirely accurate, it’s a mixture of sleet, hail, and rain. Nasty.

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This make it a perfect time to post pictures of driving in rain. I might mention, at this point, that both my husband and I very much dislike driving in rain and I’m afraid to drive in snow.

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If you use headlights, they reflect back and you can’t see anything. But of course, if you don’t turn on your lights, no one can see you coming. Also dangerous.

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THE LAST SNOW

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When I woke up around dawn Saturday morning, it was drizzling. As it had been, off and on, for several days. I went back to bed. Too early for anything useful. The next time I woke up, a couple of hours later, big fat snowflakes were drifting from the sky. Not a serious snow.

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If I have learned nothing else, it is how to tell the difference between snow that means business, and those casually drifting snow flakes which will evaporate when they touch ground. I went back to bed. Again.

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When finally I got up and it was time for coffee and the day to begin, the snow had changed again. Finer flakes, but now mixed with a hint of rain. Still not serious.

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And so it has continued for several hours. Not enough snow to make a statement. It is just winter lodging a formal protest against being forced to leave.

Sorry about that, old man winter. You’ve out-stayed your welcome. There’s a new weather deity in town and she brings flowers and warmer weather. Pack your bags and go wherever you are supposed to be.

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This is, I am convinced, the last snow. We will see no more of it until the seasons roll around again. It’s not that we haven’t seen snow later than this.

I remember a 28 inch blizzard on April 1st that was (no surprise) dubbed “The April Fool’s Blizzard.” It came, dumped more than two feet on Boston, then melted in a couple of days of 70 degree temperatures. I’m told there have been surprise snowstorms as late as mid May. But not this year.

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This is the last snow of this winter. I have decided.

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LAST BIRDS OF WINTER

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Slowly, the ice and snow is melting. Very slowly. Huge piles of frozen slush. The birds are still hanging around and we have had a bit of additional fluffy snow.

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Nothing serious, not enough to cover the ground that is finally exposed. The birds have been pecking away at the ground.

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I’m sure they are very happy to find some live food, some green. Even if it is just moss.

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WINTER 2015 – THE TIME CAPSULE

Time Capsule – What would you put in this year’s time capsule to channel the essence of our current moment for future generations?


It would have to be an electrified, refrigerated time capsule because aside from the technical problem involved in keeping stuff frozen indefinitely, there’s but one possible answer, at least if you live around here.

Snow. Ice. More snow. More ice.

For your shivery pleasure, here’s a summary of the past 6 weeks:

MARCH FIRST, SUNRISE

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It’s March. The month of spring, the end of winter. My birthday. This morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was sunrise. I wanted to go back to sleep. It was so early, but it was a pretty sunrise. Soon (I hope), there will be leaves on the trees. I won’t be able to see the sunrise until next winter.

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So I went to get my camera. But it’s not that simple. The dogs were waiting. I managed to get them out the door and grab my camera. I took pictures, then went back out to give the required biscuit. You cannot just make the babies go out into the cold and not reward them with something. How do you say “that’s so wrong” in dog?

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Now, as the light is fading, it’s snowing again. When I looked at the forecast last night, it said snow showers. Tops, an inch or two. Now the prediction calls for heavy snow, maybe five or six inches. Which, as these things go, isn’t much. The pile of snow on my deck is as high as my door. I can’t open my door. I haven’t been able to open it for weeks.

It isn’t supposed to snow again until Tuesday night. I’m relieved to hear that. Aren’t you?

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I took all the pictures with the Pentax Q7 … and without my eyeglasses. I forgot to put them on, probably for the first time in 50 years. Let’s hear it for auto-focus.