Once upon a time, according to the legends of the northeastern natives of the continent of North America, a great battle was joined between the region’s primary weather deities. Burning Orb — Lord of Brightness — and Mudgaard — Lord of Grey and Damp — joined battle in the fifth month of the strange year. The battle was fierce and in the end, Mudgaard was triumphant.
Upon gaining ascendancy, Mudgaard brought in clouds from the north, south, east and west. The skies opened and water poured forth.
Although the region frequently usually had prolonged spells of rainy weather, the precipitation had typically been intermittent, grey and drizzly. Rarely would rainfall be intense and prolonged. Rarer still, torrential. That year was different. Soaking rains were followed by heavy downpours. There was little wind, just endless rain.
The ground became oozing mud. For many long weeks, Burning Orb was unable to bring his power of Shining Sun to bear on the water-logged earth.
By the end of the sixth month of the year, Burning Orb had made but a single brief appearance. Mold grew on every surface. Oak sills rotted. Fabric disintegrated. Hammocks decayed on their stands.
The birds ceased singing and went glumly about their business. Flowers budded, attempted – in a half-hearted way – to flower, then dropped their partly opened blossoms on the sodden earth.
Humans became dispirited, then whiny, and finally, outright cranky. Everything inside and outside was damp.
Although the proverbial cats and dogs did not fall from leaden skies, they might just as well have since the earthbound feline and canine population eventually fell into the same depressed state as their humans.
When the Day of Fireworks, known locally as Independence Day, dawned bright and clear, humans marveled at the sight.
“LOOK!” they cried, pounding each other on the back with joy and exuberance. “IT’S BURNING ORB! Mudgaard has been defeated.”
When a mere 3 days later the grey clouds and thunder came back and the rains began again, a glum grumpiness consumed the population. New Englanders, who’d thought themselves inured to abuse by weather gods, fell silent. There was nothing to say. The joke was on them.
“It is going to be a grim summer,” they mumbled and went about their joyless days, dreaming of long ago summers when they could complain about too much sun and heat. They did, however, leave themselves a free pass to begin complaining as soon as conditions allowed.