Weather, according to those in the know and who love publishing what they know, is the number one topic of conversation.
Snow, in Washington State, December 2008.
Having spent 18 years in Maui at the time I took this photo, snow had become a foreign concept in weather. Growing up in Arkansas I saw snow every winter, although there was rarely more than four inches at any one time and tended to melt quickly.
This particular snowstorm, pictured above, was in upper Washington state. The snow was already on the ground when our group arrived for the retreat, and the day we left it started up again. The trip out of the retreat center was quite a journey, and later this storm would delay my flight home and cause me to have to purchase another ticket at an exaggerated cost. The photo above was taken from the back seat of the car I was riding in down the mountain in the storm.
Weather is also the subject of a new story I am writing and reading to a group of fellow writing enthusiasts every Monday afternoon. It was while researching weather information that I ran across the book “Isaac’s Storm,” by Eric Larson. The book is about a real life happening, the hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 with such devastation, and has enlightened me on the history of hurricanes and floods. Many of these storms related in the book were devastating, as much as Katrina and tsunami that hit Japan or worse, due in large part to the lack of forecasting and thus evacuations that could have avoided the high death toll. What to do with this new found information except to use it as fodder for writing the story, I don’t know. I have long believed that the media has us wrapped around our viewing and listening apparatuses and love to pour bad news into our brains.
Every day I hear something about the weather: it is too cold, too hot, unseasonably warm, unseasonably hot, unusually dry, unusually wet. Talking heads do just that: talk. Forecasters do their best, some better than others. Doomsayers say we have done so much damage that soon the earth will turn on us. Whatever the outcome that is to be, one fact keeps proving true over and over: we love to talk about the weather! I take it all in with a grain of salt, or I should say with a grain of experience.
And I wish it would snow! Isn’t it an unusually warm January?