Category Archives: Weather

WHAT’S UP WITH HER?

APRIL 17, 2018

THE MOODS OF MOTHER NATURE

One day last week…

I open my eyes to a lightening sky, grey melting into translucent blue — faint streaks of pink deepening into rose; setting the sky on fire. The ball of the Sun, orange and shimmering shyly peeks over the hill. The rosey clouds turn yellow then white as the Sun gathers all the color back to himself, now a flaming golden sphere slipping through the trees, breaking free, leaping high above the rooftops. Piles of charcoal grey clouds come racing across the ocean of sky, sails full. Soon a ceiling of slate has slidden into place, closing off all view of yellow Sun and blue ocean sky. The light of the Sun filters through — a cold drizzle of grey the color of water.

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Three days ago — April 14, 2018…

I wake up in the dark of dawn — the windows and doors are rattling, a great howling swirling about the eaves. After breakfast we decide to drive down to the Lake. It is difficult to open the back door as the wind presses hard against it. Running for the car, my mug of tea is nearly snatched from my fingers.
Arriving at the pier, we stand stunned watching Mother Nature roar and rage. FuryShe comes twisting down the Lake, pushing 12 foot waves over the pier walls, beating against the lighthouse, the bridge, and flinging herself as far out upon the land as she can reach, seal coating everything in ice: people, lamp posts, benches, birds, bushes and branches of trees. The parking lots are filling up with water. I stand silent, leaning into her, witness to her grief. My coat is crunchy with ice. My mittens stiff.

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Today — April 16, 2018

I drove past the Lake this afternoon. She is flat and brown, the color of rage spent.  She quietly kisses the shoreline.  The Sun is breaking up the clouds, shining through.

 

* Photo of Duluth Lighthouse on the shipping canal taken by David Jensen on 4-14-2018. Used with permission.

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SPRING SONG

SPRING SONG

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March 20, 2016

I saw two robins in the slush during our Winter’s final tantrum the other day. They were fighting over what looked to be a worm. It had been raining hard in our part of the city, while snow buried everyone up over the bluffs. Our basement was leaking, proof that the ground was saturated and the earth soft–we knew this because it was easy to pound the metal stakes into the ground to put the deer fence back up around our garden. The tulips were pushing up above the earth–a beloved delicacy for the pregnant does who wander out of the snowy woods into the neighborhood where the snow has retreated, looking for the special treats they crave. So, it might truly have been a winter fattened worm escaping a flooded den. Do worms hibernate in dens? Where do they go when the ground freezes up? The scrawny robin won.

When my children were young, we went for our first ice-cream cone after we saw our first robins in Spring. It was a tradition. But I’ve become lactose intolerant. I bought some fresh strawberries instead that afternoon while it rained, and the school children were at home having a “snow day”.

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This morning the sun came up blazing rose-gold, announcing the first day of Spring. It is streaming in through winter streaked windows, inviting us to fetch our overshoes and go for a muddy trek in the hills. I am making fresh ground-buckwheat pancakes. David is frying bacon. There is a pitcher full of Green Smoothie on the counter filled with pears and pineapple, grapefruit and greens, ginger and celery and cucumber and avocado–we’re getting IMG_3258fortified for our Sunday migration into the bluffs. There are a flock of Redpolls taking turns having breakfast at the feeder outside the kitchen window; getting fattened up for their migration to their summer home in the Arctic–true northerners after my own heart!

I’m going to buy some daffodils from the Market today. It’s a tradition. A vase of Sunshine on my table. Last week we found some pussy-willows just beginning to consider opening up. This week they will be ready. Maybe we’ll find some today as we slog through the mud and navigate the swollen streams in the hills that climb up to the bluffs. From up there we can see our neighborhood laid out like a toy town. Beyond lies the harbor, the bridges, the Lake. We can see all the way to Wisconsin.  We’ll gather some pussy-willows, and fill up our house with Spring. Tonight we’ll go grill steaks at my daughter’s.

Tomorrow we’ll clean out the closets and put away the parkas and the skis.

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LIKE A MATCH STRUCK

November 20, 2015

MORNING SONG

The Earth spins, and we turn from the stars and the deep dark of space into the grey light of dawn. I watch it come, slowly, melting the dark. There is pink now, streaks of watercolor across the dove grey sky. The songbirds are waking up. And then the sun scrapes the edge of the world and ignites the whole sky–a raging flame of orange and rose, shot through with bits of blue and violet. A flock of geese wing their way above the city, dark silhouettes against the flames. Like a match struck in a darkened room, the light flares, and then settles to its task. The flames fade as the Sun leaps over the horizon. The dove grey of dawn slowly becomes a thin, watery blue, darkening and deepening as the Sun climbs into the trees, and then sails over the rooftops of the neighborhood.

It is the fifth day of rain. Piles of storm clouds have sealed off my corner of the world. I sit at my window with my cup of tea, watching the world turn into another twilit day. But I remember; I remember when the sun scraped the edge of the world and the sky burst into flame.

 

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WINTER COMETH

November 11, 2014

WINTER COMETH IN THE MORNING…

Snow. Storm. The Winter King has arrived halfway between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice.  Of course, here in the Northland, he’s pretty much expected anytime once the cutouts of jack o’ lanterns come down and the pictures of Pilgrims and turkeys go up.

My husband, David, took a photo yesterday while shoveling and posted: “Winter, embrace it or move!” He took photos and brought in wood for the fireplace. I made gingersnaps, soup and bread. Today we went skiing.  IMG_2817

FaceBook was full of postings today about the weather and the snow–love it, hate it, celebrating it, forgive it. There were pics of cozy fires burning in wood-stoves, people baking cookies and gathering to watch movies.

Of course, there were also the sad reports from those who crunched their cars skidding down hills, hit the ditch spinning out on icy highways, nursing strained muscles from shoveling. Then there were the disappointed folks who missed classes and meetings and dates.  Shops whose sales were bleak and empty tables at the restaurants.

My nephew, Nathan, was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Growing up he visited relatives in Minnesota every summer, but only a few times did he come in winter. The first time he was six years old. His four year old sister thought all the trees had died. Down at the park that they played at in the summer Nathan was awestruck by the fact that the water in the river was hard and we could walk on it. “Where did all the turtles go, and the frogs?” he wanted to know.

Fast forward a dozen years. He and I are driving down the steep hillside of Duluth, snow piled up on the boulevards. “You know,” he said, “one of the things that is so weird about you guys here is that you’re always talking about the weather. Everyday. Constantly. Everyone comments what it feels like, good or bad, or what it’s going to be like tomorrow. You even have channels on TV just for weather!”

“You don’t discuss weather in Bogota?”

“No. Never.”

“But you have weather reports on your news programs, right?”

“Nope. Nothing. I never heard people talk about weather until I came here.”

“Huh. Wow. Is the weather so boring in Colombia?”

“Pretty much. It’s always the same. We have rainy season and dry season. Temperatures vary a little. But not too much changes.”

Of course, Bogota is also full of flowers. Everyday. All year. Looking out my window this morning the neighborhood is frosted with white. Not a sprinkle of lacy powder, but the eight inch thick stuff, piled, drifting, blowing. Two days ago there were swaths of gold and burgundy mums in my garden. Shrubs still sported red and yellow leaves mixed with the fading green. The mountain ashes held their scarlet berries up against a brilliant blue sky. The birch had shed their golden leaves into piles on the still green grasses, their white barked limbs glowing in the sunlight. Some apple trees up the road where I went walking, though naked of leaves still held golden apples. I ate one; still sweet and crisp. It was the last of Autumn, the colors bravely holding their own as the season slowly faded.

Two days later it’s a black and white world. The only natural color: some red berries, russet leaves clinging hard to a few trees, the green of pine needles the blue sky.

Yep, we Northerners talk about the weather. No two dFirst Skiays quite the same, interesting and full of surprises. Up here Nature is constantly busy parading the cycle of life through our midst, keeping us on our toes, flexible and changing. To be truthful, most of us wouldn’t have it any other way!