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Musing: What Weather When?
Enveloped in the dark of my bedroom, I dressed for the frigid morning. I donned a layer of long johns, enveloping my body like a straitjacket. Next came a pair of jeans, their snug fit tightened by the extra layers underneath. I then slipped on a thick pair of socks to protect my feet from the cold, followed by a fleece-lined shirt pulled over my head.
The final layer consisted of a weighty coat, zipped up tight to ward off the chill, and a wool cap, which we Southerners call a “toboggan” regardless of any confusion it may cause. Don’t argue. It is what it is.
Bundled against the elements, I stepped outside for my dog walk. A gust of wind whipped around the corner of the house, sending a shiver up my spine. I braced myself against the icy 18ºF temperature.
That day was Monday, March 20, the first day of spring, though it certainly felt like the middle of winter.
Fast-forward three days. Thursday afternoon.
I geared up for another stroll with my furry companions, but this time I opted to forego any thermal layers, coats, or woolen caps. Instead, I donned a pair of shorts, exposing pasty, white legs hidden for months from the sun. My t-shirt clung to my skin, the fabric damp with sweat.
Socks still clad my feet, though they served more as a preventative measure against blisters than to stave off any chill. The surrounding air was thick and heavy, every breath a challenge in the thick humidity.
The temperature surged past 80ºF.
Yes, both days happened last week—Monday and Thursday. Such is the nature of our fickle weather in this region.
While a three-day change of that magnitude might seem extreme, I remember a faster one.
A weekend morning dawned bright and sunny, a promise of a hot, summer day in the valleys. The day beckoned us to enjoy the great outdoors, so we loaded the dogs in the Jeep and aimed for some hiking trails at higher altitudes. The greater the elevation, the cooler the temperatures.
But that day went beyond our expectations. As we approached our destination, that bright sunshine slipped behind gathering clouds. Wisps of mist drifted across the road. The day darkened. Around another bend and up another hundred feet, we cut our way through a dense fog. We slowed to a crawl, straining to see the pavement in front of us.
The wind picked up, whipping the canvas top of the Jeep. A cold rain began to fall, a drizzle at first, but it became a steady downpour. By the time we pulled into the Mt Pisgah parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the temperatures had plummeted into the 40s.
Our plans were flexible, so we easily decided to hike somewhere else where the weather was more acceptable. We pulled into the visitor center parking lot for a quick bathroom break.
The store was mercifully warm. A chatty ranger was holding court, his stories entertaining. Besides, the driving rain and thick fog made driving difficult, so we opted to hang out for a bit.
The door squeaked open. A man and his son entered, shivering in their soaked clothing. Staying in the campground, they explained. Their tent was flooded. Their clothes, more appropriate for summer at the beach than the mountains, drenched.
The man was deciding whether to remain for the weekend or wave the white flag of retreat and pack up their soggy belongings. A motel room down in Asheville, if an available one could be found, would be much more comfortable.
What, he demanded to know, was the weather forecast?
Now his question was specific. The answer was factual. It was even pasted on the wall, dutifully printed out each morning and posted for campers to see. The official prognostication was sunny and warm with scattered clouds, a gentle breeze, and a slight chance of showers.
He stood in shock, the dripping water puddling around his shoes. The rain thrummed against the roof of the building. The wind gusted through the screen covering the door, driving a chill deep into the building. The fog slipped its tentacles around the overhead lights.
I left him there, shivering with his son, so I don’t know if he stayed for another night or packed up and went down the mountain. I’d venture a guess, though.
So last week’s weather didn’t surprise me. We accepted it and kept going.
As for this week’s forecast? We can predict with 100% certainty that we will have weather. What kind is a wee bit more questionable.
Gratuitous Dog Photo: Landon / Boom Boom
The bright blue eyes, the happy smile, and the bushy tail signify the ever-happy Landon, also known as Boom Boom because he bounces from place to place like a furry kangaroo.
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Books Read: The Boys From Biloxi
Two best friends, both boys from Biloxi, follow their course in life on opposite sides of the law until they collide in a life and death battle. See my synopsis of John Grisham’s book.
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Until Next Monday
May your weather be comfortable and kind, no matter how much it changes.
See you next Monday.
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