11 January 2009

I'm blue.

There are honeybees looping around the yuletide camellia blooms outside my kitchen window. The dog is exploding little cream-colored tufts of wispy under-fur, the prelude to his annual spring/summer Shed-Like-a-Musk-Ox Phase. Up on the street, small children are screaming and laughing as they run and play in the bright, sparkling-clear sunshine.

The fire in the woodstove, which had gone out overnight and which I re-lighted, shivering, with some considerable, sleepy, cussing effort at six this morning, is finally blowing cozy, heated air into the living room, but now I want it to stop. I peeled my fleece jacket and socks off an hour ago. Now I’m considering changing my sweatpants for shorts and just doing away with my T-shirt altogether, because when I look at the outdoor thermometer I discover, with sputtering disbelief, that it’s 64 balmy degrees out there. It’s only 10 a.m. I turn the woodstove fan off and slide the windows open.

It would be a pretty spring day if the trees weren’t bare. Some of them still have a few, tenacious dead leaves. Those tiny, swelling nubbins that will be fresh green leaves a few months from now are barely starting. It’s not spring yet. It’s winter, and early winter at that. Solstice isn’t even a month behind us and dusk still comes before five.

On my Yahoo home page, the Weather Channel has added an asterisk to the name of my town, meaning that the National Weather Service has posted a Severe Weather Alert.

Hah, I think. Boy, have they screwwwed up this time. What’s it gonna be? There’s not a frickin’ cloud in the sky. Rain on the way? Sleet? Snow? Wind? Oooh! Blizzard conditions! White out! Should I stock up on cocoa and soup bones, root vegetables and dried apples? In the hedgerow that borders the patio, a wee wren hops, quick-quick, hunting for tasty bugs to gobble up. A helicopter whaps by, high overhead, out of sight. I wonder, instantly, where the wildfire is. The only reason helicopters fly around here is to fight wildfires. Jeez, it is close? No, wait. It’s not late spring. It’s not summer. It’s not even dry, baked-out fall. I suppose a wildfire is possible, but it sure as hell isn’t probable. Not in January, even here. They’re probably out for a Sunday fly-around with the windows open.

I click on the red caps spelling out SEVERE WEATHER ALERT, rolling my eyes, wondering how the NWS could possibly think there’s dangerous weather imminent in this relentlessly sunny, chirpy, blue-skied little corner of the world.

And then I start laughing. The Severe Weather Alert is warning me that a gigantic high pressure area has planted itself over California, effectively diverting all that lovely rain that’s falling in the Pacific Northwest around us and then on eastward. Down in the valley, it says, it will be a little cooler than up here on the West Slope of the Sierra due to an inversion layer that’s formed, pushing the warm air up the mountain. Forecasts for the next week are for sunshine and temps in the mid-to-high 60s.

This counts as Severe Weather to the NWS? What wusses they are! I guess if I really tried I could get a sunburn, or perhaps if I decided to take a 15-mile hike without bringing water, I could suffer a heat-stroke, but it’s more likely I’d just wear a blister on my big toe. Hell. I’m sorry, NWS. This is not Severe Weather. This is strange weather. Twilight Zone weather. Why-Did-I-Buy-Three-Cords-of-Firewood Weather.

I suggest you try a new category for your Weather Alerts as a nod to global warming. How about “Alarmingly Mild Weather Alert”? Or maybe, “Freakishly Unseasonal Weather Alert”? Don't worry. If the daytime temps drop below 80 or it starts snowing in July you can still use them.

I know. I’m getting bitchy now. But I miss winter. I feel gyped. We hardly had any winter, and it only just got here! I know, I should be grateful for what did come. We actually had a white Christmas. It really did get bitterly cold for a while. The streets were icy. Going outside required first uploading a hat, gloves, a heavy coat and boots with a good tread on the soles. If the fire in the woodstove went out, it got really cold in the house and when I looked at the woodpile, so neatly stacked against the harshness of winter, I felt pleased. Secure.

Now I just feel duped.

And yes, it’s possible that it will get cold and wintery again in February. It has the last two years, anyway, so I have a little hope to hold onto. Both years, winter lasted about two-and-a-half weeks, and both years the winter weather was replaced before February ended by day after endless day of mild, coolish nothing. Rarely any clouds, and no rain if it did happen to cloud over. The temps went from frigid to … today. Mid-60s. And then it got warmer, and warmer, and then it was May and it was just plain hot. Still no rain, and no hope for any. We had wildfires instead. The high temps finally started cooling down in mid-November, stayed coolish but mostly sunny through December and even well into January.

And now? Has winter really already come and gone? This is making me seriously blue, folks. I cannot articulate how freaking tired I am of mild, sunny weather.

Oh. Maybe I just did.

6 comments:

Kevin Wolf said...

You should be here, in Salem, Mass. Oh, boy, would you lose those blues!

Bubs said...

I'll happily give you some of ours. We're getting more of it tonight, followed by a few days of sub-zero temperatures. Have at.

Wren said...

I know, guys. I sound like a spoiled brat. Who wouldn't want year-round sunshine? I must be crazy. Yet... imagine if all you ever saw was wind, rain and snow, interrupted about once a year by two weeks of sunshine and mild temperatures. Wouldn't you get a little tired of it, too? And yeah, the example only barely works, since sunshine is so much more pleasant than snow and sleet. But we're creatures of variety, and having lived in places where there were actual seasons, I miss them now, intensely.

robin andrea said...

It's like that here on the coast, wren. Cloudless blue skies and temps in the low 70s. It would be beautiful if it didn't mean one more year where we might not get anywhere near our average rainfall. Water rationing looms, but it sure is pretty outside. We need rain, you need snow. I'm still hoping.

Sketch said...

I know exactly ho you're feeling right now, Mom. I've been pretty weirded out by the strange, summer-except-for-the-chill-in-the-air weather. Hell, if I'm outside for more than five minutes, I still get hot, despite the surface of my skin being cold. Aggravating! Outrageous!

I feel out of place, like I'm walking through an alien world.

It's bad enough that summer lasts three-and-a-half seasons out of four here, anyhow, but damnit if we don't get more than the week-and-a-half-ish of winter this time, I'm seriously moving.

This just isn't natural. I've been edgy for weeks waiting for something to happen.

Alas, blue skies as far as the eye can see.


P.S. We must lunch sometime soon. BIG changes at work. Stoooopid changes at work. Sigh.

Wil Robinson said...

It was only 88 yesterday and got down to 74 last night here in Mumbai...people are wearing coats and scarves in the morning, and midnight watchmen are building fires to keep warm.

They keep telling me it's cold...