Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Weather

We've had a real thaw around here in the past week. A string of days above freezing--most pushing 40, a couple pushing 50--have almost finished off the snow. The trend is to continue for the foreseeable future.

I remind myself of my Grandma Albright, long gone now. She was a letter writer, and every single letter began with a weather report. We used to chuckle about that. But that's what I remember now, and I remember it with fondness. She and my Grandpa, also long gone, were farmers in Iowa, and the weather was their life. When I think of them now, and that old farmhouse that I knew so well from childhood trips, I like to think of what the weather was like on those days they would head into town, or over to church; whether Grandma had to wear a sweater and scarf because there had been an early frost that September, or whether the fields and roadside ditches were dry and brown because of an August drought, or whether she couldn't get out for her club meeting because of a three day blizzard in early March, or how the roads must have shone the morning after an overnight July thunderstorm that left everything so fresh and cool.

The truth is, weather is our life, too. The case could be made that those of us who are outdoor types are more attuned to weather than inside types. That's true for farmers, but it's also true for fishermen, especially now as we watch for signs that winter has turned and the halcyon days of warm-weather fishing are approaching the far horizon, and will soon come into sight.

A friend of mine, an organic truck farmer, confessed the other day that he feels in his bones that we are "on the backside of winter." That means he's feeling restless these days. A whole season of green, growing things is stirring now in his soul. It's time to get his hands in the dirt again. I'll bet he's been setting things out in his little seedhouse already.

That's a wonderful place to visit on a chilly early Spring day. It's crowded with trays of tiny green seedlings of a wide variety of flowers and vegetables, and you can almost hear them breathing their little plant breaths in the warm, humid atmosphere. When it's still cold and brown outside, those little green lives are living evidence that the earth will be reborn. You breathe in their fragrance and Spring takes root in the very heart of you.

I'm ready for Spring. And yes, it's about the fishing, but it's mostly about the weather. I enjoyed the winter weather; but it's time for a change. I've missed the varieties of weather that come only when the atmosphere heats up.

If you believe that we go to a better place after this life, I think my Grandma and Grandpa are there. Mark Twain famously said that the choice between Heaven and Hell depended on whether you wanted to go for the weather or the company. His comment reflects the assumption of his day, and probably ours, that in heaven the weather is infinitely perfect for eternity. In other words, bland. Well, I hope that wherever my Grandma is there is real weather, in all it's amazing, changeable variety. That would make her very happy.


  1. Great post!

  2. Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked it. Great name!

  3. Thanks, the western slope of Colorado is a great place to live and fish. Your post reminded me of a book by John Nichols, "The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn" If your life revolves around the seasons its a great read.