It’s been “wintry” of late, but today is the first day that looks, smells and feels seriously of winter, in spite of the no-show snow. I can sense it coming and not, like the fog, on “little cat feet” but blustering and roiling in like a big scary bear. There is a certain trepidation associated with the season’s approach. It is a subject that has been speculated, defended, and worried to a fault. But it is coming soon and then we-will-see. The jury has definitely been “out” on how a couple of Californians will handle the season. T.M. has no doubts. I, however, will hold judgment.
Paul, the twin cities weatherman, tells us it is way overdue and likely, therefore, to be a BIG ONE. It’s a bit like waiting for the curtain to go up on your high school play and your mind is blank and you feel a bit of a panic. And I so want to hit my marks and deliver my lines and come to the final curtain with huzzahs and bravos.
But the longer the prelude, the more time for my imagination to run amok. And without the first and actual monumental blast of arctic introduction which sends us rushing for the head wraps and cornering the market on driveway salt, the more the imagination reels and conjures trouble ahead. It will be a relief when the first awesome front takes us down a peg or two. Then we can know our opponent and look him in the face and be counted.
I’ve said repeatedly of late that Mt. Faith feels like home now. And yet, there’s a teensy vestige of doubt that seeps in whenever I consider just how far we’ve come. Minnesota, after all, is far, far away, somewhere arctic and exotic in the distant northern climes! Or so I grew up thinking. I might as well be trekking the Kalahari Desert or drifting down the Ganges or circling the man in the moon. It seemed that distant in space and time for most of my lifetime.
My own home in California was never snowy and frigid, although the Golden State is so immense that it has it’s own winter trials here and there – Tahoe and Sequoia and Yosemite, to name a fun few. It of course, was the height of amusement and sport, as I was growing up, to trek up to the San Bernardino Mountains, to Arrowhead or Big Bear, to have a day of sledding and snowballs and impersonate an Eskimo. Or a Minnesotan. And after playing all day in the wondrous white novelty of it all, we would lap up hot chocolate with marshmallows and soon return to our palm trees and the beach.
So, no, my experience with water vapor which freezes in the upper air and falls to earth as crystalline flakes and ices the roads to a deathly gloss and heaps and clogs walkways and windows and chills down to the very bone – is minimal to nonexistent.
We did not grow up with that kind of winter. And, too, we didn’t have tornados in the summer. Or stunning humidity. Or thunderstorms that presage the very wrath of God. It seems that Minnesota revels in atmospheric excitement.
California – not so much. Earthquakes are California’s peculiar scourge of nature and while they’re thankfully few and far between, there isn’t a Paul the Weatherman to shout out a warning to duck and cover. The first in my memory struck late in the night, jolting my bed and banging the closet door open and shut with a fury I had never known in all the young years of my life. The Tehachapi, we ever after called it, for that was it’s point of origin – in the mountains between Bakersfield and the Mohave Desert – but it shook all the way to Long Beach and beyond. The community was still reeling from the formidable Long Beach shaker of 1933 when all the schools in the city were destroyed to rubble and old-timers still dined out on their tales of horror and depredation. Then there was Ferndale in Northern California where we had three all around 7.0 in 24 hours and all the contents of our house crashed and smashed upon the floor and I slept in the car and Fema came in to feed us at the fairgrounds. Not to mention lesser rumblings here and there and in between.
But I digress and didn’t intend to brag about my own trials with the gods of nature, for my goal today is to tackle the garage which has been, up until now, the staging area and remodeling equipment zone. Second, we must properly outfit the car which will subsequently be parked within, with a “heater plug” (thank you Sue) and (according to Maryanne) have it winterized which has something to do with heavier oil? Thank goodness for friends and relatives.
In the meantime, I keep watching the skies.