Archives For Weather

British Weather

November 13, 2014 — 12 Comments

euro weatherWinter arrived early. The current “arctic outbreak” has brought subzero temperatures to Canada and the United States. It proves once again that the demarcation of seasons is capricious.

“Meteorological winter” reckoning makes much more sense than relying on a solstice, which actually occurs in the midst of the season.

Prior to the arrival of this polar cold front, the shortening of the days had been the only sign of winter’s approach where we live. Our summer in Puget Sound was wonderful, and lasted long into the fall.

Although the United States Air Force preferred to assign me to hot climates, I’m really a temperate (climate) person. I enjoy seeing four separate seasons, and seek the unique joys that arrive with each of them.

I don’t enjoy any of them in excess. The record-setting snowfalls we survived during several years in Minnesota were a bit much. The relentless heat of the Mojave Desert was even worse.

We did enjoy the weather of England, when we spent three wonderful years there. I guess it takes a true Washingtonian to say they genuinely enjoyed the weather in Britain—but we did.

C.S. Lewis recognized the perceived shortcomings of England’s weather. In the eyes of many, of course, the rain that keeps everything lush and green is considered a dreary imposition on their activities. In 1950 he wrote the following to one of his American correspondents.

Here we are enjoying the dubious delights of early English spring, and I often wonder what visiting Americans make of it: for they are already arriving in surprisingly large numbers considering the time of year. I can only suppose that they all come from Northern Alaska, and find our climate a nice change! If you have any friends who think of coming over, tell them that the English summer generally falls in the third week in June.

This delightful paragraph brings to mind the apocryphal Mark Twain comment that, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

The great thing about the pseudo-Twain quote is its versatility. It is easily edited for any locale.

One last thought about winter. We Northern Hemisphereans reveal our hemisphere-centric prejudices when we fail to realize that these colder months don’t represent winter to half of the globe.

And I suspect the folks who live on that side of the world are not subject to “Antarctic outbreaks” of polar cold, due to the oceans . . . but that’s a question to research on another day.

Savoring the Weather

January 18, 2012 — 3 Comments

We awoke this morning to our first true snowfall of the year. Pretty late in winter for it to arrive, and we’ve been longing for a blanket of snow for some time. Getting a call last night about a “weather cancellation” for my wife’s classes was an added joy.

It’s utterly beautiful!

I realize, of course, there are numerous ramifications to changes in weather. The extremes (e.g. from downpours to droughts) can create hardships and hazards. But, when we have an opportunity to simply pause and savor the essence of the changing seasons, it is healing and awe-inspiring.

C.S. Lewis loved the outdoors. And, in a 1931 letter to Arthur Greeves he wrote, “That is a thing you and I have to be thankful for—the fact that we not only don’t dislike but positively enjoy almost every kind of weather.”

If you have a copy of his letters, you really should look up the December 6th correspondence. Lewis describes the wonders of several successive days of dense fog that “was enough to tax even my powers of doing without the sun . . .” He adds, “in the end I felt that it was a cheap price to pay for its beauties.”

So, today I’m doubly blessed. Not only am I enjoying the snow; I’ve learned I have one more thing in common with the great Oxford Don.