Jump to content, Jump to navigation.

Amber Paulen

The Weather

When my youngest brother was young one of his greatest passions and past-times was the weather. Though we didn’t have cable TV he knew about the Weather Channel and its non-stop meteorological banter. In hotel rooms he would demand this station and only after an argument could the rest of us see what else was on. At home he watched weather videos of tornadoes tearing across the plains states and the end-of-summer fields out the big windows when the storm clouds hugged the horizon.

I thought he would study meteorology, but he took up agriculture, which isn’t far off. Unlike most modern people working in an office with windows or without, he and my dad and grandpa and uncle are out working among the elements. They get pelted by rain, stung by wind-chill and toasted sweaty in Michigan’s humidity. No wonder weather was a big deal growing up. Not only was everyone submitted to its unpredictability but so were the plants, the cows, the livelihood.

There is a false assumption that talk about weather is boring. False, because weather —though so many are tucked into sterile offices—affects us. At this time of year I write about the weather for it’s when its harsh personality reasserts itself, bringing up presentiments of death and mortality. But this autumn has been inexplicably warm and lovely, hot, even for central Italy. Only last Friday I gave up wearing shorts and there have only been a few nights when we’ve closed the windows. A few weekends ago people were swimming, the Mediterranean is probably still like bath water.

And there’s a part of me missing the leaves crunching over there across the Atlantic, the smell of decay and fires being lit for the first time. The warmth of a sweater, the cool of the wind, the greyness of winter preparations.

And the most watched of variable things
Is weather which is mostly unforeseeable,
A flow of moods and swings
That parades its perfect days, then flaunts its flaws,
Lurching from mild to disagreeable
In sync with unruly laws
Joseph Harrison, from Variation on a Theme by the Weather


·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·