Category Archives: Weather

Rumble, Grumble, Mumble, Tumble, Jumble, Swumble, Crumble

Today’s post comes from Clyde of Mankato

A thunderstorm comes through rumbling and grumbling, trailing a fug of humidity.

Thunderstorms come through rumbling and grumbling. One after another. Humidity blankets us. The weather pattern of August, 2016. Except for that one loud clap, hitting the tall trees outside our apartment no doubt, which knocked a picture off a wall, we like thunderstorms, although enough is now enough. Rain falling off the roof outside our windows makes white noise for sleeping. Humidity we hate. We wilt.

My son and his then wife moved an adopted street dog from San Diego, land of very few thunderstorms, to Seattle, land of, well, need I explain? Oh, how that dog went wild over thunder! Rain confused him. He is safely back in San Diego. Our son loves the Seattle weather and his wife fell in love with it as well. Not the poor dog.


Three years ago the weather pattern day after day was brilliant sunsets. Often with lightening in them. Not one good sunset this year, that I have noticed.

Assuming you have the wherewithal to live in two places, what two places in what part of the year would you choose for the weather?

Sam McGee, Weather Denier

Header Photo “Snowman on frozen lake” by Petritap – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Of course there are noisy climate change deniers who refuse to accept scientific research because it conflicts with their closely held political beliefs.

That’s almost understandable.

But what I can’t comprehend is the much more commonplace lunacy of daily weather denial.

A good winter storm reveals it, especially in more tightly packed urban locations. Some people downtown believe they don’t have to put on anything special to be outside because they’re only going to be exposed for a short time.

And besides, heavy clothes worn in layers just don’t look that nice. But I think inadequately dressed office workers look silly shivering as they wait to cross the street.

When I mentioned this pet peeve of mine to Trail Baboon’s sing-song poet laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler, he said he also has a certain peeve that pesters him – presumptuous people who rip off the work of other poets merely to get a laugh.

And right after saying that, he presented me with his latest opus, which included an insincere note of apology to Robert W. Service and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

There are fashions worn in a winter storm
that would otherwise seem gauche.
Everybody knows layering your clothes
is a common sense approach.
Even dilletantes in fine restaurants
will adjust to a degree.
For a little while they’ll abandon style
if their name’s not Sam McGee.

All Sam’s garb was sheer and he wouldn’t hear
of a parka or a fleece.
If a shirt or gown had an ounce of down
his frustration would increase.
“It feels very wrong and takes far too long
to suit up for cold or sleet.”
“And besides,” he’d wink, “there’s no risk, I think.”
“I’m just gonna cross the street.”

Right across the way sat a mad buffet
called “The Sacrificial Goat.”
It was hip and loud and it drew a crowd
that opposed the winter coat.
They disdained its buik and they’d tend to sulk
if harsh weather was foretold.
Putting on their things, they’d assume it’s Spring.
‘Cause it’s cool to not seem cold.

So off Sam would skirt in a polo shirt
with Bermuda shorts below
Into two degrees with his naked knees
and flip-flops, to face the snow.
“Winter air feels fresh on my naked flesh!”
he declared. “It’s strength of will.”
“And what’s more,” he spat, “I don’t need a hat,”
as he stepped into the chill.

Quite against Sam’s plan the snowflakes began
to collect between his toes.
And those flopping flips, ‘midst their many slips
became rigid when they froze.
Trying to be brave, Sam’s blue eyes turned grave.
As streetward, on he pressed.
At the crosswalk light, his mouth thin and tight
He tried not to seem distressed.

In the urban grind one will often find
that delay is the routine.
And slow went the time at that corner sign
with Sam blocked by traffic’s stream.
Then a passing truck’s plume of slushy muck
sealed the frosty fate Sam faced.
For his flops got iced and nothing sufficed
to dislodge a man encased.

With each frigid blast nature built a cast
that enveloped Sam, complete.
It was clear and slick and six inches thick
from his head down to his feet.
Looking through the shell one could clearly tell
that his face showed some regret.
A wardrobe reform could have kept him warm.
but he’s not been thawed out yet.

In December’s pale, teachers tell the tale
of the legend Sam became
Heading off to play on a chilly day
All the children learn his name.
Don’t go out of doors with just summer drawers
against winter’s nasty breeze.
you could be marooned in a white cocoon
like the ice man, Sam Mcgee.

Are you (or have you ever been) a weather denier?


Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale
(Written 9/28/15, in the hills of Berkeley, CA)

When I first looked out here, I could see only the house across the street. Now I can see some rooftops, but beyond that is Fog, just a blur as the houses across the street seem to drop away down the hill.  I am house-sitting in the Berkeley hills for a friend of my sister while I visit Sue in the East Bay near San Francisco. It’s a chilly morning so I’m seated with a cup of tea, inside the sliding glass door. I hear crows and traffic, so I know there is life beyond what I can see. I hope I can find my camera.

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Ah, now I can make out several large pine trees farther down the hill. I know that behind them are more houses and more trees, then smaller and smaller houses as the hills level off to the “Berkeley flats”, the franchise strips like San Pablo Ave, the freeways, and finally the Berkeley Marina and San Francisco Bay. Last night it seemed that millions of lights dotted this view – this morning, Fog.

I try and remember the Carl Sandburg poem we memorized in 8th grade:

“The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.”

My memory takes me back to another time: In the early 1970s I spent two years living in El Granada, a tiny coastal community 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1. I’d already spent two years in S.F., so I knew a bit about Fog. When I (and my dad) bought my VW, I made sure it was the new bright yellow that would show up in the Fog. Living on that coast, I would wake up many mornings to the foghorn – that low, haunting vibration that makes you want to burrow back under the covers. But the Fog would usually “burn off” by noon, often revealing a crisp sunny day.

When I moved back to the Midwest, I seldom encountered Fog. When I did it was usually an anxious time, me creeping along in the car because I couldn’t see what was ahead of me. I realized I missed the kind of Fog that comes in morning, then bows out and lets the sun through – missed the foghorn.

I suppose we could move to Duluth.

When have you had an encounter with Fog?


Upbeat Up North

Today’s guest post comes from Clyde of Mankato.

For our second of two anniversary parties—two is excessive, I know, but you have to go where the crowds are—we drove up to Two Harbors, which proved to be a mostly foggy weekend on The Lake. Strangers we encountered, such as store clerks, made comment or even apologized about the weather. Not one friend said a word. Locals know and accept the beauty of The Lake in all her clothing.

Sandy and I like Superior in her dark and diaphanous gowns. We were in a fine mood ourselves from the party, which the weather only enhanced.

Do you take your mood from the weather?

The Minnesota 10

Today’s guest post comes from tim

35 years ago a guitar teacher told me we only get 10 perfect per year in minnesota and they are all in april and may before it gets hot and buggy.

i observed that he was correct and have been keeping track ever since. 10 is about right with the exception of a summer 3 years or so ago when we had 100 perfect days. no rain so no bugs or humidity made for the nicest summer ever but the drought was another issue.

i have discovered along the way that when you are thinking about the really hot or the really cold days here in our weather driven world that there are a max of 10 hot days and 10 cold days per year too.

it helps put it all in perspective

what do you hate? tolerate? and appreciate?

O Crispiness!

Header photo by Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada

I like my potatoes crispy whether they are french fries, hash browns or chips.

But when they’re in the ground in places like California and Colorado, I’d like them to get a little water. That could become harder in the years ahead, especially since NASA researchers now say a “megadrought” may be ahead in the western and central plains states.

This is all connected to climate change and our unfortunate habits of consumption, which we (including me) can’t seem to shake.

Somehow it has me thinking about the poem Katherine Lee Bates wrote in the summer of 1893 after drawing inspiration from the view atop Pikes Peak in Colorado – one of the areas destined to suffer under the coming Great Dehumidification.

We know her words today as the lyrics to “America the Beautiful,” though by 2050 it might make more sense to change it up a bit.

O beautiful for cloudless skies,
for parched and scorching sands,
for burning mountain tragedies
for cracked and blistering hands!
America! America!
There’s no place dry as thee!
We’ve earned a good Sahara-hood
From L.A. to D.C.

The land at first was green and lush
Indians, thanks a lot!
But after shove had come to push
It started getting hot.
America! America!
We filled the air with gas.
And made the rate exacerbate.
De-moisturized! Alas!

O Mega-drought! The experts say
if we eschew our cars,
we might, calamity delay.
But that’s not who we are!
America! America!
We’d rather face the thirst,
than pay the toll through self-control
so prepare for the worst!

What’s your favorite anthem?

Complicated Relationship

Yesterday was the day of the annual Winter Solstice.  From now on the days slowly lengthen – until they begin to shrink again.  This on-again, off-again type of relationship has led to many angry/needy notes like the one I’ve just written to The Sun.  


So I get this feeling that things are warming up again between us.

Am I wrong? I don’t think so. You’re coming back, aren’t you?

Well don’t.

And don’t say you haven’t changed. Change is all I get from you. Last summer … well let’s just say June 15 was pretty special. Not going to forget that soon.

But I can’t count on you. Just weeks before that I felt so frozen and hurt.   You could have warmed me then but where were you? Behind a cloud all day? What does that even mean?   In what kind of relationship do you get to do that and it’s OK?

And it’s like this every year. You get closer and the intensity is overwhelming.  Then you fade. It’s like I hardly see you. And then it seems like you’re hanging around a few more minutes each day until you’re always here and I can’t get any sleep because there is So Much You.

And as soon as I start basking in that, I can sense you turning away.

This is getting old. Like billions of years old.   Make up your mind – do you want to be close or distant?

And don’t say I’m the one who’s all tilted and elliptical and orbity.   That’s a cop-out. I know for a fact that you wobble. And I don’t think it’s me that makes you do it.

I turn to you every day and some days you are just not available. But still I turn to you again the next day and the next so tell me who’s steady and reliable.

When it comes to temperament, only one of us has spots. Only one of us has flares. And only one of us can give the other one a stroke.

So now you’re coming back and I’m supposed to be all happy but get over yourself because I already know how this turns out.   So don’t waste your time and mine trying to heat things up if you’re just going to leave again in six months.

I can live without you … Is a lie that I tell myself every year. But this time around I am not going to get burned by you.  I bought a hat.

How do I look?

Your forever,
I’m Still Angry

So what’s up with you and the sun?