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27 December, 2010


So yeah, it rains up here. But that makes the sun brighter when it shows.

If you were to judge by the historical data or by the little cloud or raindrop icons on TV and internet weather predictions, you'd think it rains all the time. But that's misleading, the data are too coarse by farr. A passing squall, here and gone in under an hour, registers as a rainy day in history. And the icons? Clouds kick in at like 30% chance of precip--since this is not a sun-and-fun tourist destination, I guess nobody feels any pressure to highlight the sunlight.

Maybe dark dank forecasts aim to keep more people from moving here. Maybe it's northern European stoicism or fatalism weaving grey into the cultural tapestry. Maybe it's the need to excel, the American drive to superbole, to be the most of something, even if it's the most crappy weather.

I'm not that much of an optmist, but this seems unnecessecarily gloomy. Many days that will go down in history as rainy are blessed by sunbeams, brightened by sunbreaks. Even the fleeting glimpse of sky and light offers promise, a hint of the stint of long sunny days in summer. The sight of blue sky peeping through a hole in the clouds miles in the distance is enough for me to perk up, I cast a line into that azure puddle and set the hook of memory.  Rain lets up, and a lighter shade of grey lures me into the garden. Sometimes, even without the sun breaking through, the play of light and dark, of thick and thin clouds, of swirls and masses is enough. The allure of the veiled creates warmth. There are a million kinds of rain and cloud here, kaleidoscopic and fractally fascinating.

You'll hear the weather people on TV and radio talk of the chance of sunbreaks. I don't have the data, but I'd bet they do this more often toward the end of winter, when people are worn out. Some people seem perpetually worn out, though, and look at sunbreaks as "sucker holes," sunlit bait drawing the unwise outside just so that the clouds can rush back and dump on them. I, for one, enjoy a good sucker hole, accept it for what it is, and bear it no ill will. I cannot make the sun stay, but I can sure as hell enjoy it while it's here, and reel in a memory.

These recollections are important, for the fact is that there is plenty of in-between time in the winter. Even reminisces of sunbreaks help clear the gloom. Memories of the cloudless 16 hour days of summer offer their own kind of promise, surety that hanging in there for the long run will be rewarded. But knowing that a sunbreak may brighten even a late November day offers more immediate hope.

As I write this, rain drips from the eaves, and as the sun climbs, the dawn comes into sharper focus, the grey wash of sky splits up and strikes off as individual clouds. High ones hanging, and low ones scudding. Lighter patches show up and move on. There will be blue today.

1 comment:

  1. So, the day after this post I left town for a few days. Upon returning, there was nothing but clear skies and sun. The sunbreak is now at 5 days and counting...