Wednesday, June 8, 2016
For Lack of a Better Topic...
...One can always talk about the weather.
Not the weather today in my current AO per se but weather in general as I have experienced it over the years. From the green hills of Vermont to the shores of Okinawa. From the rugged mountains and shores of Korea to the brooding forests of Germany. From the endless plains of North Dakota to the sultry woods of Louisiana. And just about everything in between!
Now the weather here in Little Rhody has been fine as of late. (Well, it did pour like a sumbitch Sunday afternoon but in general it's been warm and pleasant.) That photo above was taken in the early evening Tuesday. Looks like something is building to the north-northeast but it's looked like that all afternoon with naught a thunder-boomer to be heard.
Now I've experienced some righteous thunderstorms here in Little Rhody but nothing to compare with the violent thunderstorms of my youth in Vermont. Seems like those would slide on up from the Connecticut River and commence to roar and echo all over the valley where my home town lies. A lot of rain, a lot of lightning, and the resonating crack and boom of the thunder. Got your attention it did.
Nothing like the storms I saw out on the Great Plains though. Suckers would blow in out of nowhere. One moment the sky is blue and the birds are singing. Then the sky gets dark, nearly black towards the horizon. It gets quiet, real quiet. The silence is almost oppressive. Then the wind picks up and the skies open up, the deluge begins and one is quite convinced that the end of time is nigh.
When the sky turns a weird, sometimes greenish or yellowish hue, then it's time to get "concerned." (Bloody terrified really.) For somewhere out there might be one of those terrifying tornadoes. While I've never been close to one (knock on wood) I have seen that ominous swirling in the trailing wall cloud. Outside of Denver that one was, we drove on through up to Fort Collins to hear later on the news that a tornado had touched down shortly after we'd left that area. Scary.
I've also seen the funnel clouds start to dip towards the ground. Everyone I ever saw dissipated after a few, very long, seconds. Off the coast of Okinawa one day we saw seven (as I recall) funnel clouds out over the East China Sea. Water spouts in the making, again nothing came of them. Rather exciting to see when they're a long way off. Suckers will move fast though, best not to dawdle when shelter is not readily at hand.
Now I've experienced some real extremes of temperature. From the "I'm melting" heat and humidity of a Biloxi summer to the "my brain is frying" heat out on the flightline at Kadena AB on Okinawa and on to the mind numbing cold of an old timey Vermont winter.
Hottest I've ever felt was temperatures in the mid-100s as a kid in Vermont. Seems those summers back then could be sweltering. The humidity could soar (leading to those massive thunderstorms I mentioned above) until we kids would just lie out under a tree in the shade. Like a pride of lions we felt, surveying the savanna. That's how we felt at any rate. Too hot to do much else. Biloxi and Alexandria, Louisiana felt that hot at times. Probably was actually hotter, but those days as a kid seemed worse. (Maybe because no one had air conditioning in those days!)
Coldest I've ever seen (didn't feel it, I wasn't stupid enough to go out on those days) was 40-below on the thermometer in Vermont (again as a kid). Might have been colder, the mercury couldn't actually go any lower. No wind at all. Looking out over the valley the smoke from the chimneys rose straight up. Coldest I've ever felt was 20-below, that I was outside in, delivering newspapers. (Remember those? You kids might have to Google that term.)
I was convinced that I was going to drop over into a snow bank and not be found until spring. Couldn't feel my legs, I just wanted to sit for a spell and rest. Obviously I did not as I am telling this story to you today. Didn't lose any appendages but I came close to losing an earlobe once. Mom fixed me up. I don't remember how, just that it was painful and effective. After all, I still have two intact ears.
Now in Colorado, along the Front Range, I swear that every winter the temperature would go below zero and stay there for a week or two. It would always ease up eventually but for that two weeks it was miserable.
Now in Nebraska I experienced the same cold spell in the four winters I spent there. The difference there was that the wind always seemed to be blowing. Being outside was deuced uncomfortable and pretty dangerous too. I pitied the guys out on the flightline there, recalling my own (not nearly as cold) adventures in Korea back when I was a young Staff Sergeant.
I've seen typhoons and hurricanes, gale force winds tearing the tops off trees, and fierce storms at sea with the wind topping 40 knots and the seas thirty feet high. Seeing the waves breaking over the bow of the ship and feeling the stern shake when the screws came out of the water was pretty exciting. (As long as you forgot that the nearest land was a day away.) Really gave new meaning to the saying "Oh God thy sea is so great and my boat is so small." Yes it is, you had better believe it!
I find bad weather exciting, it gets the adrenaline pumping and makes you feel alive. Of course, I'll take sunny skies, warm temperatures, and a mild breeze any day of the week. But still, I'll take a spell of nasty weather from time to time.
I mean, I've gotta blog about something, right?
Green with new roses, blossoming flowers, and a riot of color all around. That's my thing right now. Open that cooler and pass me a beer would you?
Note that snow wasn't mentioned. A little bit is nice. Perhaps an inch or two Christmas morning, all melted by noon. But lots of snow? I have no love for that species of weather, that stuff has tried to kill me more than once. You can keep your blizzards thank you very much. Uh uh. No thanks...