Monday, October 27, 2008

Freeze, Perhaps.

Hey, early winter. Novel shit continues to hold back the weather forecast, but here's what I can give you: Cold, dammit. Cold. I assure you, friends and fans of weather, that we will be back with the weather shortly. Here's what I can give you this late evening: The truck ride in to 27244 was good and chilly; it's heavy jeans and flannel weather; the 'auxiliary heat' light is lit up on the thermostat. Quick showers and clouds gave way to a cold late-evening yellow sunset. Step outside. You can see your breath. It's winter, briefly. It'll be warm again soon. But it's cold now. I like it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Morning Rain.

All this got here later than they said it would, but it's here: Maybe not as much as they said we'd have, either, but rain is rain, and a dark Saturday morning is a good Saturday morning, the kind of morning where if I work hard enough I can conjure up one of those middle school Saturdays after I'd won the fight with my father to let me wear his Army shirt from Vietnam, and it'd be cool enough to wear it, dark green canvas with almost no patches save for some kind of bar or star situation and PERRY in lack embroidered stitching. I thought it was the single most badass item in the world. Didn't give a ton of thought to what it might have felt like to watch your son wearing an item of clothing that nearly prevented you from having a son. I was thirteen. Selfish. Limited in world view. Or any view. Have I covered this in this space before? Maybe I have. I do not know. I've been bad about every part of this recently. I've been distracted. But we've got a warmish chilly October Saturday rain, and I'm trying to come back to this, to meteorophiling, to some semblance of calm, of the everyday. The book is going to be a book. This is a big deal. But the weather, as it turns out, is still going to be the weather. Don't forget about the orders of things.

Cold coming behind this, but it's one of those forecasts that keeps edging up by a couple of degrees each day. Probably means the fancies don't really know much except that they think somebody might have to dig out a sweater. We shall see, friends and fans of weather. I think we shall, anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smells Like...

Snow? Sleet? It's not winter, but winter's come in. Sort of. Kind of. Rain coming. Maybe. Tomorrow's a good day to pull the watchcap on and plant the last flat of pansies. The rock opera that is the NYC novel conversation rolls on. Let's not talk about it. I haven't had a shower in two days, and I didn't sleep last night. Can't complain. Can't. Rock opera or no, the whatever sort of opera it is is taking place in NYC. So, you know.

Here in 27408, we're having weather. We haven't been reporting on it too thoroughly of late here at ANYLF. We'll do better, I promise. We need to have some kind of a staff meeting. Whip the troops into shape. Rain's riding in. Perhaps a freeze. Time to start taking stock of what's outside again: Certain of the fancies want to give us a chilly inch of rain tomorrow night. We're dangerously close to a pot of chili on the stove. Coffee with brandy late afternoon. Tea all day long. Too much coffee every morning. Grilled cheese.

Hey, November. We're not there yet, but we're damn close.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Frost Advisory.

Hey, frost. Just wanted to say so. More soon, I promise. Wear a coat out there, friends and fans of weather. Cut the heat on. We were gone. We'll be back right shortly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Missed Day.

I missed (technically) today's entry, which is a shame, because today (Friday) was damn near raw — not quite there, but still, in the parking lot at Lowe's, I was cold, buying my mini-nuggets, and I'd been all morning in the dirt, planting pansies, pulling impatiens, wishing Paul and Son of Paul hadn't stolen my third yard waste trash can, and happy anyway, because it was genuinely chilly, wet, windy, autumn. Maybe there's a difference between fall and autumn. I don't know. Tomorrow (today?) I drag AMR north and westward, into colder cold, into SW VA, almost against her will save for the promise of lentil soup and the red hooded J. Crew U. sweatshirt that was once mine but is no more in any way at all belonging to me. Sometimes I borrow it. Mainly she wears it. This is how it is. Goddamn and all hell, friends and fans of weather, this is the official weather of ANYLF, a damn cold mist and the danger of frost behind it, plus good news from NYC and the insanity attendant to that. I'm meant to come down off the mountain on Monday at noon to call the Big Apple and chat about some crazy shit. My head don't work so good tonight. It's gray and cold. I'm wearing jeans and flannel and my fleece hat. Randy Newman on the hi-fi. Somebody read the novel and liked it. Four flats of pansies in the ground. One left. Mulching to be done before the breaking towards Fall Break. I said earlier this week that the Vieja Maple wasn't living up to its past selves. Not so. It's everything it's always been. No photo to prove it. I'll just need you to take me at my word. And I don't even need that. I saw it today; I'll see it tomorrow. And, if I can get my shit together in the morning before we blow this peanut stand for a joint with a woodstove, well then, so shall you. Until then, this is ANYLF, reporting live from the library, window cracked open enough to hear what's left of the rain — I'm hoping for a widespread killing weekend frost, or something close to it. Randy Newman's singing Jolly Coppers. Might just be his best song.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Front Coming.

This might be it. There's a little burst of something headed our way out of the north and west — not the south and west, this time — and back behind that are sixties and forties, not sixties and eighties. I enjoyed this. I did. Don't get me wrong. But I'm ready for heavier shirts. I'll take it.

Tomorrow's a planting day: We've got the five flats of prison farm pansies still sitting in the driveway, and we're headed for 24292 for Fall Break on Saturday, so they've got to go in the ground. Seems like every year I end up planting bulbs and pansies on a chilly gray mudder of a day. Hell, I'll take that, too. It's the romantic in me. Or the sap. The something.

Forecast to get good and chilly here over the weekend, so let's say good and good and chilly for the New River Valley and west, as they say on WVTW. I love tuning in to 89.1 down here and getting the forecast for Independence and Marion and Whitetop and Mt. Rogers all year long. Always five or ten degrees colder. Always the looming threat of some impressive fog or sleet or snow. Always the reminder that if you can hear the forecast, you can't be that far away.

Oh, place. Good god.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indian Summer?

It's warm out there, friends and fans of weather, but cool weather's coming, and maybe even a little rain. Late-season agriculturalists must be pleased. Broccolists. Lettucists. Also pleased might be those of us not so up on our laundry. This was the time of year to be a college student, as I remember -- In one week you could wear it all. Just make sure you have enough socks and panties and you're good to go. I've tried to grow out of that. I have. I swear.

Here's a charmingly antiquated exploration of what Indian Summer might or might not be, courtesy of the NWS out of Detroit.

OK, children, where were we? Ah: Once again it falls to me to tell you, even in this unseasonable warmth, to go outside. Have the next-to-last iced coffee of the season. Wear the next-to-last t-shirt. Get ready to have and wear the lasts of those tomorrow, our last warm day until the next one. Here at our own outside, out on the WeatherDeck and even beyond, there's the smell of the Vieja Maple just starting to shed its leaves, a fantastic smell, decay and shift and crunch. The tree's not quite as spectacular this year as in years past, which is its own kind of spectacular, somehow: A record in all the other years of the rain we hadn't had, a record this year of what we were fortunate to get.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warm Coming.

We're supposed to see 85 degrees tomorrow and Wednesday, but don't be fooled: They want to give us fall back and then some by the weekend. That whole See-Your-Breathwatch thing might be over sooner than later. In other news, TLK called in on the hotline to report a gentleman driving down Lee Street on a riding mower, towing a trailer holding a mound of clothes, a push mower, and a live dog. If that's not the weather, I don't know what is.

There's noise about Gov. Palin putting in an appearance at J. Crew U. Don't really know what kind of sign to hold up at such a thing as that. Probably one with small, simple words. Maybe we can hold a contest to see which school ought be affronted more: Journalism? Arts & Sciences? Oh, the jokes are too easy, and too sad. I love the possibility that I might have to let my writing class out so they can go see her.

No Vieja Maple update tonight: It's yellow, fiercely so, but it's also in the dark. More tomorrow. OK? OK.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Head On.

Paul and Son of Paul are across the street sawing and sparking some piece of the engine of Son of Paul's ruined Honda out and onto the driveway. Paul and Son of Paul spent much of the spring and summer repairing and rebuilding said Honda, testing the engine, putting some bullshit muffler situation on the thing such that it sounded like three or four motorcycles when he cranked it up. Then, on the day -- the very day -- that they finally got that car roadworthy, Son of Paul drove it into a phone pole. Or a light stanchion. I don't know what it was, exactly, but one look at the ruined Honda and you say to yourself, Pole. Or: Stanchion. Or: Statue. Something tall and skinny. They had it towed home and it's been facing pole-side-out all fall, and now they've started in on it again. It's nice to have a project. In blue-tick-beagle news, I gave in and called the city and things are getting slightly, slightly better. I've traded beagle barking for a grinder, but hey.

In Son of Paul's defense, the pole day was also the day of the Fay flooding, so there's every possibility that the disaster was weather-related and not car-as-toy-related.

What a lovely day it was today. I hopped myself up on off-brand Cold & Sinus meds and mowed the grass. Late afternoon, the sun caught La Vieja's maple just right. Or that's not entirely so: Truth be told, the sun caught it right all day long. This was just one of the examples. We're right on the edge of having quite the fall. Soon enough we may have to crank up a See-Your-Breath-Countdown-o-Meter. Can't be more than a couple weeks away, right? Let's go ahead and say fourteen days and counting. That and the Vieja Maple Watch has the staff pretty busy over here at ANYLF. Oh: There's a little storm way the hell out in the Atlantic, too. The economy's in the shitter, friends and fans of weather, but we're hiring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello, Sunshine.

Oh, fall. You may be familiar with its work. It looks like this. Like this right here. This is front-and-back-doors-open weather. Cats-in-the-windows weather. Every time I make eye contact with the dog, who's not gone back to sleep for her morning/all-day nap, she picks her head up off the floor, looks at me as if to say, Hello? Have you not been outside? Isn't this dog-to-the-park weather? It is. It is. I'd mention other things, like how I can hear the first leafblower of the season, or the sixty dollars of prison farm pansies I bought yesterday, but there's no time. I have to go to the park. With the dog. Right now.

The Vieja Maple burns along.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Drought (!).

Either last week -- though the graph was showing us so close to the line that I was afraid to declare it, however temporarily, over -- or this week, we emerged from drought. Part of Guilford County's still in D0 (the scale runs D0-D4), but here in 27408, we're in the clear. For now. The celebration around the ANYLF offices is like this: ([whee.]). Now is not the time for ice cream cakes in the shape of thunderheads. Two dry weeks and we'll be right back on the Drought Monitor along with everybody else. And dry weeks are what have to be coming: It's October, after all. Still, still and still: This whole thing began as drought lament as much as anything. Now what to lament?

No worries. We've got the interns sifting through piles of new and other worries, and one entire set of interns is just waiting to gear back up for when it does stop raining again, so: Have your paper cup of sparkling cider, and get back to work.

Mist and fog. Trees turning everywhere. Just about almost enough rain. Nearly time to pull the impatiens and put the pansies in. Nearly time for about seven different other things. The Vieja Maple continues apace. Dress lightly, friends and fans of between-seasons. It's spring-warm out there— warmer than it looks from your window with your cup of coffee.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rain Came.

Not tons, but it rained in a kind of lovely way, steady and light last night and showery today and now, tonight, mist and crickets and some other kind of cricket that's riding a long lower wail out across the higher-pitched ones. Or: that lower wail is the cricket closest to us, and the background noise is everybody else. Everything's perspective.

Had a young man turn in an orgasm poem today.

What I think might be prudent at a time like this is not to read too much into crickets and sex and markets and mist and rather just take what cash you've got left out there, convert it to nickels, and bury it out beyond the compost pile in the back corner of the yard. Once all this is over and we go back to poems about 2002 Jeep Wranglers and the Dow figures out what it's there for and winter sets in and the crickets come back from wherever they'll go once they go for the year, why then, we can take stock and see what it all means. For now, as I've been preaching to my classes, let's us all just stop trying so damn hard to mean anything. That such advice nets me poems with words like "shuddering" in them is no reason to think the advice itself is bad. Stop meaning. Start shuddering. Tomorrow's forecast: Just like today, or different. One of those for sure.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rain Coming?

It looks like we're getting ready to pick up something out of our south and west. Kind of a classic wintertime pattern, in a way, this slow-moving low, though nobody seems all that sure how much we might pick up: The NWS out of Raleigh is up with a forecast discussion that says, in essence, that nobody really knows much about anything at all. Kind of a check-the-front-walk-to-see-if-it's-wet sort of forecast. So: Good gray Carolina early fall. Might probably rain. In the meantime, the Vieja Maple continues to yellow over, uncertain forecast or no.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maple Turning.

La Vieja's maple has started up.

I can't remember if I've spent official ANYLF time in this here and very space trying to suss out what kind of maple it is, and I don't really have the time nor inclination for such things today, but: its bark goes almost black between now and the onset of winter, and its leaves, which are nearly salad-plate-sized, go first dark green all through August and September and then Crayola-box-yellow over the next couple of weeks. It's always one of the first to fully turn, and it's easily the best on the street. Do not be alarmed, friends and fans of retreating chlorophyll: this space will feature regular Vieja Maple updates as warranted, which is to say, all the time between now and whenever it puts its leaves down.

We're overcast and cool this morning, jacket weather, hat weather for the deeply optimistic. The sun's already trying to break through, though, so while it would be abject foolishness to say it'll be as warm as yesterday, I think it's reasonable to say that at some point this afternoon you might well be able to turn to your companion, rest your elbows on the concrete table at which you've chosen to have your paper cup of tea, and say, It got warm.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Warm Day.

And it might be the last one for a while, though surely not the very last of the season. We're supposed to be cool and then cool and cloudy through the rest of the week. The trees are showing a little color almost everywhere, and even though it's not pyrotechnic fall yet, you can feel that coming. Another set of cool nights might just get us there.

The latest draft of the novel's almost done. Off to NYC with it after today. Time to put my head back into the classroom a little bit, I think, and back into the world, too. Last week, a week spent entirely inside the book, was kind of a lost week, though in a lovely way, in the kind of way that makes me want for that lifestyle instead of this week's, for that version of me instead of this one. Or maybe for a slightly less intense version of that me. I don't know. Let's go with this, for now: More writing. Less academic bullshit. Give me the classroom any day, almost. Give me the rest of it as rarely as possible, please. I may never go to another departmental meeting again. We had one on Friday, and afterwards, I had to send out an email apologizing for my behavior. Though now, with distance, I'm less sorry, or not sorry at all. At one point we tried to vote on the difference between abstaining and not voting. I was going to abstain from that vote.

There's a damn lot that goes on out at J. Crew U. that has very little to do with students.

Dog just back from a run with AMR, and dragging some, panting hard. It's warm out there. Dress accordingly, please. This is it. This is the warm day. The rest of the week is for those of you more like me. Which is nice, I guess. A little something for everybody.

Friday, October 3, 2008

High Pressure.

Well, well. I'm wearing shirt sleeves and I'm chilly. Maybe all fall posts will be about what I'm wearing, or may get to wear, or have worn. How deeply and terribly exciting that'll be out there in WeatherLand.

No news to report. Chilly night coming. They're getting frost advisories in the mountains. Here it's just unrelentingly perfect. The crickets chirped all day today. I'm not sure what that means, but on a slow news day, friends and fans of weather, that's the kind of intrepid reporting you can get here at ANYLF.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Flame.

Here is how good the weather is today: It's cool enough for real clothes, for a windows-down ride up Battleground to remind me why I love the pickup, for my good fleece cap, and for Cheap Trick's "The Flame" to be playing in Giacomo's Market up there in 27410 while I stood in line waiting for my fresh mozzarella, my roasted peppers, my proscuitti di parma.

All for now. Go outside. I will be the flame. I will be the flame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turning Cool.

Were you outside this afternoon? This evening? Did you notice how once we got the last of the front through, we started having October right away, like it was October or something? Me too. I noticed that too.

Dogwoods showing color. Maples starting. Beautiful rain last night. Hat weather tonight. Long sleeves. The dog took us on a long walk, chose the longer route at every turn. I've canceled class this week to finish off this draft of the book. It's October. It rained and turned cool. Almost cold. Impatiens blooming hard and out of season. Mums starting in along the front. The TLK cannas in La Vieja's yard are having one last go at it. We've got spiderwebs everywhere. It's spider weather. There's playoff baseball. It's damn near enough to make a soul get religion. Happy fall, friends and fans of fall. Happy everything.