Monday, November 12, 2012

Those Words.

November. Low clouds. The warm side of the front. The last warm days until the next last warm days. The lettuce keeps pushing, keeps pushing, and we haven't bought salad from the store in six weeks. I'm utterly converted. I may even be converted from tomatoes: though I love them, do they yield like this? Can you eat off tomatoes, in my few square feet, every night? You cannot. Except: AMR, who I love, loves them, and in the grand math of the front yard garden, domestic peace prevails. Perhaps some kind of grand compromise can be achieved. We'll bring together both sides of the aisle.

A meeting, both sacred and profane, with the profane and sacred new book folk today: How lovely this time around. A different experience altogether. Yes, I'm still licking my wounds from last time, but yes, too, it's nice to feel that for one moment a group of people (a whole group!) might come together around the written word—these written words, at that. Or those, more accurately. Those words. Those are the book. These ones are about the low November sky. Only you and I, dear reader(s), come together around such a thing as that.

Cold tomorrow. We edge back up against the freeze in the coming weeks. I have low-key greenhouse-style plans—not to winter us through, but at least to protect that which can be protected from frost. I have a sheet of plastic and a few wooden stakes. We shall see.

Oaks turning. Leaves in all the streets. Sound of the trains more pronounced in autumn than in high summer. I like that. I do, I do.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time Change.

I'm standing at the sink, working my way back and forth between tonight's dinner and last night's dishes. AMR and the Toad are off and triking their way through the too-early dark. Radio on: news. November news. Election, nor'easter. I squirt the wrong dish soap into the pan, the blue stuff, some major brand instead of the fancyass enviro stuff we normally use, and the smell's wrong—not bad, but wrong, out of place, like a 5 p.m. sunset that first Sunday night of regular time—and I'm at the cabin in Virginia, because that's where we use this soap, and then it's not too many steps to another sink, another time, a later November, Palmolive, green, small bottle, my grandparents' home in Nashville, the big one, the one we all grew up in through all those successive Thanksgiving weekends, and then the condo they fell into later on, never the same, but a fine fake—

What do you want to do with a November that's plenty cool, but arrives with no freeze? I've never had a garden look so good. Arugula. Four kinds of lettuce. Kale coming. Thanksgiving coming. The holidays. All of them. And then the baby. The new baby. Friends and fans of weather, though I know you no longer read, because for so long I no longer wrote, yes, the Toad will have another. Some other amphibian. Chaos. Disorder. Thanksgiving.

Just that one quick moment at the sink. The wrong soap, some strange smell, and then all of it, the whole of my twenties, some other life, another place, all of it back, all at once. And then AMR and the Toad back through the front door, and the roasted veggies roasting, and then bath, and then dinner, and then Sunday, this new life, this same old standard time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

These Questions:

Has the sun just suddenly, all at once, dropped lower in the sky? What are the ethical implications of canceling class so that I'll have time to get home and gird the lettuce against the frost? Do I even remember last year's winter? Am I only ever truly happy in November, when it's all still out in front of us? Should someone speak to the good folks at the fancy grocery about pulling down all those wreaths they already had up in all the checkout lanes yesterday?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oh Sandy.

Calling it a Frankenstorm's no good, except for the obvious opportunity to say It's alive, it's alive. But it smacks of a failure of imagination, or ownership. Of a We didn't make that. And maybe we didn't. Maybe snowriccanes happened all the time before 1975, and I just wasn't here to see the pre-landfall cable wall-to-wall. Still. Something about it seems to edge, at least, against the broken. Surely this isn't the main idea. Surely of the possible solutions, this one's an outlier. This tugs the bell curve one way or the other. More perfect than The Perfect Storm, I read or heard somewhere. Someplace on one of the internets. A brand new way to have our own names fail us.

All this wind's hurrying our own local fall towards an emptier, grayer November, all the leaves down at once, the yellowed maples pushed and rushed through a week of eighty-degree days followed by this. Piles of leaves in the backyard. The Toad in the piles of leaves. The Toad recollecting his age, two and change, and putting the exclamation point on what had been a quiet weekend with an epic meltdown during a Sunday noon picnic lunch in them selfsame piles of leaves. Now a nap. Mercifully. A nap.

Cold, cold weather coming. Rain and low sky, wind and frost. It's time. I'm ready. I've been ready since I let the forecast start predicting itself back in July and August. I don't do so hot with the heat. It's not my bag. This, boys and girls, cool cats of all ages, is, aside from the apocalyptic portions, more my speed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're Back.

It has been so long. Never has it been longer. Two months. And yet, here I am, back—the first rule of weatherblog was always: don't talk about weatherblog.  Reason? A thought experiment. If it rains for five years in the forest, and mainly the whole thing was to practice sentences...

But enough about process. The forecast is never about process. The book people wanted to know if I blogged, and I said I did, but that it was in a kind of qualified way—

So who's reading now? Two more folks, if that many. The rest of you have likely already quit—what good's a forecast that goes on a two-month hiatus? So let's us then return to what this is: a clip reel. Scores and highlights. The poet James Galvin on this question: I live in the South. I do a job. It rains.

We last spoke in August, friends and fans of weather. Since then we've cooled—significantly, I'd have said, but for this last week, when we went 80 degrees three days in a row, enough maybe to germinate the late kale, the late mache, and surely enough to push the September arugula past baby and into full blown leaf if not bloom. That was not a sentence. Neither was that.

The Toad? You want to know of the Toad? He speaks. Sentences. Paragraphs. He has an imaginary friend, Ms. Merrin, of whom he is afraid. She lives, he says, behind the moon. He knows exactly where the moon is. Mornings, he wants to know if it's raining. No, I tell him. We don't get enough rain.

October: We went to the mountains. The next week I left AMR at home, took the Toad back up. I could quit it all, all of it, for a cabin and a woodstove and a place for the now-deaf dog to run within sightline. She'll come back if you wave your arms enough. Up near Whitetop, VA, if the snowriccane hits like they say it will, it'll shift from the 70s to the low 40s. Here, from the 80s to the 50s. All of this coming to a Monday near you. Sorry we broke the planet, I told my freshman comp class. We fucked it up. We drove big cars. I apologize.

What else? Ice in the glass. We're out of coffee. The dog's fed. The windows are open. I bought a hoodie because I wish I was still 22. I look like some asshole trying to look 22. The World Series. College football. November looming. An actual hurricane threatening snow. If there was ever a time to come back—

That'll do for now, I think. I intend to try to be back. The weather stops for no man. Or dog. Or Toad. So the mantra around here: try, one more time, to keep up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spider Season.

He's quit napping. The trash cans are still at the bottom of the driveway. The dog tripped several times on her walk this morning. I'm jumpy, sleepy. He's banging things around up there. I beg him to be quiet, lie still, get some rest. He needs it. He loses his shit right around dinnertime on the days he doesn't nap. It's been cloudy for two days. All the rain in the world, judging by the runoff patterns in the bare spots in the lawn, over the weekend we were gone. Again I've been gone. We were 100 degrees, and then we were not. It was July, and now it isn't. Now we're trying for that strange spot between here and fall, the spot where a hurricane comes in and blows all the wind the wrong way for a day or two. It's spider season, JLT used to say, back in the days when I lived uphill from here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Florida, Again.

Back from the beach always means being comprehensively astonished by the mere fact of green, even if we did go ten 100-degree days, give or take, without rain, give or take. When I was a kid we'd come back to my mother's parched mailbox geraniums; here it's a crabgrass takeover and curling tomatoes. Still: green on green on green, and all this humidity with no breeze to push it anywhere.

We were Boise or Las Vegas to start the month. Now we've come back home, as it were. Ninety degrees. Air you feel you might be able to section off and pocket. North Carolina. That familiar hint of childhood Atlanta. I read in Bill McKibben's Rolling Stone global warming piece that it rained at 109 degrees in Mecca this summer—the hottest-ever recorded downpour. If we're headed there, friends and fans of weather, it'll feel like home, only more so, which will be something nice to consider as the planet chews itself to cinders. Or as we chew it there. Perhaps that's the best way to consider climate change: the winters you remember are gone. The summers you recall are here, but much more brightly lit, the volume turned way up.

Home again, home again. The grass is tall. The weeds are taller. It's too hot to do anything about either. I owe the now-untitled novel on Thursday. This coming Thursday. Six days. There's good air conditioning out here in the shed. Much needed. It vents, of course, into the outside world. Cut and paste your own metaphors here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So Much.

It rained. A great deal. It is 40 degrees cooler. It is still July. That, for now, friends and fans of weather, is all.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Like Dogs.

104 on the front porch today. 104. I don't know if I've ever seen 104 before. They say there's a cold front coming. They say storms. They say highs in the eighties. It's been 100 for ten days. I don't believe the forecast. I don't believe the radar. It keeps raining everywhere but here. Three nights this week we heard thunder. I don't believe we'll ever see winter again. Or autumn. Or anything but this. The ferns died. The squash died. My farmer brother called to tell me what of his had died. There was a rabbit lying down like a dog beneath our backyard butterfly bush tonight. If anyone needs to know how hot it was, that's the answer: the rabbits were lying down like dogs.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Still Worse.

Here's how much it rained: not enough to connect the dots on the driveway, as my father likes to say. Enough to give us a rainbow. Enough to push the humidity above—gasp—fifty percent. Was it 100? If not, it was close enough to claim it was. It rained ten minutes. Maybe twenty. Nothing got wet but the grass. Hot as hell. Hot tomorrow. My Virginia brother claims 100 on Saturday and Sunday and 80 on Monday, and wants to know what apocalypse awaits us in between. This, I'll tell him, next time we talk. This is the apocalypse. Don't go looking for another one.

It's August. It's highest August in early July. What we'll do when August gets here I do not know.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Patriot Dreams.

Two o'clock in the afternoon: The new porch thermometer says 100 degrees. It also says 34% humidity, but there are storms in the area, so let's hope we can address not one but both of those numbers shortly. Old porch thermometer: taken out by the blackberry popsicle Toad heat wave photoshoot attempt. Ah, fatherhood in the digital age. Ah, analog thermometers. Or would the correct antonym be mechanical? We could play these games all day, buster, and it'd still be brutally awful on my front porch and everywhere the hell else in the 27401 weatherplex. The garden. The lawn. The ferns. The electric bill. Send help. SOS.

The grocery store, in tiny salvation news, did again start stocking the tiny beers. Let us shine light on even the smallest and most occasional of triumphs.

Last night, the Toad stared up into the sky and shouted at the fireworks. Then his attention span lapsed, and he shat himself and ran in circles on the driveway until he fell, skinning both knees. Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Plus Two.

102 on the front porch this afternoon right after we got the Toad down for his nap -- and raining. I've never seen anything like it. We got that five-degree cooldown you get with storms, and then still it was 97. And raining. Half of me wanted to go get him up, show him, treat it like it was snow. Come see this. Remember this. The other half of me won out, thank god. Later the A/C would crash for the second time this weekend. Later I'd be bailing the attic drip pan with lasagna tupperware. Later I'd be showered and ginned up and planning exactly what I'd say to the A/C company who serviced our unit on Thursday, and then came back out Saturday to try to figure out what they'd done. This is how it goes on the Piedmont: Try to fix that which is only half-broken in front of the heat wave, break it for sure and certain in so doing.

Only supposed to be 96 tomorrow. Only. Big storms wanting to roll down out of the mountains again tonight. Each night during all this it's tried to rain. Each night—this afternoon included, if you will—it's largely failed. That Toad nap I wanted to interrupt—it rained for ten minutes.

The dryer's beeping. The Toad was in there today and seems to have reset it. There is the Toad. There is this damn heat. There is the novel, cooking out there in the shed, due for the last time at the end of July. It's July now. There's no coffee in the house. At least I know what I'm doing first thing in the morning. My god in all this furnace do we fall behind.

Friday, June 29, 2012

One Hundred.

It's still alright down in the creek bottom, which makes it sound like I live somewhere I don't—like I live somewhere with rolling hills and a half-acre of beans instead of here, in the city, snugged up to the downtown ballpark and downtown itself—but down there it's always cooler, always a little more snow, or there was, anyway, back when it snowed. Today it'll be a hundred. Probably more. Probably 103, 104, 105. Accomplished so far: early dogwalk down the hill. Seventeen gallons of water on the garden. Very hot already up here on the crown of the neighborhood. We've fifteen degrees yet to add on. Maybe twenty. Days of this coming. Hard to believe.

One wants popsicles, sprinklers, watermelon, can beer, a pool, to be ten years old, to be twenty-three again and in grad school and hunkered into the shady side of the street, to be sure of the air conditioning, a haircut, iced tea, iced coffee, a cool bath, a cold shower, ceiling fans, box fans, an open refrigerator door, one's mother's terrifying yogurt/Cool Whip pie, orange Push-Ups, the ice cream man, ice water, the chance of storms, somebody else manning the grill, a lawn chair, a Coke in a bottle, a Sprite in a bottle, some respite, some relief, some hope in sight.

87 now on my front porch. 10:07 a.m. Make ready. Bring the dogs inside.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tiny Beer.

Hot this morning on the way to breakfast—we take the Toad for pancakes on Sundays—and hot the rest of the day, too, though somehow less so: this morning promised apocalypse, but then by the end of the day, what seemed right was a charcoal grill and the kid in the sprinkler and a tiny beer in a tiny can. This is the summer of the half-size beer; this is the summer of trying, trying to remember that if and when days end like this, not much else is out there that matters all that much.

It's trying to rain, but not that hard. Storms holding together off to our south, where they'll slide by, and storms falling apart off to our north, where they'd get us if they weren't waning. Cicadas. Green fruit on every tomato plant. One plant trying to die but not there yet. Okra blooms. Squash for dinner. Basil. Marigolds. I sign off like this all the time. I just don't know what else to tell you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bumpy Ride?

Well, a kid can hope. We got a little pop-up last night around 10:30 or 11:00 that dropped half an inch or so, but this could be flash and bang to go with all that. It's been in the mid-nineties. We're owed a little something to watch from the porch, aren't we? Tiny beer? Friday? It's summer, for those of you just tuning in. It is of a sudden and without any doubt summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Longest Day.

Summer solstice. Mid-nineties. Thirsty tomatoes. Yellow death creeping in. A kid in orbit, running into the walls and bouncing off just far enough to get his speed back up again. Squash in the garden. Okra. Basil. The kid in a new school, a different school, a different idea, a new Toad, the walls, the bouncing, etcetera. He's two. It's showing. I love you, I said. I'm sorry we had a hard day. He hit me in the neck and then hugged me, which was what I wanted badly to do to him. It's trying to rain. It'll never make it. Some odd half-storm trying to hold together long enough to come in from the wrong direction altogether. The wrong side of the interstate, the wrong set of exits, all wrong, everything. If it rains, I'll take my drink out there and stand in it. I'll wake the Toad and take him to see. No. No I won't. You do not touch the child. Not even for snow. Except maybe this winter. Maybe when he's two and a half. Maybe that's when you do a thing like that. You learn to parent. You learn it every goddamn day. Every morning you start over again. Like summer. Like these high summer days. Hot from now until September. Mainly it will be hot. Every now and then, when we're very lucky, it'll rain. Just not tonight.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shall See.

10 June. Heavy rain in the forecast, tomatoes coming, lawn unmowed, windows finished, the Toad indoctrinated into the world of sprinklers. I'm out back with the double doors wide open, the windows fully finished and enameled, and I'm wearing jeans. It's not cool out there, and it's not that dry, either, but: How many more nights will I be able to wear jeans? Not so many.

We used to turn finally and thoroughly hot on the Fourth of July. My problem: I don't remember those days well, don't remember anymore when June was June. Combination of the Toad and the recent record, I presume.

The neighbor's 30-year-old AC just clacked off. Near-silence in the back yard. I'm gambling I'll be able to mow in the morning. If not, then Thursday at the earliest. We live tight to the bone in these parts, folks. Skin of the teeth. The Toad is two. Ice in the glass. He sleeps. We recover. It goes like this.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Second Coat.

We warmed, but not like you'd think—maybe I don't read the fancies so closely any more, but I'd expected hotter. It was sweaty staple-gunning plastic dropcloths to the door moldings I drove into the ground to protect the tomatoes from the paving dust, yes. That work, though, will always be sweaty, at least in June. Morning sun. Staple gun. Plastic sheets. The machinery bearing down from down the street. Action-thriller stuff. Dystopian, even. Somebody get us a script treatment around here. A book deal. A book club, at least.

The rest of the day? Coolish breeze under all that warm sun. Second coat of bright-white enamel on the windows. At least one more to go. Pulling the blue tape between coats because I've been too much on the interweb DIY chatboards, and the fuckers playing around in there have much time and bluster on their hands. Do it better than you can possibly conceive of or don't even get the brush off the shelf, seems to be the rule of the day. Make your own brushes. Grow your own trees from which to cut and plane your own trim.

Last of the night: the Toad hollering all the way home from 27244 about how he wanted a balloon. Then a ballgame with a Jerry Lewis impersonator. Beer. Fried pickles. Now back home with the Braves trying to give one away to the Torontos, a team we should never see except in October. Whiskey in an olive jar, summer lurking out the windows. Sleepy senile dog. Sleeping Toad. Friday. Another week survived, if only just.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Trim Work.

Sweet baby unseasonably cool Jesus this has been a nice week. It all starts to shut down tomorrow, but this—we didn't deserve this, nobody deserved this, this was not by us the thing of which we might have been deserving—no matter. It came just the same. And yes, friends and fans of weather, my heart grew however many sizes. I'm three rolls of goddamn blue tape in on the trim out back, and this morning's coat of ultra white enamel looks like it'll need two more yet, but it's not been eighty in three days, so let's us not go in for complaint.

Except for the smell of street in the neghborhood. For seventy-two hours they've been promising to pave in the next twenty-four. Today, late, they made good. Guns and butter. Government work. Your tax dollars at play.

What else? Nothing. We orbit. We trace our lines. Sometimes something transits the sun.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Breeze.

June 4th. North Carolina. All the windows out here in the shed wide open, as they were all night, ceiling fan spinning, birds, breeze—and seventy degrees. At ten in the morning. Headed for the low eighties. And then Tuesday for the mid-seventies. And don't believe this yet, friends and fans of weather, but there is growing consensus among the fancies that one of these late-week days we won't make it out of the sixties. In North Carolina. In June. Here cometh the TLK winter, that which does not come every year, so-named for my friend TLK who would, when we were in grad school, stop his life with me on such days and ride through that gray June drizzle porchbound and slightly boozy. Ten years ago now. Nearly fifteen. Enough to talk about what the weather used to do back then. As opposed to now. And yet.

Let's not ruin it with talk, though. Focus on the tasks at hand: the end of the trim for the little building out here, caulking the seams, painting all the wood brightest white. And let's not mark as a harbinger the full mug of coffee I just elbowed onto the wall and down under the subfloor—probably that won't grow mold, and probably these final few mitered joints will match up sweet and pretty. Yesterday the Toad turned two. In dog years, that makes me half-dead. But I survived. We both did. We all did. The windows are open. In June. The church bell just now says ten. That greatest of luxuries: time to get to work.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slight Truancy.

Trying so very hard to make it rain out here on the Piedmont. Over puppet-showward they're getting inches. Bastards. Here, in the land of the High Sabbatical and the Unreachable Summer and the Trimmed Shed Windows, we need tomato rain. Them academics—all they need is footnotes. Come on, rain. I sprinted through an 8:15 sunset pushing the mower just so I wouldn't have to mow a soaked lawn tomorrow. Make me look like I knew what I was doing. Make me look like I understand the sky. Make me look like I show up here at the Local every now and then.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Little Storms.

It's warmed. It's not been as hot as they said it would be, though it's been close—but we're not in that can't-even-sit-in-the-lawn-chairs-after-the-Toad's-in-bed place yet. We're in the opposite place, in fact: the humidity's been just low enough these past few evenings to set up shop right out back, ice in the glass, a lime, bare feet in the grass, a few deep breaths. I'm trying to enjoy it, even if it's not my season. Tomatoes in the new front planter. Fireworks from the stadium downtown. Woodwork in the shed. The tiny seed of a new story, a new something. Tragedy out on the edges of things, but that's always there. Just more distinct these days.

Soaked the tomatoes in some manner of fish and seaweed blend before I put them in the ground. Smelled like all hell. Five days in they're the greenest plants I've ever had.

And (Sub)Tropical Storm Beryl. Let's just say that out loud and let it lie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's Over.

It's over. I've been away a while, friends and fans of weather, but it was here the last week or so as it was most places—one last breath of cool before the onslaught. On Saturday they graduated the wee ones over at the puppet show on as cool a mortarboarded morning as I can recall, though even in that seventy-some degrees you could feel the coming heat.

To the good: Tomatoes in the ground, and basil, and a little squash and okra. Marigolds to keep the bugs back. Looks like storms today and tomorrow to get all of that well watered in. But the weekend—look at it. They say 89 now. That means they know better, but don't want to crush us yet. We'll need ice in a bucket, I think, and tiny beers. Box fans on the porch. Bug spray and sunscreen. Probably ought to go on and mow the lawn this morning—better now than then. This is the new planning of the new season: How to kill things the least.

A possum walked along the top of the fenceline two feet from my office window last night late, looked in at me with a total kind of calm. Scared the hell out of me. Go ahead and start moving more slowly, was I think the point. Conserve while you can. Ready yourself. Repair the garden hose.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coming Soon.

New grass in the dug-up and roped-off dog-pee spot; new dog-pee spot just off the eastern corner of the ropes. Something eastern in the philosophy of all that.

The weather holds cool, jeans-cool, even yet. May twelve. They want warm end of next week. Rain first. Best to start enjoying these cool nights as the last cool nights -- there can't be much of this left.

Soon tomatoes. Soon whatever it is I can't remember from last year that reseeded in the front flowers will bloom. Soon weeding. Soon a little mulch. Soon less painting and more yard. Soon none of any of that, and ass in chair out there in the shed. Soon the new novel. Soon the one after that.

The Toad's in sentences. He's brushing his teeth. Asking questions. Becky's flowers across the street are coming in for the third time this year. First a thousand daffodils. Then a thousand iris. Now daylilies and roses and zinnias. We can't keep up. All we can do is look out the front window, tell the Toad to tell the Becky Flowers moches choches, his version of buenas noches.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Baby Birds.

It was in the fifties already by the time I made it out this morning, but the airport is reporting a bottomed-out low of 48 in the five and six o'clock hours -- I am not totally sure that my behavior warrants weather this good on the eleventh of May, but I'll take it. I will for sure and certain take it. Low humidity. Wee breeze. Fledged wrens and grackles and robins everywhere. Everything green on green. Daylilies trying to bloom, though in this cool they may slow a bit. Volunteer tomato in the front flowers: for now we'll leave it, I think. Why the hell not a tomato in with the lantana and dianthus and petunias?

The morning's great crisis: a lost toy ambulance. I just tore the house apart door to door and then found it where I'd looked five times already, in the toy kitchen, of course, on the bottom back shelf, nosed just over and up against the wall. On the heels of this great victory, then, an all-windows-down trip to the big box for another try-out quart of paint for the shed, another color indistinguishable from the last, one that this time will ideally make me almost think I can sort of see an exceptionally light grey -- this instead of the one that's swathed up there now, which almost makes me think I can sort of see an exceptionally light tannish pink. It's a big decision, the color of one's built-by-hand vaulted-ceilinged writing shed. Walls and ceiling all the same color. That I've got it down to three almost-white paint chips I can't quite tell apart is a matter for another time, a time when it's not so crushingly beautiful out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Amendment One.

The state votes today to choose slates of bankrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle to face one another in November, and also almost certainly to amend our constitution to drag us back to pre-Civil War days by codifying, with malice aforethought, the utterly stupid notion that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman. Or another way: the utterly stupid, backward, and hurtful notion that a bunch of rabid Christians-in-name-only would know better how all of us ought live our lives than we ourselves would. Or: fifteen or fifteen hundred asswipe white guys in suits terrified of what—difference? complexity? evolution? the need for thought and consideration? an ever-changing world? each other?—have had their own marriages so deeply and irrevocably scarred by reruns of Will & Grace on the goddamn Hallmark channel that they just can't take it any more, and instead of hiding from the world, or even praying about it, they do this. This. This thing. I am filled with rage, and with sorrow. This is my state. By democratic choice, we do this. All of us. We are all of us guilty of this thing, this vote, this law, this amendment. This is now the truth we hold to be self-evident.

In other news, the weather is beautiful, gray and cool and with enough up on the radar that one can hold out hope for lightning strikes and flash flood, hope for an Old Testament vengeance even as we know what's called for is a New Testament forgiveness. That it's those of us on this side of the vote who know that, and not the folks waving their bibles so hard, is a cruel irony, but there it is.

Or maybe we look to the skies and hope for miracles. Or for the bright light of a new day after this one. Or just for peace.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Heat Again.

Hot. Bang. Like that, ninety degrees. Close to, anyway. 89 in the shade of my porch yesterday and today both. I've had to water the new grass, the front flowers. The ferns went crispy. Tonight there was a little cool breeze coming off a thunderstorm riding just north of the state line, but it wasn't even close enough to hear, which is fine -- less heartbreak. Is May 3 too early to worry about total rainfall? To try to remember the last time it rained?

The writing shed: primed. White like snow blindness in there. I love it. Like all of my projects, I'm kicking myself for not having done it sooner. Still: new walls, new new novel, or the idea of one. And this old new novel due back red-inked from the editor any day, or any week, at least. And I'm reading. And less homicidal. Rewrite a novel in sixty frantic days on the heels of 150 days of misery and maybe the only place to land is better, saner. That or at the bottom of a ravine. Flip a coin. See which you get.

Baby bird season here -- in all the curved letters over at the building supply, and in those crispy front porch ferns. This year I'm watering a little bit anyway, trying to be careful, trying not to wet the nests, but trying not to lose the plants altogether. And I'd been doing fine until it turned so hot. Those first sets ought to fledge some time shortly -- they're in both ferns -- and then the birds can get at the business of going around again. Just like the rest of us. Just like everything. It's May again. It's hot again. Two nights ago the hot hung on past dark, threatened July. That's coming, too.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taking Stock.

What to know: That it's the same temperature inside the house as out, that we ride warmish days for the next few, that Thursday brings something that looks a lot like ninety. That the Sunday Roast was for the first time this year superceded by a larger roast, a thrown-together cookout, three families, kids, beers in cans, tears and games, this backlit suburban life we choose and choose and choose. Yates, Cheever, Carver:  They weren't wrong, necessarily. But here we are, and on purpose.

Some species of moth got uncocooned this week. Black with white and orange spots. We watched them mating, frantic, while we ate. While the kids chased their own lone frantic circles.

The mint is in. Has been. Is holding on.

There are junebugs. There's one, anyway, on the back kitchen window.

And we aim for May. For summer. For earnest days of heat-slowed oblivion, of hanging on, the novelty of it running almost to the Fourth of July, and then the long, long summer haul afterwards, back towards school, but also to fire, to sleet, to sleeves. Look at me. The tomatoes aren't even in the ground and this is what I'm after. We haven't even bought basil. Set a squash in the ground. Searched the back garden for oregano.

It's an odder fear I have this year—of summer, of August, of stillness, of flat hot days sliding one to the next. Maybe it's the kid. Maybe it's the two gallons of primer I've got out back. I'm ready, finally, to paint the shed. To do what I said I'd do. Prime it white to paint it white. May. May is coming. I wrote so long and so many times about April being March that this feels like it's snuck up on me. Like I maybe missed it, or skimmed over it. Another month. Here we go. Again.

Earnest talk tonight about whether a cooler of beer could be further cooled by the addition of rock salt to the ice. There seemed to be general agreement that the idea, no matter its merits, should be attempted. For science, if for nothing else. This is summer. This is what's coming. This is one thing, anyway.

It did not rain this weekend. Grass seed's up in the lawn. Sleep tight, Weatherheads.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seek Shelter.

It all looked so fierce coming in, and we went night-dark here in the eleven a.m. hour, and then: well, not quite nothing, but not quite anything else, either. Rumbles of thunder. Lightning. No hail. No real wind. The NWS wanted boaters taking shelter immediately. Had we been in a boat here at 709, we'd have been largely fine, immediate shelter or no.

Sunny now. Classic spring pattern, even if we are warming toward those summertime eighty degrees the fancies forecast us. Cool again through the end of the week. Outside chance at another fire over the weekend. Prettiest April I can off the top of my head recall. Or maybe just the most deserved. I'll say it again: March had me unhappy. But April? April brings crazy hope. Or brought. Enjoy these few days we've got left.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Good Book.

I keep thinking last fire of the season, and then we keep getting one more half-forecast day of chilly gray fire weather. This morning's result was free and free: We got close to our forecast high by the time 5:00 rolled around, but through the Toad's nap we were cold, drizzly and showery, log after log into the stove, and I only had to open the windows there at the end. Termites in the shed means I'm happy to burn logs off the woodpile here at the desperate tail end of the season. Happy, too, to sit out there and read and not write: draft off to the fancies; time here to burn, so to speak. And a book I may like, after I'd quit liking books, quit liking liking, even. More on this at a later date. For now: Rain overnight? Warmer? Hard to tell what season this is, so hard to make any kind of forecast. I rolled the windows up on the truck. Let's call that a hunch.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gift Cold.

See-your-breath cold out there. Rain all day. Clearing now, or trying to. The mint in my glass feels like cheating, like anachronism, like stolen Christmas cookies out of the shirt boxes of saran-wrapped cookies my great-aunt brought to Atlanta every year. Do it right and no one knows you were there, no one knows you ate another cocoa ball. Also, I used to sip maple syrup directly from the jug, which lived back left in our refrigerator. This was circa 1990. The syrup was also courtesy of my great-aunt. Big brown jug. Like gold. Like crime. The exhilaration so much a part of it.

Thirty-seven degrees is what they want for tomorrow night. The record low, as near as I can tell, is 33. I like this. Record highs I can take or leave. Hell, we'll see plenty in the coming months and years. Record low: Yes please.

Felt like it rained a couple of inches today. Probably it was only one or so. The downhill mouse's gutters overran all afternoon, but not so hard that you wanted to do much other than take note. This is how we measure now, post-Toad. I gave up the rain gauge. Now I use gut feel, sleight-of-hand, anecdotal evidence.

I have flowers that need to go in. I'm about to start thinking about tomatoes. For now, though: Bedroom window open half an inch, covers pulled up high. Thanks, April. I didn't know you cared.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Unseasonable Season.

More on this tomorrow, friends and fans of weather, but since I've been away, I wanted to let you know: the days have been a string of beauty, chilly enough from time to time for a little fire out back, April continuing along March's line, fine by me since March was May. We warmed into the end of the week here, hit eighty today, and now we're seeing what they've been calling for, though it's been hard to believe—big electrical storm in the seven o'clock hour and now it's cooling, cooling, headed for a forecast high tomorrow below sixty, below what the temp is out there now. A high in the fifties. On April 22nd. With rain, they say. Do we eat chili one last time? Drink red wine while it simmers? These are fine questions for a Saturday evening. Think I'll maybe add one icecube here and mull it all over.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Potential Significance.

It's a busy radar out there, folks, and a forecast 20-degree falloff -- I like it in the way I like all weather but August's, in that something's up. In August we bake and hold. In most other seasons we shift and slide. I like the shift and slide. Grass seed in the lawn, windows pinned up where they need pinning: This is April the way we want it. We'll warm again through the end of the week, and the fancies are warning of something serious for the weekend. A 'potentially significant storm system,' is what they were saying this afternoon. Very well. We'll try to make ready. Beer and coffee. Clean the gutters. Prepare thyself. Get that seed rooted. It could be washed away.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Days.

Here we go: aimed solidly for eighty degrees, and the wind just picked up a touch of that warmth after a long morning of carrying cooler-than-expected temps through these windows. The mosquitoes are trying to set in. Still, last night, eating hotdogs with the boy on the back deck, a half-sized beer in my hand and a full-sized sippy cup of milk in his, things were good. Calm. Pretty. The lawn was mowed. We'd been playing in it. Enjoy this, I told him. Hold on. Right now it's fun that it's summer. In June, when it finally is summer and we've all turned homicidal, we'll want to remember these days when we were happy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Home Opener.

The Braves have won four after losing four. Eight games in and we're as average as can be, but looking better. Baseball's on the radio. Cookout in the back yard tonight: first mosquitos, 8 oz. can beers, chicken in store-brand italian dressing—gently charred and dressed up on sandwiches with avocado, crisped prosciutto, roasted peppers, the season's first Vidalias. Fancy lowbrow. Huge storms in the center of the country. Desperate warming tranquility here. The eighties are coming. Back. Windows open. The kid in the yard hollering, running. Finding everything again. The mint in, in full. One last icecube. Bats. I've been away, Weatherheads, but our weather has been holding steady, no new news, one last shot of spring before we return to apocalypse. Too often these entries become laundry lists. Too often that's all I know to say. It's nice to be back at this, though, still nice, a kind and gentle thing, a little lonely prayer I still know all the words to. Warmer tomorrow. Warmer still the day after that. Then we drop back some, try to remember. Maybe a bit of rain. Maybe some thunder.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April Warning.

Could it really freeze? This far into April? After the March we had? I'll tell you this, Weatherheads: I'll trade the tulips I have right now, and even the foot-tall gladiolas, for something that knocks the coming mosquitapocalypse back a week or two. We've been living in this blessed hinterland of bugless days for far too long already, borrowed time, etcetera, amen—but leave all that, OK? This means fires, real fires, in the woodstove, one last time. Maybe even hats. Again I say unto you, believers: It always gets cold in April. I had given up hope. I am not saying I have hope again. I am only saying it may freeze. I am only saying this is the weather I remember. The altar at which I worship. House finches have nested in the ferns. If you aren't worried about the house finches, worried they'll freeze, then you might as well not have house finches at all. What is the nesting season without freeze? Oh, and the ferns? Fret not. They can take it. Hell, they can take house finches. Watch the skies, friends and fans of weather. Watch the mercury.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Weekend.

There was a frost advisory overnight, though I don't think we saw any of that here in the big city. That was for the country mice. No matter: I sit here in an empty house, the Toad and AMR gone for the weekend so I can make yet one more push on this book, and I'm sipping the first cup of coffee and waiting for the fire to take good hold outside. The shed's chilly. Beautifully so. This is that April chill I'd become so certain we'd never see again. Maybe we're righting the ship here on the Piedmont.

I've always thought a sunrise service ought to be a complicated thing to dress for. I've not always thought about such a thing the way I do now, which is to say that I'm no longer much of a service attendee, sunrise or no, but this time of year does ring the bells of memory a little bit, reminds one at the very least of the importance of ritual. It always gets cold here in April. Always. Only I thought it had quit. So nice to see it back again, same as always. So nice to be reminded that belief gets simpler and more complicated with every passing year.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Low Sixties.

What gift is this? Can it really be 61 and sunny on the heels of five(ish) weeks of heat? Did we just trade, straight out, March for April, and no one said anything? And Opening Day, to boot. I remember other cold April ballgames in this town, rainy ones, and my other commitments tonight make me so sad I can't huddle up downtown with an overpriced beer and a flannel I've dug back out to watch the Bats do whatever it is they do. In the rain. Check that radar, friends and fans of weather. Rain coming. As if this day couldn't get any better. The weather's so good that I almost don't mind that I have to go to the puppet show. On sabbatical. Almost. Maybe the windows down on the ride in will help. Maybe. Still: 61. It's clouded over since I started these sentences. No matter. 61.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fool April.

A hailstorm, out of nowhere, welcomed April in around midnight Saturday night—and we've been pretty since, and we're pretty now, in the midst of an evening thunderstorm, gentle but for the dog afeared of the thunder. The ferns are off their hooks and out in the front walk getting unthirstied. The way the dog's shaking says it's about to rain harder, and so does the radar, but don't trust the radar after dark. Trust only the dog. And she's 104, so her instruments are, shall we say, less finely tuned, but then here comes the rain—

Termites in the writing shed, which I'm saying is a good thing, on balance—that building needed a bug person with a bug truck to come out and do bug things on a regular basis, and now it has to happen. And it's not a million termites, at least not yet. It's ten. So far there have been ten. I'm not hoping there are only ten, but it could have been a million.

That's April. I'm your fool. Until next time, Weatherheads.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

April Showers.

In and out the same way: far too warm. On the front side it felt gifted, odd. Here on the 31st it feels like the tail of a month of plain strangeness, of someone else's weather, of our weather two months too soon. Storms in the area. Pollen all over the porch. An afternoon of small chores giving way to this gray sky, to what time there is left in the Toad's nap. Maybe my own nap. Maybe just ten empty minutes.

We'll bounce all through the seventies this coming week. Some nights cool, some nights not. Decent chance of rain every other day or so. And that's about how it was all of March, except for those few stretches of days where it wasn't. We'll see what April brings. Showers, I hear.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Upward Trend.

Already you know you were wrong about the weather: Stick the top half of your body out the door to see what's what, and then it's back upstairs to find a thinner shirt and some shorts for the Toad. Them long-legged pants will not cut it on the playground today, mister.

An early-summer heat is back in the sun—it's not hot out there, but it will be, or close to it, and suddenly the various fancies seem in disagreement about the coming five days. The national TV still has us mid-seventies. The government bumped us to the low eighties. Eric Chilton's kid attends the Toad's school, so let's go with News2: Upper seventies. See? A nice clean compromise. A too-hot-by-five-or-eight-degrees compromise, but a compromise all the same. Keep it tuned here, of course, to find out who was right, only much too much after the fact to have done anything about it. We remain, steadfastly and as always, your only source for Triad weather after it happens.

Are you in need of more, WeatherHeads? Do you need to know about the irises blooming around the corner, the pin oaks leafed out, the new shade on the walk to daycare? The quarter-inch of pollen on the front porch? The carpenter bees so fat they're like marbles? The nagging feeling that we're edging up against drought, this past weekend's hailstorm notwithstanding? No. Probably you don't need to know all that. Probably you need a forecast. Here: go buy something to plant. Make sure there's beer in the fridge for the five o-clock hour. Stop writing about the damn outside and go outside.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nearly Perfect.

We've got thin clouds riding by out there, folks, and warming temperatures. This morning was flannel weather, this afternoon flip-flops. We're settling into a pattern I'm too afraid to call spring. I don't want to scare it off. But: outside of next Monday, when they want to bump us over 80 again, all ten days in the ten-day look like windows open day and night. Keep the can beers cold, and keep the coffee beans at the ready. Plot and plan ways to get the pollen off the front porch. Walk the dog. Watch the maples leaf out seemingly by the moment. It's nearly April. Maybe we can stop calling this the apocalypse, and just try to enjoy it. Check back with me in late June when high tide'll be in my front lawn, but for now, I have to go outside.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cool Morning.

Today was a day of both seasons: late winter and early spring. Friends around the corner and down the hill report morning frost. The Toad slept through the nine o'clock hour, so I happily -- outside of his ongoing contagion -- can't confirm. Fire in the shed while AMR watched the sick Toad, who can now say 'sick Toad.' Then: A slow low burn into the afternoon, everything so green now, so bursting -- we seem almost through the bloom. The irises are left. The rhododendrons. Some of the azaleas. Not much else. Warmer through the next 30ish hours, then cool, then warm. More seasonal, if you will, than we have been. Spring. Sort of. What's left of it, at least. The hosta are up. Do with that what you will.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Away.

Go away for the weekend and this is what I get? Gently hail-damaged daylilies, Venus and Jupiter and the moon lined up in the clear western evening sky, a continuing breeze, half the humidity, a lawn to mow, and a frost warning? I'll take it. We're still too warm, but this is better. This you can wear jeans in. This will slow the azaleas just enough. Tomorrow morning wants to be cold enough for a true, full-stove fire out in the shed. Yes, the Toad comes back from the beach with contagious bacterial conjunctivitis, but let's keel our way along the positive side of the shoal for now, shall we?

About the beach: When the front made it that far east Saturday night, it pushed a storm apart as it came across the island, broke blue sky out behind the rain even as it was raining -- and right at sunset, delivering maybe the best light I've ever seen. Orange. Crayon orange. You had to just stand there and stare at it, not believe it, stare at it anyway.

The dogwood blooms flashbulb white. I bought a string trimmer. The joy of last fall's purchase of a first-pull mower still hasn't totally receded. The yard is full of weeds and clover. The Toad has a massive fever and makes jokes anyway. We have limes in the house, and whiskey, though those two things don't go together. Tomorrow's trash day. The Toad loves trash day, loves the trucks. Basura, he says, even from his crib. Basura. Basura. Basura guck.

And baseball's coming.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vernal Machine.

Open the windows at night and still the house won't quite cool off. Tulips blooming. The dogwood. Grass in need of mowing, and it's only been five days. Birds and birds. Robins and cardinals calling the evening down, mockingbirds bringing the next round of eighty degrees up out of the fog we see each morning. Finches. Wrens. Pollen. Black ants. Bees. Still a week of March left. Still all of April. Thunderstorms. Humidity. Coffee. Cold beer. Sound of lawn equipment. Sound of chop saws. Sound of the air handler atop the State Employees Credit Union. All the shades of green there are.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter Ends.

That, friends and fans of weather, was quite a show. I'm not sure it'd be accurate to say the whole thing moved northwest to southeast -- mainly it built back on itself and hit us again and again with lighting -- but it was enough to land the dog in my lap from right around supper until right around now, enough to have the Toad staring off to the north from the porch just-pre-bedtime, convinced the thunder was a drum. After it was all but done, lighting hit somewhere just south, between the steeple and the college, had me ducking and flinching in the kitchen window. Winter's over. There is no spring. This was the summer pattern we hope so hard for -- in late July.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday School.

I think we have to call it like it is: three months from now we'd be saying it was a heat wave, and a heat wave that hung on and on. We're seven days in and the forecast has seven more like this. Ten more, if you want to believe that far ahead. Next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday -- the 25th on, if you will, and even if you won't -- certain of the fancies dip us into the forties at night, which may be enough for morning fires in the shed. Still, they put us back in the seventies during the day, which is what? Ten degrees above average? Fifteen? What we're having is an instant bloom: my cherry tree bloomed overnight. Everything's blooming and wilting in days, not weeks. We're living in a time-lapse film. I mowed the lawn. I found a gladiola, of all things, three inches out of the ground in the front garden. Yes, it's beautiful out there. Yes, we grilled in the back yard tonight for the Sunday Roast. Yes, these open windows all these nights satisfy some core urge I'd nearly forgotten pulled at me. But aren't -- weren't -- we supposed to be ascetic a little longer? All this feels unearned. Undeserved. If I celebrated Lent, I'd say we were most certainly doing it wrong.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Because Because.

I had to rush home from the liquor store -- having bought gin two months early because I'd been to the grocery to buy limes because that's what weather we're having -- to close up the big double doors on the writing shed because it had started storming. In other news, Weatherheads, I think daylight savings time came ten days early this year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Low Spot.

Like a song sung again and again: every spring I ride into work, and at the creek-dip in the land that used to be Brightwood Farm and is now Brightwood Minimansions & Plywood Townhomes, LLC, I remember: cool air really does settle. I'm sure it's that way in winter, too, but windows-down in forty degrees, which is about all we could muster this winter, is still too chilly to notice the difference. Both in and back last night, a quick fact-checking drive and one of the very few I hope to make while gloriously on sabbatical, it was a good five degrees cooler in that hollow. I'd have tendered the horses down in there, too, if that's what they did with horses way back when. I'm not much for knowing what you do or did with horses.

Windows open here in the kitchen, and the little addition around the corner hammers and table-saws its way along. Birds. The season's first carpenter bees working the back eaves. The willows have popped leaves. Our dogwood is showing color. So is an azalea down the hill. There's a fierce storm complex up west and north of Galax, trying, maybe, to drag down over the mountains, but though it's on the radar, no one here, suited fancy or other, is making mention of it. Still: If we're going to be eighty degrees and change, which we are, I'd maybe hold a finger up into the breeze this afternoon once it's quittin' time. Crack open a cold one, if a cold one is your wont, and just listen out and see if there's any rumbling over the top of all this other spring.

It's far too warm. It's crazy warm. But yesterday late afternoon, in that warm breeze and low humidity and the locker-room smell of the Bradford pears, it was, i have to admit, very hard to complain.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hot Town.

I don't want to complain, and probably when I'm front-porched one of these daylight-savingsed afternoons watching the dogwood bloom a week and a half early, I won't, but there's something unnerving about this:

Friends and fans of the turn of season, it is March. Early March, at that. I have a third of a cord of wood left. Who knows when I'll need to burn a fire in the shed again? Do I need to get the upstairs A/C checked? Do we have Toad clothes for warm weather? Give me, give me, give me the good afternoons, OK? Let's even touch 65, touch 70. Lawn chairs. High Life Light. Dog in the grass. Toad in the mower gas, or whatever else deadly is nearby. But shouldn't I still need some kind of long-sleeved situation once the sun goes down? Shouldn't I still, in some way, have to prepare?

No winter. No real winter and now this. The Japanese magnolias are cranking up all over town, but their color doesn't seem quite right. The pink ones are dusty. This is like the autumns we get after killer Augusts. This is March without any true February. Mosquitoes—mosquitoes are what's next. We're all going to die. We're all going to die, and then there will be mosquitoes. I could take 77 degrees one day this week. One day would pull people blinking out into their yards to see what the hell was happening. One day would mean dragging the cooler up from the basement to revel in accident before the freezing rain arrived. March is supposed to tease you, supposed to offer up occasional glory. But give me six or ten days in the seventies, and it's not a show any more. It's not special. It's not impressive. It just feels trashy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cold Front.

The feeling here at ANYLF is this: It may rain. It may swing 40 or so degrees. March: Same song, third or fourth verse. We're located, by the by, for those of you just tuning in, off to the North Carolinaed right of all that mess.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crow Moon.

Cool enough this morning for a fire; warm enough by this afternoon that I was in shirtsleeves splitting stove wood for the weekend. All the weathers. All the time. This is March as I remember it, except under what I now know is the Crow Moon. Or not except: the March moon is always the Crow Moon, apparently. So some other word. Also, the light. Also, both temperatures on the breeze. Also, the Toad outside at the by-the-ounce yogurt place this afternoon. The Toad saying Jupiter, saying Venus. Seventy degrees tomorrow. All else over the next few days.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Early March.

We started cold, but even in that cold, you could feel this: an afternoon a few degrees warmer than they said it would be, the yard greening over almost as you watch, spring training baseball coming through on the old wi-fi. The corner apartments have their landscaping guys out doing something with string trimmers and leaf blowers. Right now the Toad's coming out of his nap half an hour early, singing about the moon and about the park to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle. We are in the place where all songs bend inexorably toward Twinkle, Twinkle. And can you blame him, by the way? The Toad? For waking up early? You want to be outside when it turns like this, so suddenly—yesterday was winter. Today is assuredly not. Today is a day for songs. Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. How I wonder what you are.

We'll hit sixty tomorrow. We'll push seventy the day after that, then tilt cool again. These are the weeks where we wear all the clothes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Clear Sky.

The Sunday Roast had not gone well. The Toad is nearly two, and sometimes remembers that, acts like it. She took him for his bath and I walked out the front door into the cold of the evening to get the box of diapers from the car, and there it was, that thought I'd had so frequently sixteen, eighteen, twenty months ago: I could just keep walking. It was never a thoroughly honest impulse—even in those dark first few months, as summer dried us to ash and the Toad reordered every piece of what I'd ever known, I knew I'd turn around, walk back in the door—but it was right there anyway, that not-quite need to flee. And then I looked up, and hanging in the eastern sky, well below the moon, was Mars, glowing truly red, not the half-tone it sometimes is, and the rest of the sky was planetarium-field-trip clear, and my first thought was, I have to go in, go get him, show him this.

He likes the sky, likes what's in it. I have tried not to love him. I tried again tonight.

There's an outside shot at the lightest of overnight snows. Because it is the weather, I tell you this.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weather Alert.

The fog is so thick out there that at first I thought for sure the steeple lights had burned out. My best guess: we were stove-cold all day, never even close to the high they wanted for us, and now, late, we're finally trying for it, warming up the kettle just in time for whatever's been pounding the Tennessee Valley all afternoon to get here overnight and early morning and trouble us some. Out there they had tornadoes, devastation, evening-news type of weather. Here they're warning of that, but obliquely, in the kind of way that makes you think the suited fancies think there's a chance, but that those selfsame folks are probably sleeping at home instead of at the studio. Except here's the Weather Channel's breathless magenta prediction:

So maybe the locals are busting out the NewsChannel SuperDoppler feetsuits and sleeping cots, after all. And one wants to say sensationalism, ratings, lunacy, wants to pine for the days of the old Weather Channel, when it was about the weather, and not about whatever hashtagged tweeted bullshit it seems to be about now, but the NOAA folks are warning the same:


And maybe it's best to go with no commentary whatsoever, no color-coding, no nothing:

That's a big storm.

So. To recap: Fog. A great stillness. Crazy, scary weather back on the other side of the Appalachians. That line headed this way. To see a picture of somebody's roof blown off is to recenter the mind. Hold on tight, as always, back west. Keep an eye to the sky and an ear to the window, as always, here in the viewing area. You don't need to paint your bedroom severe-weather-red, but crack a window, maybe, so you'll hear what's coming, just in case something is.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Country Husband.

I don't think it hit eighty, but if it did, it didn't count: the humidity was so low that soon after it got dark you wanted for long sleeves, maybe even a hat—we ate outside with neighbors, happy Cheevered suburbanites that we are, reveled in the purity of our friendships, our good fortune. The stars wheeled overhead. The kids did minor, fleeting damages to one another. Wine in glasses, beer in cans. We were backyarded. March 1st. Somebody said snow on Monday. I'm not buying it, but hell: from tonight's vantage point, any forecast seemed possible, seemed like a fine idea.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Dreams.

Dream from two nights ago: a five-story grocery store, with escalators, and Phil Collins on endless loop. On one floor: all dairy.

Dream from last night: a four-story used bookstore and no music, but a seriously intricate interstate system directly next to the bookstore which I had to use to (a) change levels and (b) take the Toad to visit my parents and my cousin, who each lived in different hotels in the bookstore, but at different exits off the interstate.

All my dreams used to be celebrity mashups (see: Sean Connery and Stevie Wonder in a pistol duel in a cul-de-sac; Alan Alda picking nits from my fur). Then, for a period of many years, they were epic adventure chases taking place in massive eat-play-live complexes. Perhaps now I'm moving on to split-level single-purpose retail.

In weather (because why else continue?): Big, big tornadoes back west, so keep an eye on what looks increasingly windy and iffy and roiled out there in 2740X -- we're more than warm enough to spin something into a branches-down thunderstorm, if not worse. The fancies seem to say our big threat will be overnight, but I think maybe don't go anywhere, whether to bed or just to the grocery, however many levels it may have, without having a quick look at the radar. Or the sky. If it's February, friends and fans of the reconfigured USDA hardiness zones, it must mean springtime tornadoes. So what if it's only February on a technicality. It's still February.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flesh Wound.

Well, in advance of what could be one of the last half-cold snaps late this weekend and into next, in between the space breaks this morning I camp-axed some red oak into pencils for kindling, and in so doing sent a tiny smithereen into my right bird-giving finger, which, since I am a hunt-and-pecker, is also, as it turns out, my dominant o-p-k-l-j-i-m-n-y finger, among other prominent letters. Damn you, high school self, for half-assing typing. But thanks, middle-school and high-school self, self-appointed surgeon to the younger twin brothers, flamer of needles, digger-outer of splinters. A difficult typing afternoon, friends and fans of the just-resucitated novel, has been maybe ameliorated by the sewing needle and the tweezers.

My finger still hurts, I told AMR. Do you want to do something about it? she asked. And so I did.

Why have a blog if not to report the shockingly, aggressively mundane? In other news, Eric Chilton's kid goes to my kid's preschool, it snapped warm today, it'll rain and snap warmer tomorrow, and warmer still on Thursday. The lawns green. The Toad uses verbs. The novel's not dead. I also use that finger for punctuation. I surgered it (sure it's a word) right before I sat down here, and already it feels better. Long-lost Weatherheads of the interwebs, I tell you this: tomorrow is a free day. A leap day. The moon keeps hanging itself into the western evening sky alongside Venus and Jupiter in a way that makes one want to say something about it. We are warmer and warmer. We have not passed out of kindling season. We may not need kindling for days.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring Storm.

The above is a current-temp snapshot from 4 pm Friday, one way to look at the storm that blew through and landed us two beautiful crisp days and now this one, a low drizzly slog in the forties. Today's a Guilford County teacher workday, sadly and not sadly, meaning no preschool, and so no work in the shed, but also meaning a reasonably lovely Toadbound morning first at the Children's Museum (airplane, slide, fear of fire and mail trucks) and then at the little downtown pub that tries so hard. I want it to be slightly better, the pub, but I also partly want it to be a half-mile walk from some tube stop in out-of-the-way London, which makes me a simpering asswipe, so perhaps I should just shut up and be thankful. And they make a fine soup. Actually, more than one. As for the Friday storm, in case you missed it: beautiful, all the wind in the world, many untethered items blown around the front and back yard, a very thin line of storms at suppertime and then sun again, and those plummeting temperatures. Yes, it was thirty degrees colder in Jefferson than in Greensboro at 4. Yes, it was thirty degrees colder in Greensboro by nightfall.

They want to give us spring back, friends and fans of weather, beginning tomorrow. I've seen Japanese magnolias starting to bloom here and there. The daffodils may already be past peak. All of this is weeks and weeks early. Still, Friday, when it was so warm, when I had the double doors thrown wide open in the shed, when every now and then (and finally, finally) the sentences weren't like bloodletting, and when that good breeze blew, I felt ready. It's one thing to have a warm December and January, which we did. It's unearned, among other things. It's quasiapocalyptic. It's another, though, to make it to late February and have it snap springlike again. By then—by now—you start to feel a little readier. Maybe you shouldn't, but you do.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Local Forecast.

And it did storm—can I off the top of my head remember a February thunderstorm?—through midnight, big wind, big rain, not for long, but still. Enough to make you pine for the weather even as it was ongoing, if you were the sort to do such a thing, which etcetera, and so, internet, hello, the weather returns. That which you least need—yesterday's forecast for the 2740X—returns. What else do you require for now? I still need my sea legs back, so I'll report only this for this evening: It was warm enough tonight to think that burgers on the grill might be a good idea, and it was. Or they were. The Toad's window upstairs is open an inch or two. He's dead asleep. It's February. We ate as a family. We're a damn sitcom. Tonight, on a very special episode of ANYLF, burgers. Fake spring. Cooler over the weekend. Keep it tuned here. Good night and good luck, Mrs. Whoever-you-are, wherever you are. Wind, they say. So watch for that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's Storming.

It's late February. We had no real winter. The dog's freaked because a line of storms seems to be coming through. It rumbled out there a minute ago. I'm back. I thought I was done, but I'm back.