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.