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 That the Sunday Roast was for the first time this year superceded by a larger roast, a thrown-together cookout, three families, kids, beers in cans, tears and games, this backlit suburban life we choose and choose and choose.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.