Weather (noun) 1.the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc.; (verb) to bear up against and come safely through (as in a storm, danger, trouble) --Random House Dictionary
That’s it. I’m moving to San Diego.
Packing up my suitcase with shorts and sunscreen, my golf clubs and my bike. I’m leaving behind all my bulky sweaters and clunky snow boots and well worn snow shovels, all my flashlights and candles for power failures too, my long johns as well. I’m done with weather in New England.
And oh San Diego…with an average daily temperature of 72 degrees, more than 250 days of sunshine and only 12 inches of rain per year, San Diego is weather nirvana, one of the ten best weather cities in the United States according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Can you hear it calling, a sultry song of sweet breezy warm days and clear cool nights? Afternoons spent on a sunny veranda, sipping a cool drink watching the whitecaps break on the Pacific.
And no hurricanes. No tornadoes. No floods. No wacky October snowstorms. And no snow. Not a flake. The last time any measurable snow fell in San Diego was 1967. I’m told people there actually love their weather, brag about it. San Diego meteorologists have the most boring of jobs: “Sunny and seventy!” day after day. Yes, I’ll have to change my ways as a longtime New Englander. Give up my pasty white mid-winter complexion for a tanned and toned California grin. I’ll have to root for the Padres rather than the Red Sox, wear those silly Hawaiian shirts and even drop the occasional “dude!” into daily conversation. I’ll make that sacrifice.
I’m just not sure I can take one more weather whack in this year of freakish storms and atmospheric anomalies here in New England. First there was “THE WINTER”, this year’s unrelenting pummeling by Mother Nature in our coldest months. Eighty point one inches of the white stuff dumped from the skies, double our average amount. The storms were doozies: five major events alone in December and January, with an especially cruel blizzard hitting on the day after Christmas, stranding thousands of folks with their ruined holiday plans. Merry Christmas…ugh.
Driving around my neighborhood last February I was Nanook of the North, navigating my pathetically skidding compact car around 15 foot high snow drifts that framed the street like ice cold prison walls. Three times last winter the snow in my driveway was so deep I had to park at the bottom of the hill and trek on up, praying, hoping that the snow plow would come soon and rescue me. Remember?
So no more. I give up. Uncle. Game over. I surrender.
The tornadoes in June. Hurricane Irene in August. Floods of biblical proportions. A record breaking Halloween storm, which weirdly was only two weeks removed from ninety degree temperatures Columbus Day weekend, another record. Fall foliage which never seemed to show up. Power outages, hundreds of thousands of folks living in the dark for days and even weeks at a time.
With only seven weeks left in 2011, I’m getting nervous. What’s next? Hail? Drought? Pestilence—I have no idea what that last word means but hey we’re on a roll, right and anything is possible?
Mark Twain, who called Hartford his home, nailed it when he said, “I reverently believe that the Maker who made us all makes everything in New England but the weather…The weather is always doing something there…always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go…I could speak volumes about the inhuman perversity of the New England weather…”
But in the end Twain stayed here and called New England his home and I suppose I will too, and we will too. The cliché is that we New Englanders are a hardy bunch and the weather certainly tests our mettle and sanity. At its best it brings us together and reminds us that as neighbors we need each other. The stranger who shows up to clear the driveway, no charge. The young Mom who checks up on her elderly friend. Family who invited family to bunk with them because the lights are out.
Weather always gives us something to talk about, that’s for sure. Our one of a kind sometimes crazy but never boring weather certainly makes this place our unique place in all of God’s Creation. And I couldn’t take all that California cheeriness after all. I’ll stay.
So winter: bring it on. Give us your best shot. We can take it. We’ve weathered your worst and will do so again. But just in case, I’m booking a mid-winter vacation to San Diego. Can anyone lend me a Hawaiian shirt?