Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A picture from the archives, February 2012 in Aroostook County, during a beautiful winter walk
The cold descends.  Today the high is not forty degrees, which is all right.  I keep thinking about my quest, in college, to believe that all weather is beautiful.  In its own way, of course.  When I think about that first year, 1995-96, my first winter since I was three, and one of the coldest on record in Chicago—trekking a mile across a wind-bitten campus through ice to send an email in the computer lab to my parents, twelve time zones away, in tropical sunshine—maybe believing that all weather is beautiful was my one defense.

If nothing else, the weather here is alien.  As an adolescent I was bewildered by the joke that one could always talk about the weather.  In Southeast Asia, there’s nothing to talk about.  Here, in Massachusetts, in New England, the weather is a constant threat, a constant source of anxiety, an endless well for conversation.

I hate it.  I hate having to think about the weather when discussing how far to drive on a certain day, to think of adventure and excursions as being limited by condition of roads, to think about sun in connection to laundry.  I don’t want to make a decision based on weather.  By contrast, in Thailand, in paradise, it is ninety degrees and sunny every day.  The sun rises at six and sets at six, with brutal regularity.  There is no need to carry a coat, nor even own a coat to carry.

So all weather has its own beauty.  The dense fog lifting off the orange-brown of a Plymouth County field.  The cold shuddering from a sleet-filled sky.  The four o’clock late afternoon sun on a brisk fall day.

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