Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Musings On The Freezing Of Water

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.

Ah, the healing power of sleep and the cleansing power of snow.
I have been depressed over the Tuscon rampage but awoke about 5 yesterday morning to the sound of a snowplow down the street from my pied-a-terre and felt more or less refreshed. About six inches of the white stuff had fallen and, like a kid on Christmas morning, there was no way that I was going to go back to bed.

So there I was shoveling myself and my neighbors out by first light, shaking the snow from the bird feeders and throwing a little rock salt under the mailbox so the letter carrier doesn't slip and fall.

* * * * *

I covered wars, famines and lots of crap and corruption during a long newspaper career, copped a few Pulitzer Prize nominations and killed 15 months covering the O.J. Simpson murders and criminal trial, but nothing that appeared under my byline
attracted as much interest as when I wrote about the weather as a young reporter.
Yes, the weather.
My moment of greatest journalistic glory came during the winter of 1977-78 when temperatures pretty much stayed below freezing in the Middle Atlantic states from Christmas Eve through St. Patrick's Day, prompting me to call it "the coldest winter since the Ice Age" in one of my daily dispatches.
While my editor winced before allowing that bit of hyperbole to make it into print, it was a great hit out on the hustings and I found friends and acquaintances introducing me to their friends and acquaintances as "the guy who writes about the weather."
No such recognition, let alone adulation, greeted my Pulitzer-level accomplishments and while it was not exactly downhill career-wise from 1978 on out, those halcyon days as "the guy who writes about the weather" come to mind as I wait for the Motrin to kick in and soothe my aching back.

* * * * *

Would we get six inches, a foot, 18 inches or two feet?
That is why you gotta love the weather. Despite armies of meteorologists with armadas of supercomputers, forecasting remains a guessing game, pre-Snowmageddon panic shopping for toilet paper and milk (no matter how much you already have) is as predictable as the weather isn't, and many a conversation opens with an exchange on what the heavens are expected to deliver.
The deliveries last winter have been bass ackwards, or in meterologist lingo "backwards snowstorms."
This is because areas to the north and west of Philadelphia which traditionally get much more snow than areas to the south and east have instead gotten much less. The winter of 2009-2010 was the first winter on record with two snow storms of at least 20 inches in northern Delaware while there has been a total of less than a foot at the Kiko's House mountain retreat.

This winter has not been without its surprises, including a Christmas Week blizzard in New York City that the DF&C and I experienced first hand. And of this writing every state except Florida has seen some snowfall.
Photograph by Katpster

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