LOCAL VIEW –June Graduations’s Long Light–

June FullSizeRender

There is a strange irony in the fact that, on the very first day of summer, the days start getting shorter. It is a reminder. It as if people grieve the end from the start. It is like crying at a wedding, even when you have a sense the marriage is a good one and could last sixty years.

To me this has always seemed a bit stupid. It is like sulking when flowers bloom, because you know they will someday wither.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some wisdom in being detached, like some Yogi on a mountain peak, and in droning out a mantra of “This too will pass.”.  Nothing on this planet was designed to be permanent, including our physical lives. However that doesn’t keep things from being beautiful, and admirable, and worth emulating.

In terms of romance, I always wanted to emulate my Grandfather. He was of a Puritan, Mayflower, upper-class, Brahmin family, and in 1896, when he was eight years old, he came trotting home from school and announced he had met the girl he was going to marry. The elders found the lad amusing, for the girl was from the wrong side of the tracks. However the childhood friendship endured and they did marry, and still were best friends an amazing eighty years later. It was a most beautiful marriage, but like all things on earth it had to end, and a day finally came when my Grandfather awoke alone.

For some reason my Grandfather’s grief struck me very hard, as a poet aged twenty-five, and I fell into a wallow of morbid gloom, seriously thinking about how pointless life was, and how empty all deeds are, when the results of even the most beautiful love-story is death. I wrote a mournful poem about how our good deeds lose their goodness when they cannot keep Love close. One image in that poem has always remained in my mind as an good example of a good deed that looks foolish in the face of death. It was the image of a man climbing the steps of the gallows, brushing his teeth. (You may borrow it, if you chose.)

However at that age my mood was simply too buoyant to remain morbid very long. I might vow to be serious, and never sing again, but as soon as I stepped into the shower I’d find myself singing like a deranged skylark.

June is like stepping into a shower of light, washing the filth of a dark winter away. How can you not sing?

I’m a lot older now, and much less inclined to be buoyant. I’m bitter, because that’s what life does to you, but I’ve the brains to twist that bitterness towards a wry sense of humor, and make it be a breakfast many don’t mind. After all, grapefruit is bitter, is it not?

But when June comes rolling around it is hard for even an old coot like myself to be properly cantankerous. For one thing, in June everyone makes the end of long friendships, and the shattering of communities, into a celebration. They call it “graduation”. It is a time you are kissing good-bye to friends you have known, and it is often a boot from the community you grew up in, (especially if you graduate in a wealthy town and are not fated to be wealthy). Graduation is actually a sort of death, but everyone acts as if dying is wonderful. The young girls at least have the good sense to cry, but the young men are such boobs they think they have escaped schoolmarms, and are free, free, free at last….until the party is over and they face this gruesome thing called, “Getting a job.” Then they see that freedom isn’t free. Years pass, until they wind up an old coot like me, who knows the glory of graduation is akin to a funeral.

Still, the celebrations of “The End” get to my sentimental side. Perhaps it is because kids do not merely graduate from high-school and college, these days. They graduate from junior high, from grade-school, from kindergarten, and my wife even has a sweet event to celebrate the graduation of rug rats from our Daycare. And mothers cry at all these events. And when I see them get teary, I have to turn away, because my own eyes want to begrudge a bit of sympathetic moisture.

A more pragmatic side of myself thinks it is a bunch of fuss and bother. What a waste of time! People should be growing food, hoeing the corn, chopping the wood, getting ready for next winter.

But the detached yogi in me sits back on his mountain peak and contemplates the significance of all these graduations.  Each is an end, and therefore a sort of funeral, but it is also a celebration, because each assumes the after-life will be better. Each graduation is like the funerals that first-century Christians were purported to be: Joyous events, because early Christians were so sure the continuation of life after death was like escaping schoolmarms, and becoming even freer than a teenaged boy on a night he won’t remember.

I walked into the local market a few days ago with my mood uplifted by June and six graduations. I wasn’t singing like I do in the shower, but had been singing in the car on my way to the store. I was happy, but the store’s mood immediately wiped the smile from my face. Everyone in the store was so grim. Not a person wore a smile, except the girl at the register, who was bravely attempting to be cheerful, but losing the battle. As I got my six-pack and waited in line I glanced at the headlines on the papers. (Sometimes a terrorist attack has this sort of sobering effect.) No new atrocity greeted my eye. I figured I’d check the internet when I got home, and then noted people were looking at me with disapproving looks. This seemed odd, so I put on my best disarming smile, but even the poor girl at the register gave me a “I-don’t-know-you” look when I was the only customer who smiled at her and was pleasant. “What the heck?” I thought to myself, as I drove home.

During my ride home I glanced in the rear view mirror and understood one reason people had been regarding me oddly.

During the final hour at the Childcare, when we are basically just waiting for parents to show up, I was showing the children the June-art of making daisy chains. Unbeknownst to me the little girls crowding around to watch had adorned my tough, Aussie, crocodile-hunter hat with a ridiculous bouquet. Flowers were sticking every which ways. However ordinarily that would have been a reason for smiles, if not joshing, at the market. Some other thing was affecting people.

I checked the internet first thing, but there was no fresh terrorist atrocity. Then I checked a weeks worth of snail-mail, (I’ve been out of town), and then dawn abruptly broke on Marblehead.

Many poor folk around here work construction during the summer, and, if they are lucky, work for ski-slopes in the winter, and, because some winters are not all that snowy, they typically fall behind in their bills in the winter, and then catch up in the spring. This is so typical that there is actually a New Hampshire law that keeps the electric companies from cutting off people’s power in the winter, though they can cut off your power if you don’t pay off the bill by the end of April. However recently the old electrical company (PSNH) was taken over by a money-grubber company called “Eversourse”, and they lobbied and were successful, and the politicians had the old law tweaked. Anyone who had ever fallen behind in their bill during the winter would now have to pay a “deposit”, or their power would be turned off. In my case the deposit was $800.00, (combining both the Childcare and my home). For me that is roughly two month’s worth of electricity in the dead of winter. In essence, rather than helping people out by allowing people to fall behind in the winter, Eversourse now wanted that money up front, ahead of time, as a deposit.

I likely sound a bit quaint, but that simply isn’t how things are done in the world of bumpkins. People help each other out when times are rough, and I myself would never have been able to raise five kids if I wasn’t allowed to run up a tab at times. It wasn’t just the local market that saw my tab get alarmingly large, but the doctor and dentist and telephone and propane and electricity saw me running up a tab. However I was honor-bound to pay, and always did pay the tabs, once times got better in the spring. I was grateful to all who had patience, and became a faithful customer to the businesses that treated me so kindly. But perhaps such honor is old-fashioned,  and perhaps Eversourse has run up against people who do not pay their tabs. Or perhaps they are just greedy. In any case, the letter they sent was not what you’d expect, from people who you have faithfully paid your bills to for over 26 years.  They basically gave me 14 days to come up with $800.00 or they would shut off my power. Since I’d been out of town, most of the time had already passed, with their threatening mail sitting in a pile on my desk.  I had to come up with $800.00 in one day, or the power would be shut off at my place of business. (I don’t know about you, but I am self-employed and have to fund my own vacations, so I was not exactly rolling in the dough after five days off.)

Now, I’m sure the stockholders of Eversource want plump dividends, and feel it was very expedient on the part of Eversource to stop allowing poor people to run up tabs during the winter. After all, Eversource only collected 12% interest on that loan. (1% a month). Surely rich fat cats can get better dividends than that, even as poor people get next to nothing on a savings account.

I called up Eversource to raise some hell, but got some sweet girl on the phone who likely is paid $8.00/hour to face the public’s rage, as the fat-cats hide like the cowards they are. I decided to dump all my spleen in the scuppers, and just be polite, as if I was spiritual and not hopping mad and thinking very unspiritual thoughts. It worked. She was so glad to talk with a nice, polite person she became very nice in return, and we has a good talk.

When I said I was baffled by how I was being treated she said Eversourse only wanted to bully people into automatic payments. In fact the only way to avoid having my power cut off, (besides coming up with $800.00 I don’t have),  was to agree to have my electricity bill automatically removed from my bank account. This was Eversource’s way of making sure they got paid on time, next winter. Never mind that I might not have much money when the sun gets low. They came first. The doctor, dentist, market, propane and telephone could all wait.

I agreed to have my bills deducted from my business account. But I sure don’t feel like a valued customer. And I intend to be petty, and get even. If push comes to shove I will simply instruct the bank to stop the automatic payments next November. By law, they still cannot shut off my power until April. And then, when they ask me for a huge deposit next April, I will be shifting to a new supplier. (There are actually other electric companies that use the same wires, and are slightly cheaper.) (They have been pestering me to switch for years, but I was a loyal customer…of PSNH, I suppose; definitely not Eversource…any more.)

In fact I’d switch today, but someone told me Eversource doesn’t really want to have residential customers, and actually wants to alienate them, and force them to switch, so they can focus on the big factories and corporations. That is where the money is, and that is where those ruled by greed (and not community and family values) go, like pigs to their sty. Therefore I will not switch today, because a nonspiritual side of me wants to declare war, and be petty, (and I promise you I will derive great pleasure from being uncooperative).

Judging from the faces in the line at the local market, I am not the only disgruntled bumpkin. It is not anything spoken, but rather is a hardness in faces. A lot of dawning is going on upon a lot of Marbleheads. A lot of people feel treated like trash, and want to graduate from that class. The stock-holders in Eversource need to ponder whether slightly larger dividends are worth stirring up a hornet’s nest.

I’ve talked with people who think local folk are rubes, because they only care for their neighbors, while “Internationalists” care for everyone. However that is just big talk, like a roaring drunk claiming he loves everyone, when he has abandoned his wife and children for a bender. He will talk differently in the morning, and so will the so-called “Internationalists.” It will be a bit of hangover for them to realize they cared most for dividends, and not the neighbors rubes care for. Charity begins at home.

America was made, and remains full of, people who want to graduate. They do not want to remain in the class they are. If the rich should decide they want to “keep people in their place” they will be  preventing graduation, and I fear there will be hell to pay.

However that is gloomy talk for June, and likely due to the fact I own a part of myself that is bitter and old. It is constantly at war with a part of myself that never gets old, and enthuses in June, even though it knows sunshine has its price.

When I was young the sun shone much more than it does now. This is not merely the rose-colored spectacles of age looking backwards. It is a meteorological fact, and shows up in the degree of drought we faced. The 1960’s saw year after year of drought.

Drought NE Screen_Shot_2016_06_18_at_6_57_44_AM

I could tell some good tales about growing up in that drought, about how low the reservoir I illegally fished in got, and about the roaring brush fire I started at age twelve.  In fact, I may do so, some night in the near future, for we currently in a drought that reminds me of my boyhood.

Drought NE 2 cpc_anom_90p_eastusa_1(1)

However the drought of my boyhood was back in down-to-earth times, when white-collar people could relate to poor blue-collar folk just trying to get by. Back then Americans stood united as basically ordinary people all trying to graduate together. Then times changed. A so-called “1%” decided their income mattered more. They decided it was good to profit by impoverishing the poor. They only wanted sunshine, but it created a drought.

This bothers me. The other night I was kept from sleep, thinking about the drought of compassion, and was still awake after midnight, when I started to notice the flicker of lightning.  Then, as I barely dozed, I began to hear the faint drum of distant thunder.  Then I dipped more deeply, and was abruptly awoken by a loud crash. Then I listened to the delicious sound of drought-relieving rains slowly approaching through the summer leaves.

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In my sleepy state I wondered if the drought caused by the 1% hogging sunshine for themselves might also be ended by thunder.

“What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

November 13, 1787   Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith

LOCAL VIEW –A Beltway Basher–(Updated and Concluded Sunday Morning)

A little low that gave us a couple inches of fluff blew up into a huge gale as it moved off to Labrador, and all day we’ve been shuddering in the howling north winds to its rear.

20160119 satsfc

The really cold air is further west, and is somewhat modified by passing over the Great Lakes, which are starting to freeze but are more open than they were last year. We are getting a shot from Hudson Bay, which is frozen over. Our only hope of moderated air is for the gale over Labrador to swing some Atlantic air around and down from the north, but such air is so greatly modified you can’t really call it warm. As it is the blasts of air we’re getting are bone dry. Dew points are at 0°F (-17°C)as temperatures struggle to reach 20°F (-7°C). It is the sort of day where the cat’s fur crackles with static, and it doesn’t want to be patted. I have a raging case of cabin fever, and don’t much want to be patted either.North America Jan 19 cmc_t2m_noram_3My fellow weather geeks are all excited by a storm that doesn’t exist, except in the imagination of computer models. The weak low over Texas in the above map is the forerunner of an impulse that could explode over the east coast. The American, Canadian and European models are all showing it. It is the sort of situation that once would fill me with excitement, as it would be a formidable foe to be fought, but now it only makes me crabby, as I am under doctor’s orders to avoid any sort of lifting that tenses my stomach muscles, after my operation. It a little like being presented with a beautiful woman or delicious meal when you are young and healthy, and yet told you aren’t allowed to touch or taste. A whirling blizzard of snow could be on its way, but I’m just suppose to sit idly by.

I am allowed to lift paper, which means I’m stuck with producing the slips that show all our customers how much they spent at our Farm-childcare last year. They need it for their taxes, for childcare is a tax-deduction. I don’t see why they can’t just do the job themselves. They should be well aware of what they spent. However the stupid government doesn’t trust them. They want lots and lots of slips of paper. As if this is something I need added to my life. I have to waste my time producing formal forms, handing them to my customers, who then have to waste their time shuffling the forms with other forms into a heap sent to the IRS, who then has to waste their time hunting for errors.  Someday all of us will stand before God, who will ask us how we spent our time on Earth, and we’ll answer, “Shuffling forms.”

I wouldn’t mind it so much if the government was so careful, and was meticulous about accounting for each penny they spent, but the irresponsible buffoons simply print money whenever they need it. It is complete hypocrisy for them to demand that tax-payers do what they don’t.

Obviously I’m very grumpy. I glance out the window as the wind shudders by, and see the swirling powder snow glittering in the sunshine, and don’t see a lick of beauty. I just feel the drafty house breathing cold air, and want to go out and shovel, to get my blood stirring, but can’t. I am allowed to go out and walk, but there is only so much doddering-about I can do outside before I just feel like a shuffling old man, out on his “constitutional”. I want action that has purpose.

I suppose finding beauty in a grim day is a worthwhile purpose, and I must begrudge that walking about in a howling, shuddering wind does nudge me with a sense that there is grandeur about, but it doesn’t last. As soon as I step back into the house I feel like I’m back in prison. The paperwork rankles. Even when I try to write a sonnet, the cabin fever sits on my head like a helmet of lead. Then the phone rings. It is yet another pollster, wanting to pick my brains about the upcoming New Hampshire Primary.

The pines have been roaring up in the hills
As the furnace is roaring, increasing my bills
And I am now pacing, cursing the shills
That constantly call up to poll “won’ts” and “wills”.

I feel I could rip out the damn telephone
If only those pollsters would leave me alone;
Pretenders, cajolers, they’re fake to the bone,
Part of a problem they pretend to disown.

The winter wind roars and the drifting snow hisses
Yet no one’s aware of what everyone misses.
There’s no warmth in the air, yet all say that this is
How it should be: All make-up and kisses.

It’s amazing the millions that madmen have spent
Creating a winter of my discontent.
The only time I really get out is to go to the hospital to get the bayonet wound in my gut looked at. Then I get a lot of odd flattery, odd because I’m told what great shape I’m in for my age, which is strange because they just took out a cancerous kidney. What kind of “great shape” is that? But apparently the surgeon appreciated not having to cut through any flab, and the nurse practitioner mentioned most guys my age have long lost their six-packs. She was a little concerned about a bump on my scar, which might be scar tissue but might be a tiny hernia, but she said the only reason she can see it at all is because I don’t have a spare tire around my middle. I muttered that I soon will have a spare tire, if I have to sit around not even allowed to to put wood in the fire, and she said I could put a log in, if it was under ten pounds. I suppose that is some progress.

The real thing I like about visiting the hospital is that it gives me a chance to grouse about paperwork. It is something people there are very willing commiserate about, seeing as how they now spend roughly half their time dealing with paper, at the expense of patients.

Considering how Washington seems to want everyone buried under a blizzard of paperwork, it would seem a sort of justice if they themselves got buried under a blizzard of white. Driving home I noticed the possible storm had made the mainstream media, but all the world seemed gray, not white. It was so cold there was no water, only ice and dust and litter  whipping in the wind. Even the low gas prices made me crabby.

I’m under no illusions that the low prices are occurring due to any kindness felt towards the common man.   They are part of a cruel war, and much suffering is resulting among oil workers. The aim is to bankrupt North American oil companies, so the dangers of competition, and of freedom from dependence on Arab oil, can be removed.  Or so I thought, until I heard the car radio mention that my idiot government is helping the non-Arab nation of Iran, which is not at good terms at all with Saudi Arabia, to flood the market with even more oil. This made absolutely no sense, if we care at all about protecting our own oil producers and developing any sort of energy-independence, however it has been so long since my government has made much sense that I can’t say it surprised me.

What did surprise me was the view my middle son held, when he came stamping into the house later. Without me even bringing the subject up, he said the flood of Iranian oil was a plot to absolutely ruin “Big Oil.”  He said so insanely does the government loathe all and any sorts of “fossil fuel” that they will do anything they can to destroy the competition to solar power and wind turbines, and, because solar power and wind turbines can’t possibly compete unless oil prices quadruple, they are resorting to the temporary step of having very low oil prices, as a way to quadruple those prices.

I thought he sounded radical and a bit paranoid. In other words, more like me than himself. Usually I’m the grouch, and he’s the fount of hope. Perhaps the howling wind and drifting snow and crackling static electricity even gets to the young. Or perhaps Washington has even worn down the  eternal optimism of youth. In which case they deserve a blizzard more than ever.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

We are still in the northerly flow, but the winds have died down. The initial impulse is nudging through the south, but there is still no sign of the following impulse, which will grow the imaginary monster storm. Perhaps it can be seen in the low pressure sinking south through the Rockies, and the bulge in the sub-tropical jet coming ashore on the Pacific coast of Mexico, but largely it is still all in the realm of imagination.20160120 satsfc

The models are still seeing the big storm, but are nudging it south and out to sea, which is fine with me, for now the Beltway gets blasted, as I only get dusted, at the northern edge of the storm.

I start my day (before hitting the paperwork) with a visit to Weatherbell and a quick glance at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of the models, .

First look at the American GFS model maps for Saturday and Sunday.Belter 1 gfs_ptype_slp_noram_13 Belter 2 gfs_ptype_slp_noram_17Next is the European map of the storm slipping out to sea after clouting the mid-Atlantic, on Sunday.Belter 3 ecmwf_slp_precip_conus2_17Lastly, below are two maps showing the Canadian JEM models solutions, for Saturday and Sunday. Again the beltway gets blasted, as I broom the dust from my steps.

Belter 4 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_13 Belter 5 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_17

There is room for lots and lots of hype, the next few days. Interestingly, Joe Bastardi focused, in his video today, not on this imaginary storm, but on an even worse imaginary storm possible a week from tomorrow.

I wish Washington was imaginary, but that grousing will have to wait until future updates.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE   -Hoopla! Hoopla! Hoopla!-

The funniest headline about the blizzard I’ve seen so far was from the New York Post, and stated, “This weekend will be WHITER THAN THE OSCARS”.  (Actually there is a chance most of the snow will stay south of NYC.)

In the Beltway, where the worst is suppose to hit, they were so focused on the snow expected to start on Friday that they got blindsided by only an inch of snow that snuck in on Wednesday evening. There were two to three hours before the salt trucks moved out, and the pavements were so cold that the small amount of snow turned the roads to grease, and traffic moved at a crawl with many fender-benders and spin-outs. (Perhaps they were reluctant to use up their salt before the “Big One”.)

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Crippling-Historic-Snowstorm-Expected-Blizzard-Watch-Issued-18-24-Inches-Possible-365957091.html

Meanwhile, the Big One still doesn’t exist. It is a figment of our imagination. All that the map shows is a weak low over Texas and a bulge on the tropical jet moving up through the Gulf of Mexico.20160121 satsfcThe GFS Model imagines the low over Texas will move to Memphis, Tennessee,  as a secondary bombs out just off the coast of Georgia and takes over, becoming the primary storm on Saturday, off Cape Hatteras. (Last winter these storms formed roughly 500 miles further north, pounding New England and sparing Washington, before kicking out to sea.) Below is the GFS models “solution” to how the storm will redevelop. (I chose five of the 41 maps Dr. Ryan Maue offers at the Weatherbell side, for this one run of the GFS model alone, involving the “surface pressure and precipitation type” features alone.) (The maps go out to 240 hours; I could spend all day looking at maps; but limited myself to the maps from 24, 36, 42, 48 and 54 hours from now.)

Bash 1 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_5Bash 2 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_7Bash 3 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_8Bash 4 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_9Bash 5 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_10The European and Canadian models also see the storm bombing out on the coast Saturday morning.Bash 6 ecmwf_slp_precip_conus2_11Bash 7 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_11Currently all the models see Washington buried under nearly 2 feet of snow.Bash 8 gfs_6hr_snow_acc_east2_16(1)

The thing to remember is that, at this point, all the above maps are showing is imaginary snow, imaginary drifts, and imaginary gales. Washington is very good when it comes to dealing with things that are purely imaginary (like Global Warming). It is likely to be incapable, when dealing with something that actually happens, (as we saw last night, as they dealt with a single inch of snow.)

FRIDAY NOONTIME UPDATE

It is still sunny and calm up here in New Hampshire, as the storm brews up over Washington, D.C..20160122 satsfc 20160122B satsfc20160122B rad_ec_640x480

The NAM computer model is making people up this far north a little nervous, as it shows the snow coming further north than other models.Nam Snow 21050122 hires_snow_ne_61

Nearly all models show Washington getting absolutely clobbered.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

It was odd to watch the press conference down in Washington DC from their “Homeland Security” center, and see they were basically asking the public to go indoors and stay indoors for the next two days, so the roads would be clear for the various people allowed to be outside, (clearing the roads, or attempting to drive ambulances, fire trucks and utility crews to emergencies). It made me wonder a bit if people would obey. After all, it might be one of the biggest storms in a hundred years. Are you not allowed to go outside and experience it?

Up here in New Hampshire there are lots of people who like to go out for a drive during a bad storm. It used to drive me nuts, because I’d try to impress my teenagers with how bad a storm was, but they’d sneak out. I myself preferred walking in the roaring wind, and found it somewhat annoying to cross the road to be on the safe side, as cars came zooming by, lighting up the night with brilliant headlights. However I supposed it was warmer in a car, and modern types are not as tough as us old timers.

What was really annoying to me, in past storms,  was the people who would go too fast, trusting in their all-wheel or four-wheel drive, and then go plowing off the road, winding up out in a pasture. You’d see them there, engines still running, heaters still humming, headlights still brilliant and wipers still slapping, talking on their cell-phones, getting someone to come and rescue them. That’s not a real outdoors man, in my book. However I think New Hampshire people most would still laugh, if asked to stay home in a blizzard.

However perhaps it is different in cities, or perhaps Americans are becoming more like sheep. I thought it was amazing that the public so meekly complied, after the “Marathon Bombing”, when the government commanded that everyone stay in their homes. That wasn’t the rebllious spirit of New England I thought I knew.

In any case, radar shows the heavy stuff has started, down around Washington. 20160122C rad_ec_640x480Even though the storm hasn’t yet redeveloped on the coast. (Those of you used to European maps should note the “storm” currently has a minimum pressure of 1002 mb, which likely would be a sunny day in Norway.  That lack of deep low pressure is largely a matter of latitude. Pressures simply don’t get as low, so far south.)20160122C satsfcMeanwhile up here in New Hampshire we’ve only seen our blue skies gradually fade to gray, as the sun sunk down into a blear.Grtaying sky IMG_1644

SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE  –Our turn to be smug?–

It was a gray day up here in New Hampshire, without a single snowflake to be seen, sixty miles northwest of Boston, (though apparently Boston is now being dusted just a bit). The wind didn’t even pick up much, though one or two lone gusts came through, hinting at the hubbub to the south.

I myself steered clear of most of the news, avoiding the hubbub, and simply watched the weather maps show the progress of the storm, and the radar maps show the northern edge of the snow flirt with New Hampshire, and even snow aloft above me, but with the falling flakes sublimating to nothing as they fell, and never reaching the ground.

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I wondered at myself, and the way I was so disinterested in the hoop-la from further down south. My indifference didn’t seem very Christian or caring of me, and I wondered if maybe I wasn’t harboring some sort of residual resentment over the fact folk down south couldn’t see what all the fuss and bother was about up north, last year, when we got clobbered and they didn’t. In fact the the first big storm last winter was described as a “bust” even in New York City, as they had all the hubbub of blizzard warnings, and then barely an inch of snow. What they failed to recognize is that even thirty miles away, out on Long Island, people got buried.Last Year 20150125_20150128_2_62Where I live, in the above map, you’ll note there is a so-called “lollypop” of snow, indicating we got more than thirty inches of snow. In fact we got three feet, on the east-facing side of the hill where I live. But there were no breathless reporters producing live reports of how we fared. Could it be I was a bit hurt by the lack of attention? And now I’m thinking turn-about is fair play?

Forty years ago I had a wonderful and faithful dog I had to leave behind at my mother’s, without my personal attention, for two months, as I went on an adventure. When I returned I could see the dog from afar as I drove towards my mother’s house.  As I crested a distant rise the dog recognized (somehow) the sound of my little car, and I could see it jump up and turn on the lawn, and then start to wildly wave its tail. However when I got out of my car the dog suddenly remembered it was really, really pissed off at me, and abruptly stopped waving its tail, and began walking away with a grouchy expression, looking over its a shoulder in a way that said, beyond doubt, “Screw you.” (I ran across the lawn and begged forgiveness, and the cur did forgive me.)

It is funny how these two storms are nearly exactly a year apart, and the people who got the deep snow are so neatly divided. (The lone exception seems to be Long Island, which seemingly has the dubious privilege of getting clouted by both blizzards). It seems a sort of proof that Karma is equal, or at least it is proof that things average out, in the end.

I got to thinking, as I lived through the gray day, of how we should not let simple things like storms divide us.  If we allow snowflakes to divide us, how can we remain united when faced with more substantial things? We should be unswayed by trivial things like snowflakes. However, when I thought about it further, it seemed that was exactly what my fellow writers in the media are asked to do: To be trivial, to focus on short-term differences, in the name of sensationalism. Hmm. Could there be a sonnet in what I was glimpsing?

It was a dreary day under dreary skies,
And I stayed indoors and with bleary eyes
Watched some humdrum news where some dear-me guys
Tried to enthuse all, hiding weary eyes.

Somewhere far away snow is drifting deep.
Somewhere sons are late. Somewhere mothers weep.
Somewhere cars collide. Some are losing sleep
As the newsmen prance, promises to keep.

I thought I glimpsed, in their hyped-up eyes,
How darn tired they were of their tripe and lies
And the way they never get to write of skies
And instead must wear a King’s Fool’s disguise.

Well, that is what you get, when you’re not like me,
And put your paper’s paycheck before poetry.

In any case, I decided I should drop my silly grudge about how, last year, some folk down south said we folk up north were “fussing too much”. After all, if my dog could forgive me all those years ago, I could at least be a little interested in the doings of folk down south.

Almost immediately a picture was sent to my computer from the son of a friend of mine who has moved to Virginia. Because he was so far south the young father had neglected to buy, for his toddler son, a toy that is deemed essential in New England: A small sled. Yet now he was confronted with two feet of snow in Virginia. What could he do?

He got a large box that once had held a bulk-price amount of disposable diapers, did some swift cutting with a paring knife, punched two holes, inserted a rope, and created a sled to pull his little boy through the snow in. His wife took a picture, and I got to see how resourceful people are, when faced with the “storm of the century”…… (and also how they  do not fail to see such storms can be an excuse for joy, sheer joy.)

SUNDAY UPDATE  —All Over—

No snow at all is showing on radar this morning, as the gale slips out to sea. We didn’t even get a dusting here, as NYC got over two feet. There was sledding on Capital Hill. (some say it is the first time it has been allowed in 100 years.) (I notice the capital dome is being worked on. They need to work on the domes of the fellows inside, as well.) Baltimore also got over two feet.Sledding Capital 650x366_01232127_screen-shot-2016-01-23-at-4.26.32-pmI’m glad I’m not facing the clean-up they are facing in New Jersey.New Jersy Drifts 650x366_01240108_carssnowHere’s a final map, and then we can call this storm (and post) over. (However I should mention that the computer models did an amazing job of seeing the storm from five days away, and Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo did an even better job of seeing it from seven days away (and warning of such storms happening January (and February) back when computer models were saying we’d have a Mild El Nino January like 1998’s, back in December.)20160124 satsfc