Stormy Weather

I woke up this morning to a dark house, and no alarm, as the power was off. Luckily it's a holiday so I didn't have to be up at any particular time. I heard the wind and the rain in that half-asleep-half-awake state, but ignored it and drifted back into dreamtime. The dog crawled into bed with us, knowing that a storm outside means take refuge inside. She'll take any excuse to take refuge under the covers.

I love storms. Maybe it's something primeval inside of me, or maybe it's the sheer satisfaction in knowing that no matter how much humans screw with our Earth, nature can come kick our asses anytime. I like to pay attention to the sky and what it's telling us, as weather dictates a lot of what I do. My homepage is set to the Environment Canada weather, and I've been known to hide a weather radio under my pillow, and quietly listen to the forecast before Jason is even awake.

I think, for the most part, people now ignore the sky, treating it almost like visual muzak in the background of their day. There would have been a time, before TV, before radio, before electricity, that the sky would provide entertainment, news and information. Weather provides us with drama, it can be extreme and powerful, or it can be peaceful and idyllic. I mourn the lost connection between this last vestige of untouched nature and people: the sky.

My husband, in his infinite wisdom, decided that today - on this very day of the biggest storm of 2010 so far - we'd build a shed in the backyard. Power outages, road closures, debris blowing through the yard... none of these were signs to him that perhaps indoor activities were a better idea. However, some of the most fun things we've done in the past were made more entertaining because of the weather. A couple of years ago we climbed Lassen Peak, a 10,000 foot volcano in California, in the middle of a windstorm. Without the wind it still would have been memorable, but toughing it out and having to stay low in spots to literally avoid being blown off the side of the mountain made it a more salient experience. I remember keeping one eye on the sky and its burgeoning clouds the whole time, looking out for any sign of lighting in the distance which would have meant a sprint down to the base.

I spent six months sailing in the Pacific almost two decades ago, and the days that stand out the most were the days spent heeling over, tied to the deck rails and fighting with the sails and rudder to keep the boat on course in the gales. We had plenty of calm, sunny days with puffy, fluffy clouds, but it was the grey, howling skies and frothing seas that still bring a smile to my face.

An otherwise ordinary mountain bike ride with my friend Catherine became filled with excitement and adrenalin as a storm closed in on us. Branches broke off and rained down around us, as we sped down the mountain as fast as we could ride, trying to get back to our cars before being crushed by a falling tree.

I see art in the sky as I look out and up. I was born in Saskatchewan, and there the sky is a masterpiece every day, and the vista stretches out endlessly beyond my view. I've lived in coastal BC for over 20 years, and still miss the skies of the prairies. I try to look for the subtleties here instead of being smacked in the face by the sheer drama of the flatland sky. Today the sky is a flat grey, but the green fir trees blowing at crazy angles and the rain being blown sideways by gusts provides some relief to the monochrome canvas backdrop.

Jason finally decided the shed could wait until tomorrow. Instead, we're going to sit in the hot tub and let the weather swirl around us. My only hope is that it doesn't blow my drink over. Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Good choice on postponing the shed. It would be back to 0 days accident free, Im sure.