By Norman Knight
Tomorrow is the first day of March, and I must say I am shocked that we already are beginning the third month of this “new” year.
Why, it seems like only yesterday I was admiring the snow scene as I flipped to the January page of our brand new 2018 calendar. What’s next? Is someone going to be telling me it is time to check the lawn mower oil and then get busy on that bright green grass before it gets any longer?
Am I going to be reminded that I need to carry the fans up from the basement because it is really going to get hot next week? Is it just me, or is time speeding by?
But I suppose March must come. I should accept it and move on. To be honest, it has felt like March for the last little while. Rain then not rain. Warm then cold then warm again. I tend to set my internal calendar by the weather, as I guess most people do.
Relating to the world through weather patterns is probably some instinctual, prehistoric thing. And, although we like to think we are ultra modern and so very high-tech, in truth we are just a hop, skip and generational jump from our ancestors whose lives depended on weather knowledge. And, of course, our modern lives are just as dependent.
The weather reports are the only broadcasts I make an effort to watch on TV. Weather reports are not mind-numbingly absurd like most “entertainment” shows. Weather forecasters don’t try to persuade me to some point of view. Weather is apolitical. (Well, okay, if you want to drag global warming into the discussion, I guess weather, like everything else in today’s world, can be viewed through a political lens.)
I think I enjoy watching the weather reports because it is something factual, something I can use in my daily life. A weather report is true reality TV.
March is an interesting month for weather. It is considered a transition month, a period taking us from one season to the next. From my vantage point (I am writing this a few days before you are reading it), it is hard to predict what the weather on March 1, 2018, will be. As the old saying about the month of March goes, it could come in like a lion or like a lamb.
That’s another thing I like about weather predicting: the proverbs and folklore that have accumulated over the centuries as humans have sought to divine their weather future.
It is easy to find collections of these old saws and sayings. On the Web, The Old Farmer’s Almanac not only reminds us that, “Red sky at night; sailor’s delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning,” but includes a variation on that theme: “Evening red and morning gray are sure signs of a fine day; evening gray and morning red, put on your hat or you’ll wet your head.”
One adage that I found particularly intriguing says: “When there is enough blue sky to patch a Dutchman’s breeches, expect clearing weather.” I’m not sure what fascinates me more: the Dutchman, the breeches or the fact it doesn’t rhyme.
Rhyming is a useful tool to help us remember things, so it is not surprising that weather lore often uses that literary device. Sometimes, though, weather rhymes can give us pause, especially when pronunciations change over time. One rhyme I found states: “Rain from the south prevents the drought/but rain from the west is always best.” Makes me suspect that either “drought” was at one time pronounced “drouth,” or “south” was pronounced “sout.”
Anyway, whether the weather is lionish or lambish, tomorrow will introduce a new month of weather. I’ll need to turn the calendar page. I wonder if the picture will include enough blue sky to patch breeches.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.