Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Weather in the Finger Lakes

Let’s Talk About the Weather

Because it dictates our moods


I like to describe the weather when I’m writing a scene in my novels. Maybe it’s because I’m from Upstate New York where we can experience summer and fall in one week (literally). But it’s also because the weather is what everyone talks about around here.
The weather dictates our moods, our conversations, what we do on a day-to-day basis. I planned to mow the lawn today, can’t do it — it’s raining. I wanted to go for a swim in the lake — too cold. I was going to paint the deck today, no can-do — the wind is too strong and it’s blowing all the cottonwood seeds around and it almost appears like it’s snowing outside.

A standard joke for Upstate weather? A sunny day is called cloud failure. Yes, because of all the lakes around her (Great Lakes and Finger Lakes), the skies are gray a majority of the time. And that definitely dictates one’s mood.
You can’t go anywhere without having or hearing a conversation about the weather. As in “Can you believe this weather?” which could mean, it’s been sunny and dry and 80 degrees F for the past week or, it’s been cool, rainy and in the 40s. It doesn’t matter, we Upstaters never seem to want to believe the weather is doing what it’s doing to us.
And in my household when we turn on the local news after dinner, what’s the reason? Not to watch what’s happening in the Presidential elections, it’s you-guessed-it, to get the weather forecast.
Weather it seems, is so much part of our lives, like waking up, eating, or going to work.
I hadn’t thought much about this until recently when I noticed my mood shifting into a somber mode and had to figure out why. The weather was clear, the days were sunny, I had nothing to worry or complain about (well sort of, we all have something to worry or complain about — that is a human condition). And then I realized it was the change of seasons. The days were getting longer, the sun was rising earlier, and the birds were singing their hearts out. It was spring going on summer. One would think it would be a time of joy for me, so why the dark moods? 
We in Upstate wait months for summer to arrive.
Maybe I thought, the feeling is like a holiday I’ve been waiting and preparing for. You anticipate and plan and then when it comes it’s never exactly as you predicted. And you regroup and tell yourself, live in the now. Stop thinking about what the weather is going to be like tomorrow.

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