You can get your weather forecast pretty much anywhere these days. The household talking speaker will brief you as easily as dozens of weather apps available for your smartphone. To think there was a time the media industry thought Frank Batten Sr. was crazy for starting a 24-7 weather channel in 1982.
The Pilot also prints a three-day weather forecast in the lower right-hand corner of the front page. You don’t mess around with people’s weather, but occasionally we like to have a little fun. If you noticed the forecast in last Sunday’s edition, below the leaden-gray cloud icon, it called for “rain” Sunday, followed by “more rain” on Monday and “even more rain” on Tuesday.
This past Wednesday, the forecast had the same three leaden-gray cloud icons and “rain” on Wednesday, “rain” Thursday and “Go Away” on Friday.
Whither this weather? These waning days of February and early weeks of March can be discombobulating. Trees are blooming. Daylight waxes into evening a bit more each day. One day it’s 70 degrees, but then the next it’s 43 and threatening ice. It’s still too wet and cold for doing anything significant outside, yet the stores are filling with pastel everything.
Spring is tantalizingly close. The pine trees know. They’ve been dropping their winter cones into our yards for a few weeks now, a sure start to their annual reproductive cycle. Spring teases with the return of robins hopping across the backyard with their twiggy little legs.
And so I couldn’t hold back the other evening, thinking of warmer — sunnier — days ahead. I slipped on the classic Van Morrison album “Moondance.” Everything about that album sounds like sunshine on the face and a warm breeze at your back. And even when Van Morrison sings of rain — the second line of the first song — it’s just a way of slowing down an already leisurely day of fishing and jumping in the lake.
Listening to “Moondance” is that small slice of spring, a sprig of green that emerges to defy the gray and brown all around. Van Morrison released the album 49 years ago this week, so maybe he too was thinking of a way to inject some warm sounds into winter’s waning dreariness.
We’re lucky to have spring so close — greedy, even. Winter has barely even whispered at us — Lord, I’ve jinxed us for sure now — and we’re ready to move into flip-flops and gardening. Maybe that’s why we look at these uneven days of late winter and seek to hasten them along. The time is approaching when grilling out won’t mean having to shiver over the steak. Hopefully. We grew up learning that March came in like a lion and out like a lamb, and that April showers bring May flowers. Is that still relevant in an age of global warming, with April blizzards and October hurricanes?
Sadly, the drippy weather of recent days may not be going anywhere anytime soon. I was all ready to clean up the hammock and crank up the Jimmy Buffett until I also saw this past week that the federal Climate Prediction Center has established that another El Nino climate pattern had formed.
What’s that mean for us? If you like it cool and wet, settle in, because that’s what the weather’s going to do. The last El Nino pattern in October 2017 ran until April 2018.
At that rate, we might be printing the three-day weather forecast with little icons resembling black turtlenecks and records by the Smiths.