for my mama, thank you for teaching me to see our home through your eyes
my family, on my mother's side, we are weather watchers. we storm chase with the best of them. straining daily to see spun cotton in the timeless desert blue. we are loyal to the chance of rain the way my father remains loyal to the team. talking statistics and that one great snowfall years ago.
i am teaching the art to my daughters. we don't use words like nimbus or cumulus, but we've come to know them. we can anticipate their moods. this farmers' intuition, traveling across time and land from beyond our southmost borders, to the adobe walls that framed my mother's days. weather wisdom passed down through my grandfather. see him there tending to the cherry trees.
come and listen.
there's the wispy and wizened tendrils of hair-clouds that stretch across fall to early spring. in this hemisphere, the sky looks colder than she actually feels.
in the mornings, we check west. if ocean-wave-clouds possessively hover over that mountain range, we know. it's the calm before the wind storm. the unrelenting wind that has italicized our trees.
sometimes a flock of clouds migrate across our large expanse of sky; the shape shifters. the ones whom reflect what the imagination projects. the ones the children love.
we hit and miss with thunder-clouds. for them, we look east. the gang gathers together, imposing, dark and roaring. yet despite their day-long agitation, patience strained by blistering sun, they can be dissuaded. western winds breathe deep, then blow. dismayed, their temper cools. below the eastern deck sulkily they return.
but sometimes, the humid stress compounds. the gang refuses to disarm. it's Westside Story played out in the skies! these are the best of times, and the girls and i and my mother and sisters are ringside, anticipating the fight. the sharks and the jets begin their dance, round and round the ring on tippy toes, sinews flexed and ready. when suddenly the tense calm erupts. the clash! the rumble! bernstein would be proud!
i have come to realize our scrappy brawls pale in comparison to the heavy weight fights of the further east, but for us, it is five-star entertainment all the same.
...this drought. it beckons the imposters. lock-jawed and tightfisted, they tease across the sky. their saunter invites onlookers but don't be taken in. precipitate they will not. no sense wasting hope or time.
a desert's thirst is rarely quenched, but to withhold even a drop this long has cracked our lips and dried our imaginations. we cry out over days and weeks and months and years. and God will send them, though we know not when. and they will come. in phalanx formation they will block the circle of the sun. they will fill in the valley gap. and they will rain. and they will snow. grace-filled clouds...our relief. and our landscape will be transformed! her capabilities and ours regenerated from sight to sound to smell to taste!
it is with any of these characters, A-list or not, will give a stellar performance come sundown. there is no equating what pictures in our skies when the colors begin to mingle on the clouds and on the earth. our sunset filter. unparalleled beauty.
we live about as far west as you can go on this great northern continent, our sky lives above a patch of sandy ocean-less soil. our concrete river and man made pond often lack the reserve to fill our sky and yet-
the clouds, they've been as faithful to my family as we have to them. our unobtrusive mediator, our common denominator. maybe they will become the same to you.
for one but has to ask, what's the weather? to unite our gaze upward and beyond.