A Rainy Grey Day in January

It rained today. It is the middle of January and, instead of the freezing cold, snow, sleet, and “wintery mix” I’ve grown accustomed to in the Midwest, it merely rained. It was a cold rain, to be sure, as the temperature is hovering right above freezing and driven below it by every gust of wind, but it was not a freezing rain. It plinked off my umbrella with a liquidity I don’t typically expect a month into winter. Usually it bounces off my umbrella with a plonk and snap, as the fabric repels the solid crystals or sludgy drops, but today it plinked and then slowly rolled away. I know the cold and bitter winter I expect is still hovering on the horizon, waiting for its chance to invade once these warm southern winds finally leave it be, but it feels like it lost any real chance it had to take hold this year, despite the havoc it wreaked around the holidays.

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The Weather Feels Like March in the Middle of January

The weather has been unseasonably warm recently. Usually, at this time in January, the local temperature is bouncing around zero degrees Fahrenheit and the heavy cloudcover means I don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. This year, the only zero the temperature is jumping around is zero degrees Celcius. We’ve had multiple days with almost no wind, a decent amount of sun, and tons of humidity (enough that work is staying at a damp 20% humidity or higher instead of it’s usual mid-winter single-digit levels). All of which followed a week of blistering cold that finished off all the plants still clinging to life thanks to the unusually warm fall we had. Now, as I go for my walks amongst the browns and yellows of dead plant matter, it feels like I missed two months somehow and wound up skipping ahead to late March.

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Hunkering Down For A Holiday Blizzard

There’s a storm coming. It probably won’t hit with the severity they’re predicting two days ahead of it’s arrival [it didn’t], but it’s probably still going to be freezing cold and awful for the whole thing [it was] even if it never quite reaches the monstrous blizzard severity they’re saying is possible. I mean, that’s the thing about living where I do. We tend to catch the edge of every storm that swings down from Canada toward the rest of the Midwest and upper East Coast, but we rarely get hit by the worst of it. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, getting frequently struck by heavy storms and intense weather of all kinds, I kind of miss it. Sure, my perspective now would be very different, since I actually need to go places, do things, and ostensibly keep my home accessible to the world, but I wouldn’t mind a day or two of being snowed in just to enjoy the cozy feeling of not needing to be anywhere while the snow falls.

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Meditative Silence On A Snowy Morning

Today, in search of inner peace, I venture out of my cozy apartment, choosing to risk my well-being against the slippery, uncleared sidewalks of my area in order to enjoy a bit of untouched winter wonderland walking. After all, the people who clear the snow around my apartment do so in a swift, brutal, and utilitarian manner, churning up not just snow and ice but grass and dirt as well. Trading visual appeal, the health of the plant life on the property, and the occasional bit of property damage for speed, they will clear the sidewalks and then scatter mounds of salt until not just the sidewalks but the insides of our apartments are stained white with the remnants of the crystalline anti-ice measure. It will be safe to walk, then, but bereft of the appealing blankness and weight of a fresh, heavy snow. Whatever joy I might have gained will be gone, replaced by sad reflection on humanity’s drive to conquer and removed nature rather than cohabitate with it.

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A Peaceful Walk In Heavy Snow

I went for a walk today, the same as almost every day. This time, though, as I grabbed my sweatshirt, put on my shoes, and slipped my coat on overtop, I didn’t pause to check the weather. I needed air. I needed to breath. I needed some space after being cooped up in my apartment for the fourth day in a row. I’ve been sick lately, working from home so I don’t spread this respiratory thing around the office. My head is clear, but my chest aches from the gentle rumble of coughing, muted by cold medicine and cough drops, that never seems to stop so much as briefly pause. I need fresh air now that my stifling apartment is blocked up with plastic so thoroughly that not even a faint puff of air can sneak in to steal away the heat I’ve been so carefully managing to maintain my comfort while sick. So I did not pause to check the forecast or look outside as I ran away from the close confines of my cozy, dim home.

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Appreciating the Sunlight and Warmth I Can Get

I would like to take a moment before the post begins to say that, if you are in the US and are of 18 years or older, you should GO VOTE. HELP THROW OFF THE CHAINS OF FACISM AND POWER-HUNGRY RIGHT-WING ASSHOLES BEFORE WE CAN’T ANYMORE. IF YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW TO DO IT, HERE’S A HANDY STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE OF USEFUL VIDEOS! With that said, let’s move on to the original topic: The Weather.

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The First Taste of Wisconsin Winter

[Another casual reminder that I write these a week before they go up, since it’s currently summer in Wisconsin again]

It is snowing again today. Over night, the temperatures bottomed out in the high twenties and even hours after dawn, with temerpatures flirting with freezing for hours already, there was still the pale remnants of the morning’s frost on the deep green grass outside my apartment. Flurries of small, damp snowflakes fill the air like mist and dampen the world as the trees drip what remains of the snow that landed on them from their brightly colored leaves. I am bundled up against the wind and chill, my layers quickly dug out of the closet when it became clear that my usual fall garb would be insufficient for the day, and still I briefly consider turning around for a heavier coat. I walk along the sidewalk, tracing the same old path from my front door to my car, but far more attentively than in past months for fear of slipping on the ice that stretches across the sidewalk. Today, I miss the comfort of holding a warm mug in my hand as my new coffee cup prevents any heat from escaping it but I am grateful that my coffee will still be warm throughout my entire drive to work on this blustery, snowy morning.

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Winter Is Coming, Weather I Like It Or Not

It snowed yesterday (here’s my usual reminder that I write these a week ahead of time, so really it was eight days before this posted). It was fairly brief and I only got a bare glimpse of it because I was busy at work. I couldn’t stop to go watch the mixed snow and sleet come down, which was unfortunate, but I did get to see a bunch of people walk down a hallway I can see from my desk and a lot of them were dusted with the stuff. It’s not really the same thing at all, but it was enough for me to know it was snowing and when it eventually stopped. It was a weird occurrence, given that there hadn’t even been rain on the forecast when I went in to work that morning, and weirder still when you consider that we had a 24-hour period that hit the mid-sixties at the lowest just two days prior. Sure, it was above freezing so the snow didn’t stick around upon landing on the ground, but it was still weird to get our first snow in mid October. I mean, just recently I was thinking about how weird it’d be if we got our first snow before Halloween again and here we are, more than half a month beforehand. Now we’ve got a span of days sitting around freezing before we pop back into the sixties and maybe even seventies in about a week. Absolutely normal weather, for sure.

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Wisconsin’s Woes and Weather

For the second summer in a row, the weather where I live has been fairly dry and relatively mild. Eighties during the day, sixties overnight, and mostly small strips of storms and rain that rush past, or clouds that seem to split around us before reforming once they’re past so they can drop their moisture elsewhere. Mild, compared to the heavier storms, flooding, and record-adjacent seasons of the first six summers I spent in the area. I mean, my first summer was marked by a massive storm system that dropped a few tornados southwest of Madison that, among other things, tore up a bunch of trees and some of the buildings of my then employer (my memory of the storm was being the only one in my apartment that woke from the tornado sirens at one or two in the morning to take shelter in the basement).

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