Winter’s fickle tease hasn’t walloped us — yet

Posted 2/21/20

“Everyone’s talking about the weather,” a famous newspaperman once remarked, “but nobody does anything about it.”

That’s one of many quotes often mis-attributed to Mark Twain, but …

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Winter’s fickle tease hasn’t walloped us — yet

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“Everyone’s talking about the weather,” a famous newspaperman once remarked, “but nobody does anything about it.”

That’s one of many quotes often mis-attributed to Mark Twain, but nevertheless a sentiment many of us have probably pondered. As for me, I’ve been talking, or at least thinking, about the weather a lot lately. Here’s why: despite an abundance of gray and overcast days and lots of rain, which seems to be our lot this time of year, temperatures here have been mild enough the last couple of months to allow me to spend quite a bit more time on our screened-in porch than I would have anticipated.

Last winter, I seem to recall, we barely darkened the door leading from our kitchen to the porch. It was just too cold for too long. Exposure to the elements, even when dressed for them, was decidedly unpleasant. To sit out on the porch, unless you were a snowman or training for an Arctic expedition, was unthinkable.

But this winter — is it winter, really? — I’ve been able to steal more than a few hours most Saturdays and Sundays (and even a generous handful of late weekday afternoons and evenings) on the porch since around Christmas. I’ve really taken advantage of this long stretch of unseasonably mild weather. And thanks to a new toasty throw blanket and some deliriously comfortable furniture we picked up in Myrtle Beach a few months ago, the environment on our porch hasn’t matched what the calendar might suggest. It was January, and it’s supposed to be February now, but many days it feels more like March or April…or, on occasion, May.

I can’t get enough of it.

It’s been a curious thing. We had that cold winter. And then I remember way too many afternoons and early evenings over this past summer when the heat of the porch, despite having two fans blowing, was simply too much to bear.

Unpleasant extremes, it seems, have been the rule, not the exception.

Then there was this past Sunday. Late that mild afternoon, as I worked comfortably in my cushy chair, watching the sun set while wrapped in my blanket, I heard the unmistakable call of geese honking as they flew over my neighborhood — north, mind you, way ahead of schedule.

Even they’ve been fooled, if indeed they were migrating home.

But that’s weather, right? Winter, as we each will attest, can be a tease. Winter’s fickleness, especially here in the south, often lulls you into a predictable trap: you smile and breathe a soft sigh because you think it’s reaching out for a warm, loving hug, but instead you get walloped upside the head with an elbow and then get a knee to the gut.

We’ve not gotten walloped this winter — yet. But don’t you think it’s coming?

Or is it? It’s practically late February, typically our worst-weather month in North Carolina. And yet, as I look at the official extended forecast on The Weather Channel’s website, I see only a few days with lows below freezing and high temps most days in our region set for the low 50s to the low 60s.

Maybe our payback will come in the spring. Those professional prognosticators who practice such witchery have already suggested we’re in for a rough spring, with higher-than-normal stretches of severe weather and above-average numbers of tornadoes, at least in the South.

Is that trade-off worth it? Time will tell. But whatever comes as March arrives, and April becomes May, we’ll probably have a lot to talk about.

And you can believe I’ll be doing something about it — observing summer’s arrival from our screened-in porch.


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