Category Archives: Weather

Dad’s Winter Gift

One morning, during our annual Christmas visit to Illinois in the late 1980s, we awoke to trees covered in feathery crystals — a true winter wonderland. We exclaimed at the beauty and made plans to take photographs of the frost. We wondered what this was — we’d never seen Jack Frost’s work quite as lovely as this. Then Dad, matter-of-factly said, “Hoar frost.”

We looked at him and shook our heads. We’d never heard of hoar frost and how could he possibly know what this phenomenon was called? At some point we looked it up or talked to other people (no Internet on our phones back then) who confirmed that Dad was correct. If I recall correctly, he seemed rather proud that he knew something we didn’t.

I never forgot how beautiful this was and, while we occasionally see something similar on the grass in the Pacific Northwest, we never saw it as beautiful as it was in 1988. I hoped we would get it in Bethesda, but we never did.

We were recently in Illinois and besides spending time with family, and Dean being recognized by our Community College as the 2019 distinguished Alum, we visited some places that meant something to us. One of those was the cemetery where my father is buried. We almost passed it by, but I figured we were right there, so I asked Dean to stop. I trudged through the snow and placed a coin on three gravestones: my Grandmother and Grandfather Patrick’s joint gravestone, my cousin Jim’s gravestone and Dad’s gravestone. I told them hello and that I loved them.

Going back to the car I felt the only grief/nostalgia that I’d felt during the trip so far. Normally I have a lot of feelings when visiting my hometown, but this trip I’d had none until that cemetery visit.

My path through the snow

The next morning I awoke to hoar frost. The trees and bushes were covered in white feathery crystals. Dean had already been outside taking photographs and I went out in my pajamas and stockinged feet to take a few pictures. Later I took a video as the frost began falling off the trees.

After marveling at the frost I remembered that first time I’d seen it and fancied that Dad did this for me because I visited him the afternoon before. He knew how much I wanted to experience a hoar frost again and he used his weather superpower* to give it to me.


*The day we buried Dad there were tornados in the area that morning — one less than a mile from the cemetery. We joked that Dad wanted us to know he was pissed off.

Springsigns

I bought a book called Springsigns when I was a teacher. I think I still have it — I don’t think it was discarded in the recent purge of books. One year I used it to make a bulletin board outside my classroom. I hated bulletin boards, but I liked that one.

Therefore I use the word Springsigns when I see signs of spring, even though I’m always chastised by my software that it is misspelled.

Here are some recent Springsigns from my yard.

Another High Wind in Bethesda

Earlier in the week we had an earthquake and last night / this morning we had a hurricane. Someone or someones on Twitter called it the week of the hurriquake.

I fell asleep last night to gentle rain and mild breezes and woke up around 1:30 AM to bursts of rain heavy rain and loud wind gusts. I think that’s what woke me up — either that or the sound of a transformer blowing somewhere nearby. I checked the clock and saw it was still glowing, so knew the transformer was the one that connected to our power lines.

Tweet from Mike Leroy
Tweet from Mike Leroy

Unable to sleep, I went upstairs and logged onto Facebook and Twitter to see how others were doing. Some had lost power, others had seen it go out while on their way home from nights out. Most were just posting from home hoping their power didn’t fail. I posted a couple of updates and then I received my favorite tweet mention of all. It was from Mike Leroy who sang the title song in one of my favorite movies when I was younger, A High Wind in Jamaica. I blogged about this song in my song a day blog and Mr. Leroy commented on that post.

Anyway, we survived and so did our power. Only minor damage to the house (a downspout came loose) and a few downed branches. Nothing much else to report.

Here’s hoping those of you to still meet Ms Irene will come out as unscathed as we did.