Waiting Out the Weather

By Beacon Staff

Will it ever stop snowing? I know the answer: “Yes, eventually, but only for a few months. Then it all begins again.”

I know more than that. Even after it ends the interloper might return briefly to dump on your July picnic, partially out of spite and partially because ever since you’ve been here people have told you that up here it can snow any day of the year. This year you just happened to have chosen that day.

I don’t know what the weather is like now, meaning when you read this. There’s time enough between a contributor’s deadline and the day the newspaper hits the streets for a hurricane to roll through, followed by full deployment of the National Guard, not that there’s much chance of that happening this far inland. But now, and by now I mean now, as in when I’m writing this, sometime in the past, right now the snow is like fine-grained white sand, swirling above the neighbor’s roof in a wind fierce enough to prevent the microscopic shards of ice from making landfall.

This is exactly what I get for having waited until the tail end of March to declare that fateful month as the possessor of the suckiest weather of all. These months are a spiteful lot, and they stick together. My proclamation came too late for March to take some measure of revenge. So April is doing its bidding.

Friday I fished as scattered clouds drifted overhead. When they broke it was warm enough that I considered peeling my waders to the waist and losing my fleece. Saturday was so nice I ventured out in the evening in shorts and sandals. No socks, however, though it was brisk enough. Only married dudes can pull off socks and sandals on Saturday night.

Sunday things began to turn. It rained briefly, but when I scanned the sky to the west there was broken sunlight. I was once advised never to use the sky to forecast the weather, as in these parts the weather you see will usually change before you get there. I probably got that advice from the same old timer who promised if I hung around long enough I just might get to see snow on the Fourth of July. And he said that with a twinkle in his eye that made clear he thought that would be a good thing.

I ignored the advice and headed for that patch of sun, which was hovering over my favorite hole on the river. This time I got lucky. I caught five fish in quick succession, including a cutthroat that was about 20 inches long, but shrunk down to only 18 when I measured it.
By Monday the temperature had dropped to the mid-teens and the wind chill made it feel like 40 below. That’s when the first few grains of white sand appeared. By mid-afternoon you ran the risk of exfoliating any exposed skin if you stepped outside.

This is of course why we live here. The weather is so rotten for so long that it makes the month and a half when the weather is really good seem too scant a reward, so the masses stay away. My friends down south like to taunt me with January text messaged weather reports such as: “It’s 70 degrees and the largemouth are moving onto the redds. We’re fishing in our bathing suits.”

Sometimes there’s a 70-degree swing between where the message was sent, and where it was received. The messages get me pining for wet wading in January, and the tug of a bass on a spinning rod. Then I remember my last visit. The weather rocks. I walk around in shorts and get dirty looks from the folks bundled up in scarves and heavy coats to fend off the frigid 60-degree evening temperatures.

It’s all great until I get on the freeway for a 10-mile jaunt across town and the traffic is so bad it takes more than an hour. I never get text messages from my old pals telling me how it’s 70 degrees and they’ll probably be at the lake before nightfall assuming the bumper-to-bumper gridlock eventually clears up.

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