Or, at least, something cold and damp.

The wind chime on the front porch plays merrily. I’ve fixed that thing a dozen times; the original threads were some kind of leather, and deteriorated badly. Each time I just knotted the broken place and pulled everything back even it exposed a new place to the sun and air, and sooner or later it broke. The last time, I pulled the leather string out completely and replaced it with synthetic fly-fishing line. That was a year ago.

Something Chilly This Way Comes

Yellows and reds abound on the radar plot in a southwest-to-northeast line to the West and North. They boil and bubble, traveling from southwest to northeast — but the line itself creeps inexorably to the East and South. The phenomenon is so familiar that I don’t need a surface analysis synoptic to know what’s going on. Twice a year the Polar and Tropical air masses fight it out for which is to dominate the weather for the next two quarters, and I live in the battleground. The same one always wins, but the other always comes back six months later for another round; and, as in any other clash of arms, no matter who wins the battlefield ends up the worse for wear. Today the Arctic is on the offensive, and the heavy weapons can be heard in the distance.

Now the chime is almost silent, breaking into music from time to time as the gusts come and go. The wind’s been in the South all morning, bringing a faint scent of the far-off Gulf, and the heavy broken clouds parted here and there to allow a glimpse of blue and occasional sunbeams, altogether as nice a set of conditions for an hour and half of walking through town and country as one could ask. Now, though, the sky is uniformly leaden, Æolus has moved his base of operations to the West, and the temperature’s dropped enough for the propane-eater to start working. By sundown the wind will be in the north-northwest and chill.

It is, after all, winter. Time to undo the screen door hook and close the front door. No more breeze to ruffle the papers, no more frisch to relieve the stuffiness indoors, until I pull on a light jacket and go pick up the tools and car parts I’ve left out in the weather. I should have gone and scraped the old registration sticker off the truck’s windshield and replaced it immediately I got home, but a nap seemed more important. Mother Nature will always remind you to put first things first.

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