Whatever the Weather

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve noticed before how weather seems key to so many of our blog posts. I suppose it’s a carry over from face to face conversation. “Some weather,” we say in passing to the cashier at the grocery store; or to the friends we see daily,  “Can you believe this is January?”

So we say to you, readers, as we start our conversation in this space: Think of the weather! And here is art.

Maybe it’s just that winter has taken so long in coming this year that I continue Pakou’s thread of wintery posts, because even with the weather – a mundane, everyday topic – we are still amazed. Even among things that happen every year, such as the first snowfall, which Peter Eaton captures below in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

I guess we must measure our time somehow, and weather is an old and trusted method. Ken Murphy measured time this way by a yearlong time lapse study of the sky. He captured an image every 10 seconds for the entire year and compiled it in 360 frames so the patterns of light and weather over the course of each day are easily compared.

Eirik Solheim of Oslo, Norway did a similar project, but he captured 3,888 photos of the same scene and compiled slices of each into one photo, moving through the year from January to December:

The passing of this day, however, is much slower, and for this I measure with snapshots not of weather, but brief moments of praise, as the poet Marcus Jackson does in “Winter Thanks.”

To the furnace—tall, steel rectangle
containing a flawless flame.
To heat

gliding through ducts, our babies
asleep like bundled opal.

every furry grain of every
warm hour, praise each
deflection of frost,

praise the fluent veins, praise
the repair person, trudging
in a Carhartt coat

to dig for leaky lines, praise
the equator, where snow
is a stranger,

praise the eminent sun
for letting us orbs buzz around it
like younger brothers,

praise the shooter’s pistol
for silencing its fire by
reason of a chilly chamber

praise our ancestors who shuddered
through winters, bunched
on stark bunks,

praise the owed money
becoming postponed by a lender
who won’t wait

much longer in the icy wind,
praise the neon antifreeze
in our Chevrolet radiator,

and praise the kettle whistle,
imitating an important train,
delivering us

these steam-brimmed sips of tea.

It’s good to end poems and days with tea, regardless of the weather. We should all make a practice of both.


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