We are told by our weather forecasters that a terrible snowstorm is coming our way. We are told to prepare for it, to be ready. We are told to buy the things we need, to make sure our animals are okay, to make sure we have “extras” of everything. Most people who listen to these warnings can avoid serious difficulty, but I found myself wondering today what people did before they had weathermen to tell them when a storm was approaching. How did they know to prepare? How did they know what was coming?
For all practical purposes, this day started out beautifully and stayed that way well up to the early afternoon. The sky only showed some low lying clouds and a few cloud wisps here and there. The sun was shining brilliantly. Of course, it was cold because it’s winter, but that’s to be expected. So how would I have known that a snowstorm was approaching? That’s what I set out to find today, and here are a few notes I took along the way.
First, I can say that I did not see one squirrel--not even one. Usually, they are active on a sunny day, seeing what they can steal from their bird friends. But I never saw one at all. Birds were also pretty scarce. They usually come to my feeders constantly, but I didn’t see many at all. You’d think that they would be trying to eat as much as possible if a storm were approaching, but the opposite was true. They were hidden.
|We went from brilliant sunshine to total gray in less than 15 minutes.|
You’ve heard the old saying? “Seagull, seagull, sit on the sand. It’s never good weather when you’re on land.” I think it’s a very true saying, and I did see some gulls on land. They don’t like it when the wind picks up too much, which it did, or when the ocean gets too choppy. I also found a spider web in my house that didn’t have a spider. I just cleaned in that area a couple of days ago and there was no web then, so I know the spider abandoned its new web and went looking for better shelter. They say it’s because spiders can sense a drop in the atmospheric pressure. I don’t know if it’s true, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
And speaking of a drop in the atmospheric pressure, I had the devil of a time today trying to keep my fire going. The pressure kept messing with the smoke coming out of the chimney, forcing it to curl back downwards. I had several downdrafts I had to take care of, and my house was pretty smoky. I guess the biggest clue of the atmospheric drop, though, was not in the chimney smoke but in how all of my old injuries felt. Everything ached, and whenever I don’t have a spring in my step, I know something’s going to happen weather-wise.
Finally, the wind came in from the northeast today, and it always seems to bring snow with it in winter when it comes from that direction. I mentioned that to the farmer up the road, and he said his cows knew it for sure. He said whenever they swish their tales to the east, we’re going to get snow, and he said they’d been swishing all morning. Well, if it’s good enough for cows, it’s good enough for me.
I think I should pay more attention to approaching winter storms. In spring, summer, and fall it’s easy. I always know when a storm is approaching in the warmer seasons. I can smell it in the air. I know that sounds a little loopy, but it’s true. I can smell it instantly. Winter is trickier, though. I’ve got plenty of food and things stored in my house, so I am not worried. But it might still be a good idea to be able to know a winter storm is approaching as easily as I know when one is coming in spring, summer, or fall. We might not always have a weatherman to give us the day’s prediction.
By mid afternoon, the sun had vanished, and rather quickly, I might add. The sky turned very gray very fast, and I couldn’t find a patch of blue anywhere. It all happened in less than 15 minutes. We went from brilliant sunshine to total gloom. The squirrels, birds, cows, gulls, and spider were right, after all. There’s a storm coming in!