It’s not ‘my’ weather, mis­sus

The Compass - - OPINION -

“That’s all the news, and now for your weather,” breathed the chirpy voice com­ing out of the ra­dio. Not the weather, but your weather. Ac­cord­ing to the chirpy voice the weather she was about to de­scribe was mine. Mine. I owned it.

I walked to the win­dow, pulled open the cur­tains to see what my weather looked like. Rain, ice pel­lets, sleet and freez­ing rain all to­gether were sheet­ing down from the dense blue-gray clouds rac­ing over­head. Where it was poorly drained the sheet of ice that cov­ered ev­ery bit of the ground I could see was fill­ing with pud­dles, the rip­pled sil­ver sur­face of the wa­ter glis­ten­ing as the early light of dawn peeked through the patches of open sky. Pud­dles of wa­ter on top of ice. There may be some­thing more slip­pery in ex­is­tence, but I don’t know what it is.

I’d seen enough of my weather. I stepped back and pulled the cur­tains shut.

I was about to get aboard the car and drive to East­port to pick up some things we needed for sup­per. To do that, I needed to take a nar­row, two-lane road that winds its way from Sal­vage at sea level, past Wild Cove, up the steep slope of Wild Cove Hill, past Wild Cove Pond to near where Half­way Rock stands. Half­way Rock is over­grown by the for­est to­day. It stands 300 feet above the sea, the high­est point in the eight kilo­me­tre jour­ney from Sal­vage to East­port. Not long af­ter the vil­lage of Sal­vage Bay changed its name to East­port a road was built and the first car ever ar­rived over­land in Sal­vage. That was in the mid-60s.

In olden times when peo­ple walked be­tween Sal­vage and Sal­vage Bay they would sit down and take a spell at Half­way Rock. Young men and maidens from the two com­mu­ni­ties would some­times meet there to get to know one another bet­ter. In or­der that cars could ne­go­ti­ate the new road though, its di­rec­tion had to be changed.

To­day it by­passes Half­way Rock and plunges from the crest down­ward over Long Grade. Not just long, the grade is steep. It hugs the sheer cliff­side on the south­ern verge of the road where to­day I could ex­pect to see 20- to 30-foot ici­cles hang­ing over­head. On the north side the drop is al­most ver­ti­cal to the sea be­low. In be­tween, dur­ing the 90 short­est days of the year the sun never reaches the bot­tom of long grade, so ice gath­ers there on the sur­face of the road. To­day, my weather would be adding a steady stream of wa­ter run­ning over the ice, guar­an­tee­ing a treach­er­ous ride.

Let’s get some­thing straight. De­spite what the chirpy-voiced mis­sus on the ra­dio say­ing your weather to me, it is not, I re­peat not, my weather. If this was my weather, if I owned this weather, it would not be like this. Weather or­ga­nized by me would be very dif­fer­ent. That said, I am re­al­is­tic enough to know that Longfel­low was right when he wrote, “Into each life some rain must fall,” but the Inkspots were right too when they added, “But too much is fall­ing in mine.” If I was in charge of the weather, who would agree with me about how much was too much, just right, or not enough. No one.

So please, Mrs. Chirpy, don’t call it your weather. Call it the weather. I don’t want the re­spon­si­bil­ity for the cars driv­ing down Long Grade with all that wa­ter-cov­ered ice wait­ing for them. While you’re at it don’t call the winds your winds. They are the winds. I don’t want to feel re­spon­si­ble for the small boats at sea when winds that are blow­ing out of the north­east at 130 kilo­me­tres per hour.

I know you are try­ing to make a per­sonal con­nec­tion with your au­di­ence. That’s a good idea, bring­ing ev­ery­one to­gether.

So, call it the weather. That way none of us is re­spon­si­ble. That will bring us all to­gether, guilt-free, grum­bling about the weather.

— Peter Pick­ers­gill is an artist and writer in Sal­vage, Bon­av­ista Bay. He can be reached by email at the fol­low­ing: pick­ers­

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