It’s not ‘my’ weather, missus
“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: firstname.lastname@example.org