The Year Of Living Weirdly


I woke to a torrential rain this morning, and the first thought in my mind was a flash-back…right to one year ago today, when Hurricane Irene wrought her devastation on New England.  It was a Sunday, I remember that, and the day before school.  And where I am, we got off very, very easy.  Not so, north of us about 10, maybe 15 miles, where the Deerfield River ended its two-state flooding spree by trashing the farms in, well, Deerfield.

It’s been the Year of Living Weirdly, indeed.  Tornadoes in Springfield Massachusetts in June. Hurricanes in Vermont.  Catastrophic flooding in August. A freak major blizzard at Halloween…and then no snow at all for the rest of the year.  Record warm temperatures through the entire time.

I didn’t even bother trying to grow tomatoes this year.  For one, I came to the reluctant conclusion that my garden dirt harbors Septoria.  Every summer it’s been a mad race to finish harvesting the fruit before the Septoria kills the plant.  This spring, I realized that I needed to let the garden lie fallow for a few years and hope that the fungus dies off without any new fuel.  It’s meant not having those wonderful, warm, bursting, fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes that I love so much…but given how vile the weather has been here all summer, I don’t know that I’d have gotten that experience anyway.  Much of the summer has reminded me, forcibly, of my home in Houston, Home Of The Most Hellish Weather In The Nation.  It’s been hot, humid, always sticky.  I can’t remember the last time it was nice enough to leave the AC off and open the house.  A long time, considering the musty smell the house is starting to pick up.  Usually in the summer here, there are maybe three weeks where it’s nasty enough to need the AC around the clock.  This year, it’s more like three months.

I hate this.

I hate this even more when I pause to consider the possibility – and I am familiar with the science, and know that it is a possibility and not a proven fact at this point – that this wretched weather we’ve been having this year is a function of global climate change.  I hate it that too many humans trying to do too many thing using appallingly inefficient sources of energy, may have caused this.

And I really hate the notion that this might just be the Way It Is Going To Be from here on out.

Because, you know, I didn’t pack up my bags and move everything to an alien environment – having to learn all new slang, body language, and customs, dealing with bad drivers, spending unthought-of amounts of money on a house, paying a bunch of strange new taxes, changing all of my doctors and my driver’s license and address – in order to frickin’ live back in Houston.  And, for that matter, if I’d wanted to live in Portland or Seattle (which is what we had all winter) I’d have gone there.  No.  I want cold winters with lots of snow.  I want nice summers with only a short period of heat.  I want beautiful springs, and autumns filled with color.  That’s what I want.

Last year, we didn’t have a fall.  I mean, we did have a fall because everything eventually fell but it wasn’t a Fall.  The hurricane and the flood saw to that.  Took down any leaves that were thinking about becoming Interesting, and left nasty fungal infections behind that took care of any other leaves that might possibly have thought about becoming Interesting.

Oh, yeah, and it messed up the gourd crops.  They were harder to find than usual, and when you did find them, they looked OK until you cut into them and found them rotting from the inside out.  And the ones that weren’t rotting when you bought them, got that way pretty quickly.  I usually buy bushels of the things and keep them about the house as Objets d’Art until I want one for cooking.  Nothing like eating the decor, which is what you usually get to do, living in New England.  These things, last year?  Didn’t last worth diddly squat.  Not that one was in the mood for eating lots of rich pumpkin soups and stuff, not with the weather the way it was.  Reminded me of going to buy a Solstice Tree down in Texas…nothing like shopping for holiday evergreens while wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of flip-flops.  Just sucks the joy right out of the season, that does.

So here we are, on the anniversary of Irene, and I am sorely hoping that this year, it will be better.  That we will have our proper chilly weather, our proper beautiful foliage, our proper crisp nights, our proper bright blue skies, and ultimately, our proper snowy winter.

I’m a little concerned, though, because yesterday I saw the Pumpkin Truck.  I feel about the Pumpkin Truck the way Huey feels about the Hay Truck.  Good Stuff, There, that’s how.  And at first I was excited, because, well, it was the Pumpkin Truck!!  And then I remembered it’s still August.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Pumpkin Truck at this time of year. Shouldn’t really be buzzing about for another two, three weeks, I think.  When it’s Fall, you know.

That’s what I want.  Back to normal.  Not a “new normal”.  I liked the old one.

Running Water

See? Like this. This is what we want. This, and lots of pumpkins and exotic winter squash.


About Lori Holder-Webb

I'm a Southern Woman by birth and a Texan Woman by upbringing...and yet I find myself living in New England and married to a New York City boy. Up here we use the same currency as we do at home, and I don't need to travel with a passport, but the commonalities pretty much end there. The language is different, the jokes are different, the people are different, and the weather and terrain sure are different too. I moved away from Texas in 2002, and ever since then, I've been the stranger in the strange land... I've had some questions about the name of the blog - if you were not alive, or living abroad or under a rock, or in grad school during the late 1980s, Oldsmobile attempted to shuck its stodgy image with a series of commercials intended to bring brand appeal to the younger generation: this car, they said, is not your father's Oldsmobile. If you have a morbid curiosity, hit YouTube for William Shatner will take you right there.

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