Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is Weather a Place?

A week ago, after reading a number excerpts from my book to the Steamboat Kiwanis Club, one of the members asked me, “How is it that you thought of weather as a place?” I had just read the following paragraph from my essay on Junior Bedell, a long-time resident of the Elk River Valley:

Weather’s always the first point of contact after hello. Once I thought it was silly, superficial, until I heard someone say, “The subject of weather is a safe common denominator. We all experience weather, so it’s a place we can meet quickly.” And for Junior, me, and other farmers and ranchers, weather is an agricultural heartbeat we hear. We understand its power to create and take away: deep snow pack brings timothy and alfalfa grass to the valley come summer, yet late spring snowstorms endanger newborns.

I have to confess that I hadn’t thought about the fact I’d referred to weather as a place until this gentleman asked me. But after thinking about it, I do experience weather as both a place where I engage with others in regular weather commentary as well as an element of the physical place in which I live day to day.

Snowshoeing to the spring on the TV Tower hill yesterday I thought, although we might think of “place” as a static and physical locale, my sense of place at any given moment on that hillside is in part created by the state of the atmosphere: the calm, the breeze, the gray, the sunlight, the heat, and the chill. The dirt or snowpack beneath my feet, the distant horizon, volcanic peaks, and low-lying hillsides are all transformed at any given moment by the mood of the day.

I often think how I love my place on the hillside, whether it’s running in the heat of a summer day or snowshoeing through a winter storm whistling out of the southwest. It is in fact on those days when the weather is the most present, perhaps the most dramatic, that I love the place, the hillside I call the TV Tower even more.




Watch for the 2011 Steamboat Kiwanis Club Christmas Ornament sales. This year's ornament is graced with the artwork of Jean Perry.

1 comment:

nevergiveup said...

Mary,
Thank you so much for visiting our Kiwanis Club to introduce your book. Our group enjoyed your presentation and reading. Even those who have resided in the Elk River Valley for a long time saw things from a different perspective.