When you grow up on a farm, paying attention to the weather is necessary for a variety of reasons. What to wear. What to plant and when. When to take shelter. What the day’s “to do list” looks like. What would be good for play ideas for those of us with the time. And more.
I would like to think this sense of necessity also helped create the sense of stewardship and respect my siblings and I developed early on and still have for nature and the environment. Our parents modeled those values as well, and I very much appreciate that.
It’s no wonder we grew up a family of weather watchers. Some of us more than others, but we all have varying degrees of that weather bug. We paid attention to the signs and indicators Mother Nature provided, and picked up a long list of sayings and old wives’ tales. A couple I remember:
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.”
“If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain for 7 Sundays in a row.”
Dew or no dew on the grass in the morning, wind direction, thermometer readings, thunderheads forming, and the smell of the air were just some signs I learned to tune into as a youngster.
What I liked least about the weather was the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. What I liked best was the potential for a snow day and then having that hope realized.
Thunder and lightning scared me. If a storm hit overnight, I would make sure my hands were always under the covers. My child’s brain worried about being an easier target for lightning with exposed fingers. Severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings put us on higher alert. When tornado sirens went off in town, we knew it was serious.
On those hot and humid days of childhood summers, the constant stream of weather information and access to radar wasn’t available like it is now. Instead, we turned to the real deal. We headed out to the front porch and watched the sky, until it was wise to go back indoors. There were times when we went to the basement, but thankfully the worst always missed us.
On the other end of the thermometer, I welcomed the possibility of winter storms and lots of snow. If a storm was predicted, we turned to the radio and TV news for the forecast. If the snow came, we were up early listening to KOEL radio for late starts and closings. It was true music to our ears if our school made the list.
As I hit my teens, I wasn’t as thrilled by the weather ups and downs, especially if it interfered with my athletic events or social plans.
I have never grown weary of the changing seasons and the awe I feel as I witness whatever Mother Nature doles out on a daily basis. I am proud to come from a family full of weather watchers.