This posting is for my granddaughter Katie, who told me tonight the best Christmas present she could receive would be a white Christmas. As much as I would love to be able to give her that present, there is a reason I dare not even try. She will understand if she reads the following, a column from Gazette Newspapers in 2007: (by Rose Moore, Columnist and Weather Witch)
Why was my column missing missing last week? Because I got what I asked for, at least weather-wise.
For at least eight weeks preceding the recent storm that broke the drought, we watched as "scattered showers" visited communities to the north, south, east and west of us. Despite my vigilance and constant watering, my lawns and gardens were succumbing to the wilting heat and drying winds and a dearth of natural moisture.
In desperation I began to pray in earnest, "Let it rain." Given my personal history with that sort of weather-tinkering that caused my family to dub me the "weather witch," I should have known better. Mother Nature sends her answer, and then she slaps me down.
Consider my role in the Great Thanksgiving Storm of 1950. When a warm Thanksgiving rain began to melt a magnificent snowman my siblings and I had created, I ordered my younger brothers and sisters to kneel with me and pray with all our might for the return of snow and cold. The storm--The Great Thanksgiving Week Blizzard of 1950--began that night, and it is still a legend in Ohio weather archives. Stunned by the result, we swore off that sort of thing, and for my part, I stuck to that promise for a good long time.
But... My own children were in grade school when I ventured back into that dangerous arena. When I complained about the long dry spell that made our gardens wither, our middle son Bryan recalled a Navajo weather ritual he had learned in kindergarten. With his leadership---and his order that we had to believe or it wouldn't work---we sat in a closed circle of clasped hands and bowed heads and closed eyes and repeated with him the ancient ceremonial plea to the Great Spirit to bring rain for the crops.
Apparently we DID believe! The rains came down in torrents, sending a river of water down the road to flood our garage and front courtyard. The water proceeded next door to my in-laws' property, washing away the corner foundation of their garage. Assuming the same kind of guilt I had felt in the Thanksgiving weather mischief of my own childhood, my boys decided firmly not to try that sort of thing again, and I agreed.
But... on a January night years later, as the boys prepared for bed, a weather bulletin lured us back to our mischief. Despite the spring-warm rains of that winter night, the weather person was warning that a "panhandle hook" from Texas was on its way with lots of snow for Northeast Ohio.
Three pairs of eyes lit up at the thought. It seemed too warm for such a snow to arrive in time to close school the next morning, but Goddard had said it was so. Still, my three boys decided one of Mom's 1950-style prayer sessions was in order, as extra insurance. My child-like love for the magic of such unscheduled holidays prompted me to join them, and as it turned out, we got more than we bargained for. We got the Blizzard of 1978, that "great white hurricane with snow" that made a lot of trouble and will never be forgotten. Now perhaps I would keep my hands off the weather once and for all!
But... It was a soggy summer in the 1980s when I tampered with the weather once again. When the flowers in my boggy gardens were growing more slowly than the toadstools, I raised my eyes to heaven, cursing the rains and praying fervently for some good old-fashioned summer heat to dry things out.
Oh my, the heat came quickly and stayed around awhile, without a bit of rain. Temperatures were rising to the triple-digits, as white-hot winds blew dust into my eyes and turned my grass to straw. And when, mysteriously, the peat moss in my paltry flower beds caught fire, it seemed to me an added punishment for my arrogance.
AND NOW... judging by events that kept last week's column from happening, you may have guessed I was up to my weather mischief again. With dying gardens, heat-stressed trees and crisp-cooked lawns, I forgot myself and prayed for rain.
The rainstorm came, alright, and it was fairly minor in its way. The cooling, gentle rains that followed through the week were soothing to our lawns and trees and gardens. But with the onset of the rains, an electrical bolt from the heavens had fried my computer as I was working on my column. For sure, this was a message.
Will I change my ways? Probably not. I'm a member of the same human race that cries all winter for summer heat and cries all summer for winter cool. I'm a member of the same human race whose indoor workers cry for pleasant weather for the weekends, and whose outdoor workers cry for decent weather for their working days. It seems we humans just will not be satisfied.
So... when it comes to weather, what should we ask for? Perhaps we should ask for nothing and make the best of the weather that comes our way; it's out of our hands.
If we try to make it otherwise, we are playing with fire... and flood and drought and blizzards and a whole lot more!