I have heard fantastic rumors about places that have predictable weather. Places where whatever the local meteorologist says is true. Friends in San Diego say it’s usually sunny, in the 70’s, and the marine layer rolls in every afternoon. Oh.
Friends on the Outer Banks tell me they believe their weather man. Sunny? Check. Stormy? Check. They can plan their day–and their wardrobe–on the weathery swirls and dots they see behind the smiling man or woman who points them out on the map.
This has never happened in Western North Carolina. It’s spring now, but it’s really “dogwood winter,” which is an old term that refers to spells of warm weather in late spring when the dogwoods (and everything else) flower out, then the cold comes back and freezes their buds off. (Sidebar: we can probably also look forward to a “blackberry winter” in early summer: the blackberries bloom, then we potentially lose them to the cold.)
“Snain” fell from the sky yesterday–a lumpy mix of snow and rain that always manages to sneak down the back of your neck because you’ve given up wearing a scarf since it’s technically spring. There’s a freeze warning in effect for the next couple of nights, and the Hendersonville apple crop is probably shivering right down to its roots.
This puts me in mind of two odd memories: the first is an old Donald Duck comic book, in which Donald wanted to raise a crop of prize apples for the Duckburg Fair. Unfortunately, his apple tree was just across the fence from his lucky, lazy cousin Gladstone Gander’s tree, so everything Donald did benefited Gladstone. Donald finally got so mad he threatened to “chop down the apple tree, make a boat, and sail away to Madagascar!” That phrase has become part of the shorthand in which my family speaks, and means that you’re so frustrated you’re out of control.
Second odd memory: Dr. Seuss’ “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”, in which the King of Did wanted something different to come down from the sky (he was tired of rain and snow, etc.). He set his magicians to workon the project, and they invented oobleck for him:
“Won’t look like rain. Won’t look like snow. Won’t look like fog. That’s all we know.
We just can’t tell you any more. We’ve never made oobleck before.
We go now to our secret cave on Mystic Mountain Neeka-tave. There, all night long, we’ll work for you. And you’ll have oobleck when we’re through!”
Much more exciting than the “snain” I saw, but far less perilous, even if you’re not a Perilous Poozer of Pampelmousse Pass…
Thanks, Donald Duck and Dr. Seuss, for brightening a snainy day in Asheville!