Winding Down with the Weather

Summer has begun to wind down here in the Southern Ontario desert. And not a moment too soon.

It has been the driest, most miserable summer in a long time. Everything is crispy and my flowers have died. My vegetable garden is stunted and barely hanging on. And I have spent the vast majority of the summer indoors, instead of outside enjoying it. It’s just been a lousy summer in terms of weather.

But this past weekend, the temperatures began their slow downward slide towards autumn. It was cool and windy enough to open the windows and enjoy the breeze. It was deceptive, that breeze — BDH got an incredibly nasty sunburn on his face and head during his soccer tournament on Saturday, because the breeze was cool enough that one could forget that the sun was still dangerous.

Part of the change in weather comes from elsewhere. Although we haven’t seen it yet, when hurricane season gets into full swing, we feel some changes in weather here. While hurricanes and tropical storms pummel those to the south and east of us, here it means we get the tail end of whatever storms are on the go. The hurricane season down south brings us the blessed relief of rain and cool winds.

And I have to admit a bit of guilty fascination with the hurricane season. Although I know how destructive and nasty these storms are, I am still finding myself glued to my newsreader, poring over each story, checking out the photos and videos. I am intrigued. Part of it comes from the fact that they often hit places I’ve been to and know and have great fondness for — like this week, the Cayman Islands and St. Lucia and Jamaica. But part of it is that these storms are so entirely foreign to us, here in the middle of farm country. We just don’t GET hurricanes or tropical storms.

I’ve been in one hurricane, or maybe it was a tropical storm, when I was working in the Caymans one year. It was a very minor hurricane, just a Category 1 if that, passing the islands by, and so we only got the outer sturm und drang of thunderstorms and wind. But holy cow, what a show it was still! 6 inches of rain in the parking lot of the office, so that you had to take your shoes off to walk from the car to the office. Cracks of thunder so loud, with just a metal roof between you and the elements amplifying the noise. It was pretty awesome, even at that distance from the actual hurricane. I can’t imagine being in the centre of it all.

So sometimes, I feel a tad guilty in the voyeurism of hurricane-news-watching. Not to mention, in the benefits we get from the storms going by.

But aside from that, I feel great relief as the summer starts winding down. My favourite season by far is the fall, with its gorgeous colours and cooler but brilliantly sunny days. I love the freshness of the air, the myriad of farm-fresh treats as the harvests come in, and throwing the windows open and feeling the house cool down.

If only we could have the autumn, then a few short weeks of a mild winter, and then move right into spring again, I’d be a happy camper indeed.