Wednesday, April 10, 2013

back when the wind was coming from the south, it was hot and dry and dusty, and i was beginning to notice that line somewhere around 20 mph where the little gritty sand gets in your teeth. i'm not sure about that line; i'd like to know if it's at 20, 23, 18, or what, but i know it when i feel it. i could hear some fire trucks out in the city; apparently when it's that windy & dry, there's some fire danger.

but then it all got hit by a cold front from the north. the sky got cloudy and gray, and this wind was much colder. when we woke up this morning it was sleeting and freezing on the ground and then it became huge snowflakes that were blowing all around blocking your vision, not because there were so many of them so much, but because they were all over the place, and not just falling straight down. of course when it's snow it's water and we're glad to see it on one level or another, this place being as dry as it is, but i'd covered the plants and they wouldn't get much of that water anyway. and also, you got an inch of snow or so, that's not really all that much water. it's equivalent to a light watering. if it clears right up and gets warm, which it certainly will (this being april and all), that water will be gone in a minute. things might be a shade greener though.

speaking of april, watch for the april rocks display which i'll make the minute i have a minute. things have been a bit busy lately what with kids, soccer and baseball practice, doctors, and running around. i haven't been able to create much, haven't even tended to business much. i won the ncaa bracket but of course i don't gamble; i'd picked louisville for the men's championship, and they won, and this was like the only time i ever got it right. it's pretty much of a random pick on my part anyway; some years i do better than others, but for the most part i just like having the names of all those universities roll off my tongue and that way, when somebody mentions some place like gonzaga, i know a little about it, where it is maybe, or something about its luck in the tournament over the years. we've been talking basketball a little because we have a good friend in the program; we changed coaches here and the new one took him on, and this is good because we like him and we can continue to know a little about the program, the games, etc. i got some hunches from him, about who might win, who might upset someone else, but it was the first inside information i'd gotten in years, and it only pertained to few teams, and besides, when you get five young kids on the court to play five more, anything can happen any time, and that's about the only solid thing i've learned over the years.

so apparently, you get all this snow and rain and ice dancing around on the roads, you get a few accidents out there, and people have a little trouble getting to work. it's not so much that they can't drive in it as that it appears unexpectedly in places you didn't expect it, around a corner or when you were looking at something else. a few no-shows here at the lab, and i actually have time to blog, but i have to give an exam later, and i'm walking, because i wouldn't ride my bike in this stuff. when i walked in, the cold hard wind was blowing snow in my face and even my wool hat wasn't keeping me warm enough. i thought about when i arrived in iowa, what was it 1975, and for many years, the whole eleven that i lived there, i kept hearing people say, april ninth, april ninth, worst blizzard we ever had was april ninth. another thing they said was, yeah, mostly the snow comes from the west, comes rolling off the rockies in colorado or montana or alberta, or wherever, but every once in a while it comes around from the northeast, circles around and picks up all that snow and bluster from the lakes, that's what happened on april ninth apparently. this doesn't seem to be an issue on the high plains, we don't have any lakes, but we're a bit closer to the mountains, so it can be a lot colder and come whipping around like it did today, suddenly and in these wide, sweeping fronts blowing across the plains.

it reminds me, i was telling my story about how people don't know north from south anymore, they don't need to because of their phones, they don't even need to know first street from second, and this guy tells about moving to town with a moving van and being unable to find the simplest thing, because of the lack of mountains. how do you know which way is west, if you don't have any mountains? i'd never thought of it. i'd heard, living in kansas one time, that everyone in kansas knew north from south, knew where they were every minute, you had to, because it was so flat. if it was daytime you'd look at the sun and notice how it moved across your windshield as you drove. i'm not sure how people do it. maybe you take out your phone, and your phone notices which way the sun is moving across the horizon, and it asks the sun if it's daylight savings time or what. phones make it their business to know this stuff, but i'm like everyone else, i'm beginning to lose track. i'm glad, though, that they make most of the streets east, west, north, south, because i've lived in places where they twist around and it unsettles you, whereas here you get that kansas feeling that everything goes somewhere eventually, though it may take you a while, if you get on the bigger roads, eventually you'll see a sign. and that's what you use, even if it's pitch black outside.

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