Sunday, March 02, 2014

so last night the temperature fell about twenty degrees in two hours, and by the time we went out for a walk with the dog, about nine at night, it was already down in the forties with a fine kind of drizzle. now it's more like the thirties and it's actually raining, which is a miracle; folks here are generally overjoyed to get any moisture at all even if it's snow or the coldest kind of rain. so i think people are overall happy, even though the driving is a little dicey.

i look at news reports from up north though, and they're having another one of those ice/snow storms, a foot of ice with a foot of snow on top, driving dangerous, everyone worried about loss of power, etc. and it's just one more in a long string of storms that has pretty much kept on coming all year, from about october. an unusually hard winter, with lots of hardship, snow days, bad travel, cars in ditches, and on and on. we feel guilty down here, having pretty much opted out of the whole mess. but we woke up this morning, with it like forty and feeling like it was going to rain, and we decided just to opt out entirely from church.

we have mixed feelings about church anyway, what with our household being a mixture of various feelings, ranging right down to the youngest who likes groups of young people and benevolent adults who don't watch the sugar plate very well, but when the other youngsters get to teasing him then he's a little less enthusiastic. i do it by habit, because religion has been a strong part of my life for years, but this particular religion (presbyterianism) is not a perfect fit for me, since i'm quaker, so i have mixed feelings about the entire experience too, though i love the people and do it mostly for the young guy. then there's my wife and son, who are just beginning to go, put their feet in the water so to speak, and they're doing it mostly because we might have young girls here soon, and so if it takes we'll all have a community and friends, and people to do stuff with. that's a good reason to go; we like the people; they're of similar minds to us, and we enjoy being with them. but my wife and son have different kinds of feelings about the religion part of it. you have to think hard about how you feel about religion, and each of them has a different way of approaching a presbyterian service, with its choir, choral readings, etc.

went to a basketball game the other night; tech was trying to fill its arena, the so-called usa, with ten thousand students so we threw our hat in and joined in on the noise. they got about six thousand, still set a record, both for tech and for the conference this year, and had a great game, though we lost. the crowd support was substantial, and we enjoyed hearing all the people in the arena whoop it up and support the team, which is actually just kind of middling. with the tournament coming up, such teams as iowa, iowa state, kansas, oklahoma and oklahoma state will all be in it, and will have a chance, but tech won't, so this was very likely our last chance to watch and enjoy. that was a cold night too; we've actually had some winter here. we walked the four blocks home with our collars up and were good and cold by the time we got here.

the thing is, lubbock does have a winter; the high plains wind hits us hard, and there's plenty of cold air to blow around. just now the tiny bit of rain that we got froze, on cars, on roads, and on lawns, so it caused a little trouble, but we've had some snow, some ice, some windstorms.

one thing about living here is that people know about the wind and consider it to be just as important if not more important than the temp. One day i asked my friend how bad the wind was, and she said, 37, and she turned out to be only one mph off; it was in fact 36. but she was walking around with that general awareness, much like i'd keep track of the temperature. so i asked her about the degree of inconvenience caused by increasingly higher winds, and she had a good bead on that too. 30 is already pretty inconvenient; you start feeling it in your teeth. a certain amount of dirt, most of it from new mexico, starts blowing around and collecting in the little corners by the fence line. your visibility, especially in the southwesterly direction, starts to get compromised.

on my walk at night i go west about two blocks, south two, east two, and then north two, and do that five times until i've done 5k, but the turnarounds are reminders of how much wind matters. if a cold hard one from the northeast is coming in, then i feel it the most going east, and going north, but then back around on the west and south ways, it's a little more peaceful and i can get some hard thinking done. these days i'm mostly thinking about finishing my novel and making my poetry more complete, but both of those are almost done, and i'll have some time, pretty soon, to devote to a new project.

more on that stuff later. now it's time to feed the kids, before friends come over and the day starts. little icy out there, i hope the drivers are getting by, my wife especially, who's doing a target run.

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