Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weather windows

Life in the big city and life in the country take two different views of weather.

The city tries to ignore it, keeping it at bay with a climate controlled hive. The business of the city is independent from the cycles of weather. Worker bees are plugged into their cubicles, toiling away from the sun, wind or rain.

In the country the weather may be what determines your day. Is it too wet to plant the garden? Better clean the chimney before it snows. Make hay while the sun shines, and all that stuff.

Most lives in the industrial world are on city time -schedules, shifts, and deadlines. Sure, there are days off, but for most people, the free days are scheduled. On those few days off, you are permitted to be on rural time.

Problems arise when people try to fit outdoor activities into the time slots allotted by a life otherwise controlled by industrial time. Almost every year, people die hiking in the mountains. Weather is a major factor. People hike when they shouldn’t, but that’s the time they had to go.

Some years back I planned a winter overnight hike with some friends and a couple of my kids. Our destination was on of the mountains straddling the Maine/New Hampshire border. I had a rotating work schedule, the kids had their own schedules, and my friends worked jobs of their own. As the day approached, weather predictions for the weekend looked bad -temperatures 30 degrees below zero, and windy besides. We rescheduled, in spite of the logistical nightmare of getting everyone’s schedules to line up once more.

Other people should have rescheduled that weekend. Two people froze to death while hiking on a mountain less than 15 miles from where we’d planned on camping.

The following weekend, temperatures were much more moderate and we went and had a good time.

When I started sailing, I read that a schedule was a dangerous thing. I’ve discovered it to be true, and I didn’t even have to learn the hard way. Some days I’d look at the predicted weather, the waters in which I wished to sail, the size of my boat, and decide I didn’t have to sail that day. In fact, I’ve even turned the boat around when wind and waves proved to be quite different than predicted. Living an outdoors life, one learns to respect the weather.

As for those people in the concrete cocoons? They are only isolated from the weather as long as the works of man function properly. Should the power fail, which is happening more often, the outside world soon intrudes. They soon discover man’s triumph, the ability to ignore the outside environment, is a local and temporary condition.

Plan accordingly.



  1. In most cities i bet there isnt 1 pair of thermal underwear out of 10 people.I worked for years on a loading dock I have thermals for everyday of the week still.most people watch the weather and all they spend outside is the trip from front door to car and back.some watch the weather to see how much fire wood needs to be stacked in the house that day.Sixbear can you say bahia honda state park ?

  2. Indeed I can say Bahia Honda state park.

  3. I agree that schedules are a dangerous thing, whether in work or in play. But sometimes they can not be avoided.

  4. I sure don't like following a schedule...especially someone else's! Getting a tad lazy in my old age, I guess!

    I seem to be more of a weather watcher than when I was younger! Wonder why that is?

  5. Sigh... Weather has kept me ashore far too long. When I'm at work, it's calm and clear. But give me a day off and it's blowing near gale force. And our rare rains usually decide to pop up, like yesterday. Sheltered as the Laguna is, it's no place for my little tub when it's blowing 30 knots...