A Rainy Night in Watertown

Another Nor ‘easter lashes the recently unwrapped windows
and assaults our apartment from all sides. It’s hard not to allow the
weather to affect one’s mood, especially when it is nasty. It is sometimes
hard to remember that nature is always beautiful and awesome in its majesty,
and that any day you can get out of bed and stand on two good legs and
see the world with two god eyes, is a great day,

Today, again, was rainy and windy and so cold we could
see our breath as we hustled around town, head down and bundled up against
the elements. All day there was a driving drizzle of a temperature dropping
dangerously close to that of sleet, which has with the coming of night
grown into a howling tempest. A chorus of local channel Cassandras wail
on about Ocean-front flooding, astronomical high tides, isolated blackouts.

Nor’easters, the typical vicious storms that attack
the East Coast three or four times a winter, are more usual, although
no more welcome, in January, February or even March.  Not in May,
two days before Memorial Day Weekend, official start to the summer season,
when they arrive like alien invaders from a cold and distant planet.

by their high winds and copious precipitation, they get their name
from the prevailing wind direction and track of the storm. There are
kinds of Nor’Easters, fast ones and slow ones, and the slow ones are
the worst
because they just park themselves off the Massachusetts coast, beyond
Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, over the Georges Bank and suck up
ocean water which they dump in a variety of formats all over New England.

The numbers, for those who think that way, are scarier
than the recent Red Sox slump. Today set an all-time record for lowest
high temperature – 45 degrees. It has rained on 20 of 25 days so far
in May, and barring a sudden heat wave will go down as the coldest May
in Boston since they started keeping track.

So it is partly as an exercise in creativity, and partly
as a defense against depression, that we would like to essay a few reasons
that the present inclement weather can be seen as a GOOD thing, or at
least not the end of the world.

First, there is the Einsteinian rationalization.  Everything
is relative.  After a  couple of weeks in January in which
a glass of ice in direct sunlight wouldn’t melt a drop, 45 degrees, even
35 (what it is now with the wind chill), can seem tropical.  We
have had students from Siberia, out on the frozen Charles River in their
shirtsleeves, ice fishing (vodka was involved, and we didn’t catch anything).It’s
all in the mind.

Then there is the "lots of people have it worse" line
of reasoning.  If we working stiffs are having a hard time, think
what it must be like to be homeless in this weather? Drenched and shivering, ducking under bridges and into doorways just looking for someplace warm and dry.

And even among those
with a roof over their heads, some poor people can’t afford heat, and
sit, shivering in their living rooms.  People like the Dowbrigade,
who is so hard-headed and cheap that he refused to buy more heating oil
when he ran out in April, right before the coldest May on record, on the theory that “summer is right around the corner” and “the price is sure to go down before next winter.” As our dear mother would say, “And this is what an Ivy League education gets you?”

Moving on down the list, there is the Garden Factor
to take into account. In fact, since we planted our flowers and vegetables
six weeks ago, in mid-April, we haven’t had to water them once. If April
showers bring May flowers, the May deluge should make our plants huge
– if they don’t drown.

Also, we suppose we should be thankful that this storm
DID arrive late.  According to one local weathercaster, if this
had been a more typical Nor ‘easter in the depths of winter, it would
have dumped over FOUR FEET of snow on our lucky asses.

Finally, we can use this Sirens song of Mother Nature
(the window panes are rattling in their frames in a most unsettling way)
as motivation.  Motivation, that is, to finally move away from this
benighted metrological cesspool, somewhere the sun makes at least an
occasional appearance and human beings are not constantly spit on and
laughed at by the climate itself

Oh, and to remind us not to let the weather affect our

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