Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Kentucky Weather ... Friend or Foe?

Kentucky weather…you’ve got to love it. Everyone who lives in our beautiful state will understand when I talk about my love-hate relationship with our weather. On the one hand, over two-thirds of the time, the weather is perfect—just the way I like it. It is that last third of the time that I begin to wonder if waiting out the nasty weather in favor of those special times I enjoy is really worth it. You be the judge.

As I sit writing this, we are two weeks into the New Year—one the night of the full moon. Right now it is snowing on our wonderful neighborhood. The snow falling is huge wet flakes and the ground is covered by a blanket of fluff about three inches deep. It is the soggy type of snow that makes good snowmen and snowballs, but it quickly melts as the temperature rises. It seemed strange to see our quiet lawn bathed in snowy flakes, when just yesterday the sun was shining and the temperature was near 70.

Yesterday I drove to town to run some errands. I had dressed in jeans and a long sleeve shirt and I felt overdressed as I was locking the front door and stepping into the sunshine. As I pulled out on the road I could feel my spirit improving. By the time I rolled into town, I had my window down and was singing at the top of my voice to Green Day’s American Idiot, blaring from my car speakers. It was just like the perfect spring afternoon. This is the kind of day that makes me want to get out in the garden and start digging in the dirt. I can’t wait to get started on my spring gardening chores. I’ve started amassing quite a collection of garden and nursery catalogs, so plans to expand my gardens are growing in my head.

The day before this wonderful afternoon, the skies had been grey—overcast, with periodic rain showers. These are the kinds of days when I enjoy reading or writing. I like to let my imagination roam free and not have to worry about the ordinary stresses of the day. These are the days I seek comfort food and familiarities— snuggled under a furry blanket or quillow with a bowl of popcorn or a sandwich of graham crackers and marshmallow fluff and an ice cold glass of Coke. I can let my mind follow down the path of another author’s imagination, or I can explore the out-reaches of my own mind's eye and capture it in words.

The problem with our changing Kentucky weather is that the changes in temperature seem to correlate to the temperaments of family and friends. I’m usually more out-going and friendly on a bright sunny day, but on a dark overcast day, I’m usually lost in my own head and I don’t notice anyone or anything around me. This can sometimes make me appear cold and stand-offish—which is far from the case. I’m actually quiet shy and I don’t like to put myself out there. I’m the type of person who loves to help you do the work, but I don’t like to take the credit for it. I would rather stand back and let people admire something I’ve done, than have them stop and say something to me. I like to admire my handy work from afar.

Actually our Kentucky weather sometimes helps me, because if it were not for the rapid changes in weather, I might not get anything done. I’m more active in the yard when the sun is shining bright and the temperature is about 70. I get a wide range of days like that and these times are when I get my gardening done. Problem is, I get tired of doing the same thing for long periods of time. When I change my activities with the changes in the weather, I have a wide range view of my life.

The problem is, that this past week—Kentucky saw all three of the weather conditions that influence my behavior. Like my Granny Devine always told me, “If you don’t like the weather in Kentucky, then just wait a while—it will change”, I just wasn’t expecting to have the changes occur over a three day period. We went from 50 degree weather and overcast with occasional rain showers to bright, sunny almost 70 degree weather to snow blanketing the ground and the temperature hovering at the freezing point. The weather changes have been good for my activity level, but it has been horrible on my sinuses—my body doesn’t know what condition to take care of.

Christine enjoyed the brief snowstorm by taking picture of the fluffy flakes that fell from the sky. Being the lask parent that I normally am, I had allowed Christine to be up way past her bedtime, so she had thrown on her clothes and was standing in our front yard at two o’clock in the morning taking pictures with our digital camera. She has such an eye for photography and she loves to get interesting, unusual camera angles. She can see art in everyday items or activities, turning even ugly ordinary trash into fascinating designs for the sight.

This past week, on the bright sunny day, as I was giving thanks for the wonderful weather, I realized I was getting my hopes up prematurely. I know we aren’t even half way through winter yet; so we will have plenty more cold frosty nights to go before spring actually arrives. I shouldn’t go counting my blossoms until the color starts showing up in my gardens.

All the photographs accompanying this story were taken by Christine Nicole Rightmyer, age 13, of Mercer County. She is the daughter of Bobbi and Keith Rightmyer and the granddaughter of Bobby Gene and Brenda Sallee and Christine Holtzclaw Rightmyer, the late Dr. HD Rightmyer. She is in the 8th grade at King Middle School and a member of the Harrodsburg Baptist Church. She enjoys a wide range of music, photography, working with animals and helping others.

© Bobbi Rightmyer, February 2006