Monday, May 6, 2013

Might come a shire

One summer long ago I worked for a waterwell driller down in Guilford County with a some colorful characters from whom I learned a lot.  All of them could use forked sticks to find wells. One of them specialized in using bend welding rods.  And one of them fancied himself a weather forecaster, able to forsee the thunderstorms that made working on wet pipes and drilling rigs a challenge during the hot steamy months of July and August. Every so often he'd look over his right shoulder, point backwards with a stubby thumb and observe, "Might come a shire back over yonder this evening." That last word came out this way: "thisseevnin."  I'm not making fun of the man atall. That's the way a lot of people talked where I grew up, including many of my own family, especially when it was fixing to rain, or at least shower.  And if it was fixing to shire, you'd want to know about it, too, so you could be down off that rig or up out of the pumphouse when the thunderstorm broke and the lightning began to fly.

About 10 days ago we started getting our own version of Guilford County shires when the fog began closing in and the easterlies, which brought a lot of moisture up against the Blue Ridge, began blowing that fog at a steady 10 miles per hour.  When that happens, you don't need it to rain, because everything gets wet anyway -- cars, houses, dogs, gardens, half-built garden sheds, blueberry patches in need of mulch, muddy asparagus patches that need cutting and particularly 67-year-old men with bad knees and grumpy dispositions.  I've been rode hard and put up wet ever since, with hardly a chance to dry out.

Sure, the sun has peeked through a time or two, but usually only long enough to entice you into thinking the weather improve.  It will, it will, just not any damn time soon.  That whatever-storm-it- was that brought snow to the Midwest is now lashing our part of upper Patrick County. The temperature never got out of the 30s yesterday and the wind chill gizmo pegged the chill factor at 29.  It blew porch chairs all over creation, made a small lake in our little front yard and thoroughly soaked everything in site. Even the trees have started to warp.

Word is that this storm might blow itself out by, oh, Wednesday or Thursday.  Well, we have learned up here to also ask, Wednesday or Thursday of what week?  Next? Or the one after? I asked a veteran weatherman the other day when we might finally have some normal temperatures and dry air.  "Once the cutoff low wobbles out to sea next week, I think we may get a few days of warmer/drier," he replied.   Well, that was last week. Now it's not so clear, because if it does warm up, there's another cold front right behind it. 

Remember that warm day we had back in April? I think that was our summer.  It feels like it's already fall, and soon the leaves will drop and the ice and snow and sneet will return.  I'd hurry up and get my firewood up -- if only this shire would let up.

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