Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Resetting the Highs and Lows

My grandparents were orchardists, and weather was a vital part of their livelihood. In order to track weather trends, Grandpa Leo would head outside to his thermometer hutch every morning and evening to record the high and low temperatures for the day. He had a U-shaped maximum-minimum style mercury thermometer with two magnets that would move along as the temperatures went up or down. After resetting his thermometer, he would note the temperatures in a little black notebook he kept in the hutch.

When I was little girl, staying at their home, Grandpa Leo and I would head out to reset the thermometer together. He would pick me up so I could reach the stylus magnet and move the internal temperature magnets to the current temperature. This needed to be done in order to guarantee a proper maximum-minimum reading. As I grew older, he and I would sit underneath the big, gnarly apricot tree on summer evenings and talk about the weather – how he could smell the rain coming, what the wind direction indicated, what the color of the morning or evening sky might mean, and what the various cloud formations suggested. To this day, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, I check the outside temperature readings. Grandpa would have loved my weather station because I can track not only highs and lows, but also rain accumulation, wind direction and speed, and an assortment of other weather related data.

Being a gardener, I follow weather trends closely. As if I have a crystal ball, people are always asking me what my weather forecast may be for the week ahead or a particular season. Years ago, weather seemed to be more predictable. In recent years, though, forecasting has become a bit more difficult. With record setting temperatures, rainfall, and snowfall, or lack thereof, my forecasting is not as reliable. But still, I watch the trends, keep an eye on the color of the sky and those cloud formations, take note of the wind direction and how it feels, stick my nose in the air and take in the smell of moisture heading my way, while always tracking those highs and lows. All in all, I do a pretty good job, and I think grandpa would think so, too.

My forecasting isn’t always sun filled days, but swings in temperatures, storms ahead, and everything in between. I’ve learned that weather, as well as the ups and downs of life, can sometimes be predictable; but like most things, out of my control. In order to weather the storms ahead, it is up to each one of us to take note of the trends, keep an eye on what's going on around us, and stick our noses in the air to sense what may be heading our way. But most importantly, we must never forget to reset our highs and our lows on a daily basis. After all, tomorrow is a new day and the forecast ahead is always changing. As I look into my crystal ball, I predict winds of change for all in the days to come.

Max, min and reset button photo courtesy of florriebassingbourn
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