Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - March 13, 2003

"Weather or Not"

A week ago Monday, it was warm enough that I took a walk on campus. I didn't want to believe the weather people when they predicted freezing drizzle for the following day. But by the time I left work, the van was encased in ice. It took me 30 minutes to chip enough from the windows so I could see. Then it was 30 miles per hour all the way home on slick roads.

This Kansas winter weather is messing with my mind. I don't mean to complain. We haven't had a hard winter, by any means - just sort of a schizophrenic one with temperatures in the 50s or 60s one day and down to -4 wind chill a few days later. I don't know whether to throw myself into a spring cleaning frenzy - or to hibernate another week or two.

All the talk about the weather reminded me of a poem, "Weather or Not," written by my friend Ron Wilson, who calls himself the Poet Lariat. While Ron writes about rainy and dry weather in the summer rather than winter's cold and ice, it still illustrates how changeable our weather can be and how much we like to talk about it.

Some excerpts of Ron's poem follow:

"Part 1:

'This weather is the worst,' say the boys at the café.
We haven't had a drop of rain for many, many a day.
The drought just keeps a'goin' and the temperatures get hotter.
The ponds are gettin' low, and I'm havin' to haul water.

The crops are dryin' up, just standin' in the field.
If this drought continues, it'll cut way back on yields.
The grass is dyin' off, and the weeds are takin' root.
The cracks in the ground are big enough to catch your boot . . .

Part 2:

'This weather is the worst,' they say at the coffee shop.
The rainy spell we're in seems to never, ever stop.
It's too wet to ride horseback, so I drive the pickup truck.
Then I have to use the tractor to pull it out when it gets stuck.

The rain keeps blowin' in the barn, right past the leather flap.
The creek is up in flood, and washes out the water gap.
I'm always dumpin' water from around our old salt blocks.
The steers in the feedyard are in mud up to their hocks . . .

Part 3 - The Conclusion:

Down at the café, the boys find reason to complain.
They'll gripe about the weather in the sun or in the rain.
Then the tall tales start to flow, to see which storyteller's first,
To tell the biggest lie about the weather that was worst.

Those tall tales really grow when the cowboys get together,
And there is no denyin' that we get extremes of weather.
Yet if we told the truth about the weather which I speak -
All that drought and rainy weather? It all happened just last week."

It's supposed to be up in the 60s later this week, and spring officially arrives next week. And you can bet we'll be talking about how warm or dry or wet or cold it is.

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