Let’s Talk About the Weather
Or so I hear from distant loved ones.
I remember that crisp feeling, that whiff signalling that the air had been cleaned somehow from the sticky heat of summer. The urge to dunk a pumpkin scone into a creamy latte and fall head first into a long novel as the outside world flushed to a warm pallet of gold, amber and crimson.
That is not Miami.
We have seasons, but they aren’t the traditional four blocking out a neat rectangle in a children’s book: spring, summer, fall and winter. Our seasons are called hurricane, rainy and season, meaning tourist season. The shifts between temperatures and colors are subtle and spread throughout the year. I used to miss the clockwork seasons of home. I used to ache so deeply that I would crank the AC just to enjoy watching steam rise from soup in October.
Then one day, when I wasn’t looking, I became from Miami, rather than living in Miami.
The distant accounts of fall seem quaint and familiar, but blurry and detached too. Like the knee-high socks from my girlhood. I remember that I wore them, but I don’t remember wearing them.
So, let’s talk about the weather here.
I didn’t know that was possible, but forecasts here are remarkably reliable. The meteorologists can tell you the exact minute a thunderstorm will hit your neighborhood. And they do!
In Washington the weather moves from West to East, coming off the Pacific Ocean. The Cascade Mountain Range stands in the middle of the state as a foil to all attempts at prediction. Forecasters never know how much precipitation will make it over the mountains, so they guesstimate their Doppler.
But Florida is flat. Our weather blows from the tip of Africa straight across the Atlantic Ocean with only a few Caribbean islands to disrupt the flow. (Unless if backtracks after getting stirred up in the Gulf of Mexico.) We watch the satellite imagery on the television and can see it coming from thousands of miles away.
Those satellite images look just like the sky here. My husband is native to this region and can’t appreciate the unique clouds of Miami. They’re periwinkle! I tell him. Everyday, they’re periwinkle! Look at that shape and the light behind it!
They’re just clouds, he says.
When my eyes look up, I see color first, then light, then shape. My mind recalls the satellite images of the morning news, and then pictures of Earth from the moon which always show clouds swirling around our world. From that distance, it is the only movement you can detect on our busy, busy planet. Nothing, but clouds moving.
Back on Earth I stand outside, watching the clouds from my doorstep having given myself a time-out before bedtime stories. I don’t want to angry in my last moments with my children this day. I want to rejoice in their silliness, rather than stifle it. As I breathe in the weather, I see it moving far above my head.
Every storm passes.
Even hurricanes have an end. But the movement, the circulation, is constant. The trick is to let it blow by without feeding it. When it’s a bad storm, bend low like a palm tree. Only dead branches and areas of overgrowth ever break in a storm. Trust that a clear sky is on its way, travelling all the way from Africa to right above my head.
You can see it from the moon.