Forecast Insecurity

Forecast Insecurity

The rapids twist away from the road, but only briefly, before twisting back, cutting against the bank and throwing riffles and bubbles down the rocky slope. The run spills into a pool, a large glassy pool that looks, at least to this trained eye, as though it easily holds an abundance of trout. There are feeder streams, those that flow from different hillsides, bubbling and babbling their way down to the main branch. They bring nutrients and oxygen and cold, clean fresh water that the trout need. There are many runs and riffles and pools like this near my home, and they follow the road all the way from that home to this office, it’s just that they’re only rainwater, and there are no trout. It’s raining here, again.

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Yesterday, while I was diligently mowing my front lawn, a patch of blue sky appeared in between the varying colors of clouds. The blue sky was over my house, as if it were a sign of something, and while I watched that blue patch come and then go, I thought it to be a beautiful section of sky. Bright and blue, cheery and fresh. It wasn’t like the clouds at all, with their dark and darker still mood, their ability to generate rain without even a moments notice. I thought of that blue patch and thought of a land where that blue patch wouldn’t be just a patch at all, but the entire tapestry filling the sky. I thought about how great it would be to go through my day without a single concern as to what the weather might be like. I thought about the freedom it would give me both in thought and in action, if I didn’t need to wait for a patch of blue to indulge me. I thought about how my son would be home soon to mow the back yard, and how he would complain and plead with me. He’s too tired from swimming all day, he’d say. I kept mowing, the clouds kept their interval of dark and bright, of sunny and cloudy, of pleasure and pain.

The front lawn done, my son not yet released from his arduous schedule of pier swimming, I didn’t want to mow the back lawn. It’s much bigger, this back part, and it’s daunting. No one knows this better than my son, because it is always his part of the chore. When I tell him to mow it, I act like it’s no big deal. Like it won’t take any time at all with that walk behind Gravely PRO-500 lawn mower, the same one I mowed lawns with when I was in high school. Like it’s a breeze. But I know the truth; it’s a miserably large lawn. I decided, instead, to take my bike out. This is the bike I bought, but not the first bike I bought this year. I took that first bike back, because of incessant ridicule from a friend who decided that my bike wasn’t up to the standard, that it didn’t have nearly enough carbon fiber. The new bike hasn’t any of that either, but it was more expensive, so presumably it is better. I latched on my helmet, strapped on my gloves that I bought because I felt like I should, and pedaled. It was sunny, ish.

I dislike riding bikes. I reminded myself of that yesterday while pressing against a seat that could only be made more uncomfortable if it were made of broken glass and drywall screws. After the ride, an invite. Tennis was to be played, and it was to be played now. I didn’t waiver in my immediate commitment, but I decided that I shouldn’t have gone for the bike ride first, nor should I have mowed the lawn, even if it was only the front. My son wasn’t home yet, the sun was still sort of shining, the tennis court and my friend beckoning. I played tennis for the next two hours. The sky was bright, the court hot, the humidity making it difficult to hold on to my grip. It wasn’t raining.

In fact, it wasn’t even sorting of raining. It was clearing, and when I wondered how that could be possible after the deluge of earlier, and the dark sparked cloudiness of the afternoon, I remembered that it was, after all, Sunday evening. Sunday has a way about it, that sort of way. If there is a day you can to see the spectrum of Midwestern weather, that day is Sunday. In the morning yesterday, it wasn’t raining but everything was wet. After that, a downpour that lasted 15 minutes or more. After that, most people had decided that Sunday was a wash out, and that it would be prudent to get an early start on the work week by making the Sunday drive home an earlier one. Then I mowed my lawn and the hope began, and by the time the tennis was over the skies were clear, the lake having long ago fallen soft and quiet. The darkness and gray of earlier replaced with the soft pastels of a summer evening, the fulfillment of a blue sky made that much better by the gray that preceded it.

Forecasts can do lots of things. They can make farmers plant on a Tuesday because it’s going to rain on Wednesday. They can make you informed, educated, aware. But mostly they make you timid, unwilling to embrace the fact that the forecast just might be wrong. They can make you miss mowing your lawn in the afternoon. They can keep you from a horrible bike ride. And they can keep you from playing tennis late into the afternoon. They can keep you from a Sunday evening that was as nice as any Sunday evening has ever aspired to be. This summer, let’s forget the forecast. Let’s just be. My son was home by the time I returned from tennis, and he was tired from his difficult day spent swimming. He said he’d mow the lawn on Monday, just as soon as it stops raining.

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