My mom often imparted wisdom to me as I was growing up: “believe half of what you hear and all of what you see”, “if everyone else jumps off the bridge you don’t have to follow”, “be careful what you wish for”, “tuck a tissue in your purse or sleeve”, and who could forget “always carry two dimes at all times” (the dimes were to pay for two phone calls if needed, in case I mis-dialed and wasted a call, or dropped the dime on the ground. Gradually I had to carry more and more dimes, and then quarters and then I got a cell phone, thus obviating the need for telephone change at all.) But I digress as to my Mom’s wisdom which is not the entire subject of this post, just her first suggestion that applies to anything in life – gossip, the news and the WEATHER FORECAST.
I follow the weathercasters and their often ominous predictions to the point that I find myself in a constant tizzy over expected bad weather. I listen to two radio weather stations – WWJ and WJR respectively. Often their forecasts differ. I have to admit that I listen selectively, choosing to go with the forecaster who predicts the weather most in my favor. Selective hearing!! If I have something on my agenda I start listening several days before. But it seems to me anymore half of what they predict is wrong, wrong, wrong!! Witness this last week as an example. Sunday and Monday afternoon, thunderstorms and significant rainfall were predicted by both stations. “Widely scattered” they said (hint: this is just an all-encompassing term which essentially means hit-or-miss in your area); through the day they kept predicting rain before nightfall coming to the Tri-County area. Well, it didn’t happen Sunday, nor Monday. Tuesday a.m. dawned and no rain in sight – perhaps, thunderstorms and rain would happen Tuesday late afternoon which “most of us would see” – their words not mine. I didn’t trust them so decided to forego my walk and water instead. I donned my green garden boots and took my sprinkler and trudged around both back and front yards to give the bushes and perennials a good soaking. They got a good soaking all right. While I was finishing up, I felt rain droplets and before I knew it, a great boom of thunder and instant downpour. I got soaked before rolling up the hose onto the hose reel. I would liken that experience to the old theory of lighting up a cigarette at a restaurant and your meal will come sooner. Well, no harm, the pre-watering to the storm helped the rain water settle in better. It rained a good part of Tuesday and through the day dire forecasts of volatile weather with windstorms to 70 mph and hailstorms were on the horizon. They ominously predicted late day Wednesday we should be prepared for severe weather and keep our “eye to the sky” … well that got me worried. I hate storms. While I do not run around the house sprinkling Holy Water everywhere like my great grandmother did on her farm, and my grandmother would do in her home, I do worry about the large, very old trees in the area and what would happen if one fell on my small house? It would wreak havoc on the house, not to mention my life. So my fears intensified as the day progressed with each dire forecast. All day Wednesday I was fairly whipped into a frenzy about the impending weather … it never happened. The next morning the meteorologists did not even acknowledge their collective “oops” but instead said Thursday we might have afternoon storms, nothing to worry about. Don’t get me wrong – I’m relieved when bad weather doesn’t happen, but in any other job, if we were wrong that much of the time, we’d be standing in the unemployment line. Thursday late afternoon, I switched on the radio to catch up on local news of which there were many hot-button issues right now, especially in Detroit, and the first item I heard was the impending severe weather. Oh really? Looked out the window – everything looked calm and serene and innocuous enough, but according to them a storm was looming. By 4:45 p.m. a terrific rumble of thunder seemed to shake the house from its foundation and made me nearly jump out of my chair. Luckily for me, my boss was headed out the door shortly and I called to alert him I was shutting down due to the weather. I turned the A/C off and put on the fan in the corner of the kitchen, hunkered down and switched on WJR as that station gives weather alerts for storms as the particular city. The emergency alert siren signal was activated and the Tri-County area, including Wayne County, was placed in severe weather mode. Flash flooding was predicted as well. Our severe storm timeframe stretched to 6:30 p.m. Within minutes the sky opened up and torrential rains pounded the house and lashed against the metal blinds. I watched the blinds moving back and forth as the heavy rains pummeled the metal. I heard ping, ping, ping so assume that was the hail making its own assault. The sky just roared over and over with thunder. I have to wonder how much water is left up in the Heavens as surely we must have gotten several inches this week. The storms hop-scotched around the Tri-County area and Monroe and Lenawee Counties for several hours, with its heavy rain, hail and hefty winds and before it was over, there were well over 100,00 people with power outages – I feel their pain, having lost power one time for well over a week. Here, I am blessed – another bad storm and unscathed.
Climbing down from my soapbox … let me share a few tidbits from the trail this morning. The aftermath of all that wet weather was a jungle-like feeling. I persisted in completing 2 ½ miles on a misty morning just cloaked in humidity. Pools of rainwater dotted side streets where sparrows gathered to sip and a few enjoyed a quick bath in the larger pools. A few robins were playing tug o’ war with longish worms and one robin got one and he reminded me of a kid who purses his lips to slurp up his spaghetti noodles. I had to laugh out loud when I passed a large metal birdfeeder. Dew drops ran along the lip of the feeder and were dripping along the edge and dropping to the floor. I could see through the glass portion that the feeder had just been topped off and several chickadees were sitting on the mini perches which were strategically placed by large holes in the feeder. A pair of cardinals sat on a nearby shepherd’s hook anxiously awaiting their turn. But, beneath this huge feeder was, of all things, a female mallard. Obviously bored with the fare at Ecorse Creek, she was feasting on the soggy seed gruel that had spilled and mixed into the wet grass. But wait … occasionally she would tilt her head upward to grab some falling seeds, much like a person who positions a bag of peanuts to funnel into their upturned mouth for optimal enjoyment. I walked several laps around Ford Park as the sky was dark and I didn’t want to stray too far from home. The many dips in the Park’s grass had caused quagmires and very soggy turf where hundreds of button tops were visible throughout the grass. Hmmmmmm, I wonder if the mallard likes mushrooms?