Author: Bach, Gene

Has spring really sprung?

Ah, springtime: warm and sunny, gentle breezes, pleasant evenings. Sound like spring where you are? If it is, youíre a very fortunate individual, weather-wise. I have heard about places like that before, but I have not actually experienced that particular meteorological phenomenon since we moved to the mountains over twenty years ago. If youíre one of the lucky few who actually has something like that occur somewhere between March and May every year, I applaud you. Spring, for us, is a bit different.

Here in the hills of Siskiyou County, we consider warm spring weather to be any day it reaches above 55 degrees. Gentle breezes are anything below 20 miles per hour. Pleasant evenings are the rare occasions that you donít have to put on your coat before 9PM.

You can always tell the people who have lived here for quite awhile... as soon as springtime hits. They are the ones with several layers of clothes on so they can ďadjustĒ throughout the day. If you could look in the trunk of their car you would find it packed with everything from sun screen to snow chains. Folks up here learned their lessons well when they were in the boy and girl scouts: always be prepared.

The last couple of weeks have been fairly typical of the spring weather pattern. The period started out cold and cloudy, and we got some rain. Then it started clearing and warming. People waited and watched, hoping to get that one day when everything fell in place and they could imagine that they were like the others in far off lands who were basking in warmth. Then, just as it was about to slide into that magical place, somewhere between hot and cold, it clouded up and rained again. Great, yippy. After a couple of days it cleared. ďHmm, could this be it?Ē we wondered. It warmed up alright: the temps went from 55 to 93 in a day. In less than 48 hours we had gone from, ice cubes wonít melt to the pavement will. We turned off the heater and had to think about turning on the air conditioner. We slept with the windows open and no covers on. On the third day it cooled down into the upper 70ís. Folks all over the county ran outside to try and get a small taste of a really good spring day. But soon it got cloudy.

And then it snowed.

I woke up one morning, right after the weather had tried to scald the skin off our bones, and turned on the radio to hear the weather report. They said highs in the 50ís with snow showers. I looked at the radio and thought, ďYouíre not serious are you?Ē But they were. The temperature was in the 50ís that day and every once in awhile a big cloud would cover the area, the mercury would fall down to the low 30ís, and snow would begin to float down to the earth. Interesting: to say the least.

A lot of folks would think this pattern unusual. We simply consider it to be normal. Right now Iím looking out the window and I can see that itís cold and cloudy, but, since I can also see that the bushes in the front yard have some pretty purple flowers blooming on them, I am reasonably certain that it is indeed a typical spring day. Iím not complaining, mind you, simply making some observations. There are many people who never get to see the seasons come and go. Spring time for us means that we often get to see all four seasons come and go: in one day. We never know what is going to happen here at this time of the year. Every day is a new adventure full of cool things to experience. No-one can predict what will happen from one day to the next. This is a great place to learn to adapt, improvise and overcome.

I just love spring in the mountains!
Posted:  5/3/2009

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