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As you might have guessed, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to numbers and most especially when it comes to the weather.  Living in Chicago right next to this really big body of water, we are continually impacted in ways that not only are fascinating, but affect one’s daily life a lot.  All year long, we exist in what many call a concrete jungle but what they don’t know is most of the winter we live with concrete skies over our heads.  Because Lake Michigan is so deep, it takes a long time for it to freeze so the water temperatures stay right around the high 20’s/low 30’s.  Add to that air temps that are about the same and you have a perfect recipe for concrete skies.  Low clouds that obliterate the sun and guarantee to obliterate any good mood you might have.  We do occasionally have blue skies but the trade off here is they are the result of a extremely cold arctic front visiting from Canada.  And it’s that word arctic that the sticking point.  When they say arctic, they mean arctic.  But you do get to see the sun which is so welcome if you don’t have to venture out in it.

This time of year we are, and by that I mean I am, at our wits end with all this nonsense.  The snow continues to fall and because it’s late season snow, it’s very heavy wet snow.  The winds are starting to change so we get more snow off the lake from the east.  And there’s not a bit of green to be found anywhere.  It’s enough to break even the hardiest of spirits.  One thing that has helped me get through this period each year is the amount of sunshine we gain with each day.  Even though I can’t see that sunshine, I check the Weather Channel every morning to see the changes in sunrise and sunset.  Most days it’s a minute or two, but the other day, it was 4 MINUTES! I know, I could barely contain my excitement.  The sun is now rising before 7am and setting after 530p.  I’m all aquiver.

This may seem like a silly thing to be obsessed about.  I’ll admit it, I’m a bit obsessed.  But it’s the small things that make a difference.  The attention to detail that set you apart in any situation.  Now this particular quirk of mine may set me apart in a way I hadn’t counted on (I can see the comments now “oh HER, she’s a little too excited about the weather)!  But in a broader sense, paying attention to details will help me remember the names of my clients children, their favorite restaurant or what college they went to.

And of course, I’m in with all the other weather geeks.  You know who you are.

Headwinds and Tailwinds

Holy mackaroly!  Fall came blasting in last night with bang.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, temps were in the high 70’s, low 80’s.  Sunny skies with with puffy clouds lazily rolling by.  Everyone in Chicago was out taking advantage of the unbelievable blessing Mother Nature gave us.  That is one cool thing about the people in Chicago, when we get good weather, everyone is outside enjoying every last bit of it.  The bars and restaurants were hopping with various and sundry NFL games on their big screens.  I was able to keep up with quite a few games on my run as they all had their windows and doors open to the day.  It was fantastic.

For once, the weather forecasters got it right in their assertion that things were going to change pretty dramatically that night.  Sure enough, as I was enjoying the Colts on Sunday Night Football, the wind picked up and the sideways rain started.  Sideways rain always fascinates me, but I usually only appreciate it when I’m indoors and dry.  The rain didn’t last for very long but the winds kept up all night long, bringing much cooler temperatures.  By the time I woke up the next morning for my run, it was in the low 50’s and the winds were still howling at about 35 MPH, gusting to 50 MPH.  Reason enough to blow off my run right?  Unfortunately the grown up in me did the right thing and ran anyway.  I hate being a grown up sometimes.  Anywho, according to the Worry Channel, the winds were coming from WSW so as I was getting ready to run, I figured I’d have the headwinds at my face for the beginning of the run, when I was at my freshest.  And even better, when I was tired, I’d have a tailwind to scootch me along.  A good idea in theory.  What I didn’t count on was when winds are sustained at 35 MPH, it really doesn’t matter which direction it’s coming from, I’m going to be buffeted either way.  And forget it when a gust hits.  It was all I could do to maintain my direction.  Like the good little soldier I am, I completed my 5.5 mile trek but the last mile was done with my head down and my upper body pointing into the wind, a pose usually observed during blizzard season.

I hope to high heavens this isn’t a portend of things to come.  I’m just not ready for that.

Dark clouds

I’m a bit of weather geek and proud of it.  So is my sister.  We inherited this from our Dad who used to sit on the front porch watching the approaching storms.  I often joined him on the porch.  Daddy is always brought to mind when I see the clouds organizing into something interesting.  We grew up in the Midwest where approaching storms can be seen for miles, especially if it contained any sort of lightening.  One of our favorite channels is the Weather Channel which my brother-in-law calls the “worry channel” because of the oohs and aahs that are emitted when we watch the radar.

One thing I’ve noticed over years of storm watching, is how dark it gets as the storm gets closer.  The tension rises in anticipation.  You know it’s coming, you just don’t know how bad it will be or how long it will last.  It just keeps getting darker and darker.  When it finally starts to rain, you feel a release for a moment.  No more anticipation, it’s here.  But then it doesn’t stop, the wind and the rain just keep coming, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days.  Eventually it dies out or moves on, the sun peaks out, the damage is surveyed and we realize we’re just fine, we’ve gotten through the worst of it.  There will be others, just not today.

And so it happens with many endeavors.  You keep trying and trying but can’t seem to get any traction.  Success remains elusive.  The effort fruitless.  The clouds just get darker.  This is where courage, persistence and faith become your umbrella.  Keeping you moving toward your goal until the watershed is over and the sun comes out.  Because the sun will come out.  It always does.  Just keep moving through the storm.