Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weather Witch

I have carefully cleaned the salt from my winter boots and put them away, deep in the closet. This should guarantee that it will snow soon. In fact, the bright sunshine disappeared as I was writing that. It's looking ominous. I know they're predicting a dusting. I don't want a dusting; I want the real thing.

If I want a cold spell, all I have to do is put away my winter clothes for the season. Even if I do it in late June, we'll get a few "unseasonably cool" days that will have me wishing for warm sweaters.

If I want a hot spell, I just pack away our shorts and swimsuits for the season. Indian summer will arrive soon afterward.

I'm aware that, just because I can sort of influence the weather doesn't mean I should sort of influence the weather. But I can't resist practicing once in a while, just to see if I've still got this strange ability.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother had this old-fashioned barometer with two little figures standing in the doorway of a hut. When sunny weather was ahead, the little farmer with a pitchfork would come out of his doorway. When it was going to rain, an ugly witch with a broom would come out. Being a kid, I figured that if I pulled out the witch, it would rain, and if I made the farmer come out, it would stop. I guess I've never gotten over this false sense of power.

I used to make use of it when I was younger and in charge of public events. Being a control freak, I took it upon myself to control the local precipitation to ensure the success of my programs. (This was after I accidentally conjured up a hailstorm, and scared myself.) Once, a singer complained to me because I had scheduled his Sunday afternoon concert during the Head of the Charles; he was worried no one would come. "I'll make sure it rains," I said. "No worries." They canceled the races that year because of bad weather. It was 1996. The auditorium was full for the performance.

One summer, I ran a popular outdoor concert series. The night of the first concert, I went onstage and announced to at least 600 people that it would not rain on a single Wednesday evening during our series, to encourage them to buy advance tickets. My staff thought I was insane, but I was confident. It's weird, i know, but that's how it is. And it never rained — for the first time in the decade-plus history of that concert series. We didn't have to keep running outside to check the sky, and we didn't have to call meteorologists at Logan or local TV stations for their latest radar analysis. We didn't have emergency meetings to decide whether the sound system should be set up indoors or out. We could relax. We were quite successful that year, and everyone had fun. In all the years after that, when I was out of the concert business, it has often rained on concert nights.

Apologies if you don't like snow. But I bet we're in for some.

Update: Or not so much.... perhaps this magical ability weakens with age?

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