As long as I have been farming people have asked me about the weather. The question always felt weird because it almost assumed that I, by virture of my profession, had some kind of special knowledge of the future in this matter.
Well let me just be clear: I don’t know the future and I never have.
But truth be told, I have also given in to the impulse to query an older farmer about what kind of weather was in store. For some reason there is this lingering belief that farmers (like fishermen) know whats gunna happen next.
Well let me tell you, farming doesn’t give you automatic insight into the future or into the weather. Certainly not both.
BUT, I am starting to understand something that does help in this matter.
And that is the power of memory and the past.
Because in a way, spring is just the midpoint between summer and winter.
(Really, any moment in time could be thought of as nothing more than the stretch between two other points; namely past and future. In a way, teenage self wasn’t really me. It was just the awkward groping between the childhood version (past) of myself and the current version or even the eventual more full version of myself (future).
Now obviously there are other way of looking at time and existence and whatnot but that is not what is on the table today. Today we are just talking about the weather (like all good farmers endlessly do). And we are talking about Spring. Which I am arguing is not a THING in itself but a dynamic between the past and the future. Or a dynamic between the coldth of the passing winter and the warmth of the future summer.
And that is where predicting the future comes into play. Because though we may not know the incoming factor (summer) we do know the what has been and therefore what the new is playing upon. Memory of what has been is at least half of the dynamic. And that half we can know.
I say “can” here because not everyone does pay attention in the moment or remembers it later on. Without careful attention in the present and the retention of that noticing later on, you don’t even have that half of the picture. No one knows the future. And a lot of people don’t even remember much of the past. Not even the recent past.
The stereotype of farmers knowing what kind of weather is coming was probably built up because most of the old farmers DID pay very close attention to the weather while it was happening and DID remember it. They had to. They didn’t have climate controlled anything and agriculture hadn’t been reduced to a formula. Paying attention and remembering was essential to survival.
I am blessed with a job that keeps my face right out there in the elements. We hope to always be bodily engaged with what is happening on our land. I try to pay close attention.
I am not that good with memory. But thankfully, the intensity of my engagement with the elements goes a long way towards cementing the experience for a while. The weather last fall is still pretty vivid in my mind.
Which gives me a strong starting point as I watch the tumultuous spring unfold.
As I said before, I don’t know whats coming. It could be anything. And I’ll couch that further by saying that many people suggest that most of the long term weather patterns have dissolved and are no longer reliable. We just don't know that part.
But I do know that the ground did not freeze last fall before the first heavy snow.
And I do know that the snow has laid thick ever since. Which means the ground was well insulted during the super cold periods. Essentially the ground never experienced temperatures below 32 degrees. This means soil life is only barely dormant. And will spring to life quickly. It also means melting snow will soak in quickly (unlike when the ground is frozen solid under the snow).
I also know that the bluejays have arrived earlier then normal.
And the geese have mated earlier then normal.
And the king of it all (the sun) is right on track.
And the queen of it all (the moon) will be full very predictably.
And I do know what my intuition says. Which I trust on many matters.
So with that in mind, here goes my prediction: This spring the sun will pour down a very typical amount of energy at a very normal rate of increase. The wind will bring both cold and warm air very randomly, and yet very typically. But the earth, which was so lovingly protected last fall will eagerly melt her veil and joyfully let out her warm fragrance to greet her lover the sun. Did you catch that? The only thing we don't know is the timing of the air currents. What you may not realize is that they are minor players in the weather. The movement of the sun and the temperature of the earth are far more significant.
As long as the snow lies deep the air will feel cool because the Sun’s energy is reflected up rather than absorbed and held. Just as the mood is cool as long as a woman keeps her veil down in the presence of her lover.
But underneath, the earth is already warm. So when her veil is finally removed… well, you know what happens when a radiantly pursuing man finally gets his eager lovers veil out of the way-- new life springs forth!