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IMG_0657Curious sorts might be wondering whether I’ve done little but stew about Oklahoma’s crazy weather since last dropping a few words onto this blog…given the laments of my last post and the headline of today’s…

If so, I’m tossing out a bevy of lines to say that the weather has been very much on my mind these days… though in a good way.. and that I’m alive and well… and that by this time tomorrow, I”ll be in Seattle… getting ready to board a cruise ship to sail the coast of Alaska.  Who knows?  Maybe if I’m can lasso a little discipline, I’ll drop a few posts during our travels.  Photos, maybe… if words, other than “wish you were here” evade me.

Stating the obvious, in case few have noticed, I’ve become a fair-weather blogger.  Or better to say… a foul-weather blogger — one who’s only willing to write when the forecast for rain is 30 percent or more, when it doesn’t make sense to pull out my paint brush… when finish coats need four hours to rainproof.

That my absence from the blog has more to do with busyness on other fronts, that I’ve been occupied outside… gardening up a storm and happily painting the exterior of my house between rainy spells … stirs up a strange stew of emotions within me.  At times I simply rejoice in the work and the result, for both past times are rewarding in a way that writing, for now, is not.  But I can’t begin to describe the relief I feel to have this burden of projects almost lifted, since I’ve been pondering the work for two years now.

IMG_0659Juggling these two outside chores has meant not only that I’ve dropped writing, but that I’ve tethered myself to hourly forecasts as if everyday life depended upon them.  Of course, in a real way, it has.  For I’ve no shame in admitting that slipping my smart phone in and out of my pocket every few hours to see whether the winds of change say it’s best for me to pick up my paint brush… or shovel… or simply head to the showers till another day.. is as natural as breathing… has become (at best) a fidgety tic…. or, at worst, a mild sort of addiction.

Working outside has given me new appreciation for those whose occupations take place everyday in the wild blue yonder.  For plans are just that…subject to change; their execution hinging upon good weather or bad.  Forget the bedtime forecasts.  What matters is the weather one wakes up to… since it doesn’t take a Oklahoma weather god to know that the bedtime forecast is ‘old news’ when there’s a morning forecast.. and that that, too, grows obsolete in the face of the noon forecast at mid-day.

Why weather changes with the beat of time.  It is mercurial.  One year rainy, the next parched with drought.  Temperatures rise and fall in sync with changing mercury levels of old-timer outdoor thermometers. And crazy as it may be to admit it, I love our constantly changing Oklahoma weather.  Somehow, in ways I don’t wish to describe, it changes me.  And not just my current mood… but something deeper that is tied into faith and hope for all things good.

IMG_0660This year, in a Fat Tuesday post, I gave up all my lovely planting plans.  But come May, I saw I was too quick to give in.  Because in spite of our wetter-than-normal summer– or maybe because of it… (since I always seems to get more done when I feel as if I have limited windows of opportunities of “making hay”) — it’s good to report that the bones of all my ornamental gardens are now installed. And that my  two year old front gardens  — taking up space in this post — are “toddling” about, needing very little attention.

Good thing, given all the time it’s taking to get my house painted.  It feels goods to know that I leave for vacation with the roof trim finished and glowing.  And that I’ll come home to less than a month of painting to the finish line… with just vinyl windows and garage doors to go….  Why by the looks of things, vacationing from the blog has been very good for home and garden… and good for my soul, too, since both offer spaciousness and time to reflect on life and God and what and who I love most in the world.

IMG_0661In between all the work, my husband and I are still making plenty of vacation plans … after Alaska, comes Australia and New Zealand….which seems odd, I suppose… to run away from everyday life when it’s time to step back and savor all that’s been accomplished.  But such in life, I suppose.  And not just for us, it seems, since our very own weather god, Gary England, at the height of a glorious career, will soon be retiring as chief meteorologist for Channel Nine…our local CBS affiliate.

Gary has always been our “go-to” weather guy, in good weather and bad.  It will be hard to imagine everyday life without him.  I will miss his calm, reassuring voice and comforting presence in my living room.  Especially on stormy nights.  Gary is the sort of person that most people feel like they know even when they don’t.  Many nice words have already been written about him and his long career here in Oklahoma City.  And I expect many more will be aired, in one fashion or another, between now and his final forecast later this month… though it has surprised me to realize it’s not just the local press.  A LA Times reporter wrote a nice article right after the May 19th and 20th storms worth reading if you’ve the interest and time.   Similarly, the New York Times published a piece a few days ago, which by the sounds of it, had been baking since the storms of May 31st… awaiting for Gary to announce his retirement… for Gary had admitted during the interview that he had been encouraged by station management to keep on being a weather god until it stopped being fun…. and well.. sometime after the May storms, he admitted to the reporter, it had stopped being fun.

IMG_0662When things stop being fun, whatever “things” are, those lucky enough to have choice in the matter move on to the the next fun thing.  For Gary, it’s an executive job at the television station.  For me, for now, it’s being outside painting with latex formulas and flowers instead of painting with words at my computer.  And I don’t regret a single minute of being away — for what a glorious time it has been to be out of doors.  Why this is the first time, in a long time, that Oklahoma lawns have been lush and green entering August.  Or that I can recall tomatoes still setting fruit this late in the season, and evening temperatures hovering below eighty at night.  Today’s morning forecast is mid-eighties and sunny — a change from yesterday’s 50 percent chance for showers.

IMG_0664Some times, during all that planting and painting, I’ve wondered whose summer weather we have had the good fortune to experience.  I’ve wondered whether, perhaps, the jet stream made a wrong turn and lost its way… giving us some other fine state’s weather in the process.  Because if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was living in Oswego, New York rather than Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  However it happened, whatever its source, wherever our fine summer weather has hailed from, I don’t imagine I’ll soon forget it.  Nor Gary England, the T.V. weatherman, either.

Could be that the weather gods are just bestowing Gary with a fine parting gift.  Because to do the unexpected…. to deliver what could never be forecasted in a million years by the best weatherman of all… well… that would be just like those ‘ole weather gods… wouldn’t you say?