“Hell hath torments of cold” is perhaps my most oft-repeated quote.
Considering the weather that often descends on us in October – or like last fall, earlier – and stretches into April – or like this year, later – I give my paraphrase of that statement quite a bit of play.
I’m not sure who came up with the quote, and even my Google search failed to reveal the originator. Either way, I’ve become so enamored with it that I’m even adapting it to the first half of our current year: Hell hath torments of wet.
As my regular readers are no doubt well aware, I find sunshine incredibly rejuvenating. It lifts my spirits and improves my outlook to a degree I can’t adequately describe, beyond noting that I feel the light and warmth to the depths of my being.
Our weather since last September has been trying to me, watching the low gray clouds day after day after day. It is difficult enough lasting from early November through April, but when it stretches into June it feels like a lead weight on my spirit.
As I sat down at the computer I had concluded not to write about the weather. It is such a downer, and I wanted to be more cheerful. But as my thoughts rolled around I kept thinking about all the people I have been encountering of late. Most have been lamenting the rain on the frequent wet days, and marveling at the beauty of the few sunny dry ones.
Monday, as I write my first draft of this column, is hazy, cold and cloudy. When I was out earlier in the fog I felt a light mist in the air. The sad part of this is, this has been the best day out of the last several.
Beyond my own dark mood, as I drive along our country roads I feel sympathy for our farmers. I don’t remember any spring anything quite like this one. Here we are, a handful of days from the official start of summer, and most of the fields near my home remain unplanted. It seems too late for most of them to do anything about it, because it doesn’t appear the ground will be drying out enough for field work anytime soon.
Standing water covers parts of most of the fields, and even the ones that are planted have dead spots where the rain has killed off the plants.
I don’t know exactly what this means to farmers. Is this a total loss for those who don’t get their fields planted? Is there insurance or financial assistance for them? If a disaster declaration goes through for them, how much help does it offer? If the assistance is in the form of loans, how do they pay them back?
Wet springs seem to be a definite trend for us. If climate change is behind this and it becomes a regular occurrence, what does this mean for agriculture?
Given that farmers in other parts of the country are facing the same problems as our local ones, what will the unplanted fields mean down the road for the harvest, and the availability and costs of these commodities?
Given all this, my personal struggles with the weather seem pretty tame by comparison.
June is my favorite month, in terms of being outdoors. Most days are sunny and warm, and the heat and humidity of mid-summer is not yet prevalent. But this year June is more than half over, and the cold wet clouds and northeast winds still predominate.
As I finish this piece it is Tuesday, and the sun is shining. I am loving it. I pray that it will continue, but after seeing the weather forecast I realize it will not. Yet another inch of rain is forecast Wednesday night and Thursday, and more rain is likely this weekend.
So today I will do what it seems I always do on a sunny day, I will mow the lawn. Although mowing is a misnomer now, as in reality I will be harvesting the hay.
Unfortunately, this year that is the most predominant harvest of all.
Don Allison is a Williams County native, author, columnist and retired editor of The Bryan Times.