Weather Understanding


One can never really understand a new climate until they have experienced it throughout a couple of years. This in spite of our access to weather channels and incessant weather conversations.
When we bought our first home in Vermont we noticed that the owners had a heavy duty, walk behind snow blower. We asked if they would like to sell it to us since, coming from an apartment in Boston, we had no equipment for the much anticipated, arduous winters ahead of us. But, no, they didn’t want to sell it as they were taking it with them. What?!  They were moving to Georgia! Everyone told them that it hardly ever snowed in Georgia!  But, to a lifelong New Englander, “hardly ever” is ever enough. Away went “our” snow-thrower.

Yesterday I thought of them and how they felt when they pulled that thing off the truck in the heat of a southern September day.  It was a hot September day in France and I was pulling bags and bags of chemical toe warmers out of the boxes that are finally being unpacked.  We have brought hundreds of toe warmers to southern France-- where it “hardly ever” snows. Never has a phrase allowed so much peculiar behavior. I guess one can only think ahead to where one’s going in relative terms to where one’s been.  Vermont is at the extreme end of the weather spectrum and it’s hard to balance out from there. Looking at the Costco boxes of toe warmers and thinking about our first French winter, Tom says that we have a supply that would last 5 or 6 generations.  Then there are the six or so pairs of ear muffs that have turned up. Luckily we knew better than to bring the full-length down coats. (Coats so big most people thought we were wearing sleeping bags.)  
But I did find Jolie’s snow booties neatly packed in.
We are not living in the southern France of everyone’s dreams (that place is on the Mediterranean side of southern France), but it is a long, long way from the half-year winters of Vermont.