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Paying Too Much Attention
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Glancing over recent journal entries, I conclude that I'm looking into the past for my subject matter even more frequently than usual. Maybe it's to avoid looking out the windows. Let alone venturing outside. Except for a handful of days when the temperatures were more or less normal for the time of year, there's still no sign of spring in the northeast. Yesterday, once more, there was snow in the air. Tonight we may have a couple inches of the white horror. The best my sister-in-law could do for a table centerpiece at Easter was a half dozen droopy daffodils which hadn't opened but had, at least, survived, thus far.

I'm not sure the weather's more extreme than it used to be (oops, there I go, headed into the past!) but I pay more attention to it. Partly, it's that weather forecasting has improved. When I was a kid, weather pretty much just happened. We didn't get to agonize for two weeks over the approach of a frigid artic airmass or tremble for days as a monster storm swept across the country toward us.

And then there's the internet, always available, an inexhaustible source of information. For most of my life I wouldn't have known that the temperatures had been below normal for two months, or how many times we approached record chills. Now all those National Weather Service records are a click away and I can confirm my misery to my heart's content.

Sure, the fifteen inches of snow we had three weeks ago was out of the ordinary, but snowstorms in March are nothing new here. I have family photos of myself standing beside spring drifts over my head. On the other hand, there were plenty of Christmasses I remember when the lawn looked like it needed mowing.

The first few years after I moved to Rochester, New York in the early eighties the snow never stopped. We had two feet at the start of one December. Then, for what seemed like a decade (but surely wasn't) it more or less stopped snowing during the winter. The orienteering club couldn't manage a ski-o meet because you can't ski on bare dirt trails, frozen or not. Needless to say, about the time non-skiers didn't watch December coming round with a feeling of dread, we got smacked with consecutive seasons of more than 130 inches.

Without the internet, though, while I couldn't help dwelling in the weather I wasn't able to dwell on it.

Not that I would want to go off-line. After all, baseball thinks spring is here even if the weatherman doesn't, and there's no downside to being able to read about baseball twenty-four hours a day.

But first I have to check out those three maps of the approaching storm I just opened up.

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