I grew up in a family obsessed with weather, and particularly its forecast, which makes sense in a family of farmers and people who like to grow things. I watch the Weather Channel religiously (though I have found that it is rarely accurate for near-Babb) and when I open my web browser, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s page appears first. Isn’t that an absurd name? It seems to suggest that the oceans and the atmosphere can be administered, that they listen to government bureaucracy. Such nonsense. But, NOAA does good weather reporting.
Montanans seem to be as obsessed with weather as I am – a lot of our jokes and mottos revolve around weather conditions. I like this one: If you don’t like the weather in Montana, wait five minutes. That is especially true in the shoulder seasons, when it is not unusual for a day to start out cold, overcast, with winds gusting to 45, and by sunset be balmy and calm, with the moisture from the early afternoon snow/sleet/hail/rain storm melting off.
We joke about our seasons, too – winter and construction. Winter and house guests. The rest of our seasons are more fleeting than winter. Spring is particularly tricky – it comes and goes for a few days here and there in March, for a few more in April, May, and June, but it rarely escapes Winter’s stranglehold for long. It’s not unusual for us to get a thunder blizzard the first week of May, or even June – I’ve seen it snow every month of the year here. I keep meaning to haul my skis up to Logan Pass in July and August, so I can say I’ve skied every month of the year, but so far the lure of the hiking trails up there always quashes my desire to go skiing.
I have found that Spring often shows its face just when I need it most, and though I know it won’t stay, the sunshine and warm winds instill faith in me that I can make it till July. Sunday was such a day – Mom and I had long planned to do a little cross country skiing in Glacier Park. We happened to be on the West Side, in Whitefish, on Sunday morning, and the day dawned bright and blue. We scarfed down sweet potato pancakes at the Red Caboose and headed off to Lake McDonald. Hadn’t skied an 1/8 of a mile up the Going to the Sun Road when it became clear that it had previously been raining, and not snowing, and that we were likely to end up breaking our necks on the ice.
Mom and I are not exactly as coordinated as Apolo Ohno. So we threw our skis back in the car, put on our boots, and went for a walk around Lake McDonald Lodge, instead.
July-blue skies and a flat calm awaited us on the shores of Lake McDonald:
March has come in like a lamb, but I’m still thinking about going out to the frozen pond in my front yard, and pummeling it with rocks, to break through the ice. Maybe that will help July to come more quickly.
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