The Air Down Here

The Air Down Here

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Years ago a girl I know made an observation about men.  She told me that all old men ever talked about was the weather. Her father was a farmer so I could see where she got this impression from.  I had not considered this before and probably have not given it much thought since but lately I have become more aware of just what she was talking about.  I would like to tell you that this awakening to the musings of old men is because I have become more attuned to what my fellow humans are discussing but I think it’s probably just the fact that I’m becoming an old man myself.  Whatever the reason, I do notice more weather talk daily.  This subject may be of little interest to you but let me assure you that there is no natural phenomenon quite like the weather in Alabama.  So pull up a chair on the porch and let me tell you about a day down South.

strength and toning equipment

This morning started early like it always does for country folks.  I walked out the door to the North Wind blowing cold air, an Arctic blast they call it, taking my breath.  It was accompanied by some strange concoction of rain, sleet and snow that certainly would make traffic hazardous. I was sure that the powers that be in the county would delay school for two hours.  I braved the ice, because I’m a go-getter like that, and made my way to work.  Around nine o’clock the sun broke through the clouds and the heat was on.  As I was dressed in layers due to my work being out of doors, I began to sweat and started peeling off some of my protection.  By lunchtime the mercury was rising at record pace and I could feel a humid breeze start to blow in from the southeast.  It is a couple of hundred miles from where I work to the Gulf of Mexico but I maintain that sometimes I can taste a little salt when the wind is like that. Dark clouds began to form and the threat of a thunderstorm loomed large.  Back home it was determined by the aforementioned county shot callers that the kids would let out a couple of hours early.  

The gift of a getaway

The rain set in mid-afternoon which helped to wash off what was left of the morning slush as well as bring relief from the oppressive midday sun. Since I had stripped off my winter cloak and was now down to my more familiar look of a holey t-shirt (not to be confused with my Sunday shirt that buttons, making it holy) and worn out Levi’s, the rain could only soak my immediate garments so at least I wasn’t wet in layers.  By quitting time the temps had started to fall rapidly so my skin had now taken on a clamy, sickly feel that made my bones ache.  Knowing the weather here like I do, this sudden drop could only mean one thing.  Tornadoes were on the way.  I decided to use the sixty mile an hour straight line winds that accompanied this front to my advantage and left my truck windows down on the way home to dry out.  I got home just in time to hear the weather sirens blaring through the hills and climbed into the closet under the stairs with the family to wait out the twister.  After the threat passed more rain came but fortunately I live on a hill so the massive flooding didn’t hinder my evening. Did I mention we were in a drought yesterday?

Folks look on this region from the outside with noses tilted high.  People cannot fathom how a person could stand to live here or why they would stay.  Many in our youth, including myself, could not wait to get away from here. I see now my error in that desire.  It certainly is a unique place and I love it dearly because of that. I guess to understand the Southern mindset you have to have lived it for a while.  Perhaps you may comprehend it better if you come down and spend a day outside. After that day you may be more prone to talk about the weather with old men.  Maybe then you will see why we are so different here because there is no way that a soul could experience the spectrum of weather that we do and not be a little odd. So when you look down this way and can’t seem to figure us out remember, it’s something in the air down here.

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