July 07, 2012

Talk about the weather...

When most people think of Wisconsin weather, they imagine "The Frozen Tundra" of Green Bay Packers' games. After all, Wisconsin is "Up North." Wisconsinites joke that there are only two seasons here: winter and road construction. Our winters are so brutal that our highways are often destroyed by ice, salt, and snow plows. When the weather warms up, orange cones appear everywhere, adding precious minutes to our daily commutes. Vacationers, many from neighboring states, must endure heavy traffic and seek alternate routes to access Wisconsin's miles of shoreline and acres of forests. Yet, people rarely complain about Wisconsin summers. Wisconsinites of hardy Nordic stock (I'm an Olson-Larson) bravely endure the brutal winters, knowing that summer will bring long, lovely days! The average high temperature from June through September is 78 degrees Fahrenheit with about 3.5 inches of rain per month. In the evenings, temperatures often dip into the fifties, perfect for a pleasant night's sleep with the windows open.

I absolutely love summer! I was married on a glorious 80 degree day in July with a gentle breeze. And yes, I know I have almost three months off of teaching, but I hope you don't believe that teachers don't work during the summer. Nevertheless, I look forward to cultivating my flower garden, reading on the deck, taking my nephews to the beach, the park or the zoo, and most of all, sailing. My husband and I purchased Sail la Vie a year after we were married. It may seem like a risky prospect, since sailing is so dependent on weather conditions, but for several years we enjoyed fair winds and sunny skies, sailing on Lake Michigan.

I certainly hope this summer in Wisconsin is an anomaly. Since the last day of school, the temperatures have been well above average and we haven't had a single rainy day.  I long for a good all-day "soaker" or a great thunderstorm. Since June 18, the temperature during the day has been well above 90 degrees. I took this photo in my car on the 4th of July - 109! We haven't even been able to head to our boat to escape the heat because, in addition to the high temperatures, we have either had no wind or gusts in excess of 25 knots. Many communities had to cancel their holiday fireworks and have placed restrictions on watering. Thankfully, my town is not one of them. Roadways are buckling in the heat, requiring even more orange barrels. Campfires are not allowed in most state parks; but who would want to camp in this weather anyway? Many crops have been destroyed, including our legendary Door County cherries. Corn and apple harvests are projected to be at an all-time low, and even Wisconsin's dairy cows are producing 20% less milk. Our two leading industries, agriculture and tourism, have suffered the greatest losses.

Oscar Wilde said, "Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative." Maybe it's just too hot to image writing about anything else, or maybe Marcel Proust got it right: Un changment du temps suffit à recréer le monde et nous-mêmes. - "A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves."