Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Winter at Bull's Bridge near Kent, CT

I have a zero tolerance policy for vicious heat indices and drippy levels of humidity. Let's face it, I'm a weather whinger. It's too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy. I'm like Goldilocks when it comes to weather, I want it just right. Just right means picturesque snowy winters, temperate springs, balmy summers (with ocean breezes and low dew points, maybe the occasional thunderstorm) and chilly evenings that follow warm autumn days. So thanks in advance to whomever is working on this kind of Utopian climate for New England in the future. (As Craig Ferguson might say,"Thank you, I look forward to your letters.")

Weather fantasies aside, how do you beat the heat? Obviously cool drinks--lots of water and iced tea in my case--light colored clothing, don't over do it in the sun, the usual "dog days of summer" admonitions.  I know it isn't in the official summer swelter survival handbook, but I'm also a fan of the summer cocktail. Sangria, a margarita, or my personal choice, a refreshing gin and tonic. I'm far more partial to this option than hot coffee. Seriously. Hot coffee. According to family lore, when my grandfather was farming in Wisconsin back in the 50s my mother recalls that she or her sister would have to take him a big old thermos filled with hot coffee for lunch and breaks. When I looked at both my mother and grandmother with utter disbelief at this nonsense, I was given some claptrap having to do with hot beverages acclimating your body to the heat better, blah blah, blah. I've no idea if there's scientific basis to this idea (it seems unlikely) but I won't be testing it out any time soon. Science aside, I do have a wonderful mental image of my overall-clad grandfather--thermos in hand, steaming coffee being poured--taking a break under the tree that sat in one of the fields. 

All this said, I'm going in a slightly different direction to keep myself cool...a few favorite hibernal photograps and a bit of Longfellow guaranteed to fool us all into thinking it's January all over again. Ahhh, January, the layered clothing, the short days, the low angle of the sun, the long shadows, the bitter windchill, the...oh, wait...hmm. Right. Well, at least winter is photogenic? 

Looking down the Hudson from the Vanderbilt's little jewel box on the hill.

Hiking trail in Lover's Leap State Park, New Milford, CT

Woods in Winter
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When winter winds are piercing chill,
  And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
  That overbrows the lonely vale. 

O'er the bare upland, and away
  Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
  And gladden these deep solitudes. 

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
  The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
  The crystal icicle is hung. 

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
  Pour out the river's gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
  And voices fill the woodland side. 

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
  When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
  And the song ceased not with the day! 

But still wild music is abroad,
  Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
  Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
  Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
  I listen, and it cheers me long

Mayowood Road, Rochester MN