Weather or Not
The only weather I do not love is hot and humid and sticky. In such times I go to ground like a little woodland creature, burrowing into a dim, cool, air-conditioned environment and staying there for as long as I can. If I could, I'd stay indoors from June to late September, happily estivating and cranking the a/c up like the freeze freak that I am.
I am inspired to write about this because yesterday and today have been my second-favorite kind of day: chilly and windy and with a light rain, gray and white clouds racing low on spring winds, 50 degrees or so, no heat on in the house, me huddled up cozily in my nice warm fleecy sweatshirt blanket (heavenly!) and my toesies smushed into sheepskin slippers and two lamps making nice pools of light in the room. Eating macaroni and cheese, prosciutto and mozzarella wrap, tomato soup with oyster crackers...it's all so good.
(My first-favorite weather can be found in "The Silver Branch", when Aeron is out riding, in a bad mood, and comes upon Tybie's retreat for the first time: autumn, round about the same temperature, strong northwest wind, bright blue sky, clouds flying by, glorious fall colors... But they're interchangeable, depending on mood. And oh, oooh, snow is good too...and spring rain...)
The king of weather writers was, of course, Tolkien. The weather descriptions in LOTR are the work of a master. And he was great on geographical description as well, as we all know. I think my favorite bit of weather in LOTR is when the hobbits and Gandalf are riding home from Rivendell and come to Bree:
"That night the weather changed, and a wind came from the West laden with rain, and it blew loud and chill, and the yellow leaves whirled like birds in the air. When they came to the Chetwood already the boughs were almost bare, and a great curtain of rain veiled Bree Hill from their sight. So it was that near the end of a wild and wet evening in the last days of October the five travellers rode up the climbing road and came to the South-gate of Bree. It was locked fast; and the rain blew in their faces, and in the darkening sky low clouds went hurrying by..."
Man! That gets me in the bones, every time. I am right there with them, shivering on my pony, the rain pattering on my hood and cloak, looking up at the racing clouds in the fading light... He is indeed the Master: great, great stuff.
I have found that weather also gets me writing, priming the pump. If it had been hot and sticky this weekend, I probably wouldn't have spent so much time here on the blog playing around; though of course I can write any time, my optimum writing season begins in the fall and runs through to mid-June. It just seems easier to access that creative place when there's a nip in the air, and crisp cold air keeps me going.
I am fond of different weather scenes in all my books, including "Strange Days", but I think my best weather, overall, comes in "Blackmantle." All through, the weather is another character in every scene, and the action is pinned around Samhain: the Samhain when Athyn and Morric meet at the pumpkin sail, the Samhain she spends alone in agony in Witchingdene beside the Alligin Water and then rides with Allyn into the Otherlands, the Samhain when she and Morric ride home together from Annwn.
Samhain has always been my favorite time of year, even as a child. Not for Halloween, though that was cool, and I always sensed there was more to it than I then knew, but for the feel of the year, the air, the look of the sky, above all the flaming colors of the trees. When I was a little girl, bonfires were still allowed, and I can still remember the smell of the leaf smoke, the haze near the woods or on the edges of open fields.
I always want more October, and I never get enough: I believe John Donne says somewhere that in heaven it is always October, and Maxfield Parrish's paintings have that endless October light going on in them.
Today, in May, I have weather associations that are powerful and loving, Jim weather: sitting with his head in my lap on a butter-soft afternoon under a flowering tree in the park. But usually it's October for me. Maybe that's why I'm liking the present weather so very much.