October 26, 2018 - 0930z
I love the start of winter. I may overuse the word, a consequence of my obsession with descriptive writing, but there is something very ambient about watching the world change from summer to winter. Since I was much, much younger, from my first days of meteorological infatuation, I have loved watching the first signs of the cold season take hold in the world around me. As I sit here in the parking lot, contained in the warmth of my vehicle, I can see so many of them around me. Millbrook received her first frost tonight, as did Poughkeepsie; the more northern reaches of the county saw a light frost the prior morning (I had picked up some overtime and was somewhat surprised to see glaze on my windshield). The thermometer on the vehicle reads 34º right now, a reading I am sure is skewed by the heat given off by the engine.
Across the street, a column of thick vapor rises from a chimney; one of many in this town, I am sure. When standing outside, it is easy to see my breath condensing in front of me. The closest I will ever get to being a dragon, I suppose. Millbrook is quite beautiful at night. The 2010 census proposes a population of just over 1,400 people; a very small fraction in a county that contains nearly a quarter million. The town is motionless in the dark; thru traffic provided by former State Route 44A that bisects the area. It's quite peaceful, and the perfect landscape to inspire some writing such as this.
These inter-seasonal changes aren't just seen in the landscape. We can observe them in the people that surround us as well. You know what I mean. First come the long-sleeved tee-shirts, finally wearable after the scorching highs of July and August; highs that persisted well into September this time around. The shirts eventually thicken into sweaters, and the sweaters into jackets; joined sometime around now by scarves and gloves. It's like a human time-lapse. There are plenty of jokes floating around about New Yorkers and winter, but I will say this; the adaptation from eighty degrees to twenty happens without a second thought. We don our heavier clothing, assume a rather grumpy demeanor, and prepare for the months of cold, snow, and ice that lie ahead.
I've always loved the transition, the quiet excitement that brews ahead of the beauty of snow. Yes, storms may be an inconvenience, but they are also astonishingly pretty; few sights compare to an unmarred blanket of snow. For some of us, members of the meteorological hobby and/or career, the prospect of many nights of tracking and camaraderie also draw near. Few things can bring hundreds of weather nerds together like a good, old-fashioned nor'easter. Even now, the words bring fond memories to my mind. December 26, 2010. October 29, 2011. February 8, 2013. March 14, 2017. March 2, 2018. There are plenty more, and there are more to come.
This was another rambly post, now that I think about it. Yet against all the chaos we see in the world around us, and in our lives, the prospect of winter is something constant. There will be cold mornings. There will be mild spells. There will be phased storms, and missed storms; moments of frustration and of satisfaction. This winter will be different from others before it, and yet it will be the same as them. I guess it gives me a measure of comfort.
Here's to many days of tracking ahead of us.