Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wow! What a Sunrise.

Normally my commute to work is rather mundane, but this morning had one of the best sunrises I've seen. There was a huge, crisp and bright sun pillar shining up from the horizon. These aren't horribly uncommon, but this one was a doozy. See, we live in an area that is ripe for meteorological anomalies.

(WARNING! Weather Geek-Speek to follow): With that big body of water to our east and that nasty wind from Canada to the northwest, we can see some exciting occurrences. All that cold air arrives via the jet stream, which, for the most part goes west to east. But often it slides north into Canada before making a hard right and heading down into Wisconsin. When that cold air hits the warm air that hovers over Lake Michigan, those two air masses of different temperatures get mad at each other and snow is created. Ok - that's not entirely accurate, but you get the jist. Anyway, while we're not in the snow belt that is created by these battling air masses, we are allowed a peek at the beginnings of the fight. And that's what created this morning's awesome sunrise. Accompanying the cold Canadian air from the northwest was a band of high cirrocumulus clouds, yet the eastern horizon was clear. (Something that we see often enough is the stacking of cloud banks over Lake Michigan - they come in on the prevailing west winds, hit the warmer, moist air above the lake, and want to hang out for a while. It's like they're afraid to go to Michigan. I can understand.) Conditions were just right where the ice crystals formed by the freezing of the warm water vapor above the lake came falling back down. As the sun was peeking up from the east, the light bounced off of these ice crystals and created a big pillar of light. In addition, the bottom side of the cloud bank was illuminated in a brilliant mix of purples and pinks. It sure was a nice start to another cold winter morning.

I really need to carry a camera with me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Sucks!

I awoke today just like any other day. Put my long underwear on one leg at a time. Or tried. It always seems that one leg is turned inside out, making reinsertion in the dark difficult if not impossible. Grabbed my sweatshirt, put in on backwards. Tried again, got it right. Slippers went on the wrong feet.

Just a normal morning.

Started the coffee and glanced at the trusty indoor/outdoor digital thermometer. It read -0.0. That's Minus Zero Point Zero. Just how unapologetically unoptimistic could that thermometer be? Minus Zero? Minus? Talk about starting the day on a negative.

So I added another layer of clothes before heading out to feed the boys. I know, I know, there are two mares out there, but I call the outside critters The Boys. I have a need to keep things simple in my advancing age. The snow was squeaky cold. Twelve nostrils were blowing steam, waiting for breakfast. Two nostrils were frozen shut. Those were mine. Checked over the boys as I fed, looking for ice cuts on their legs, feeling for warm armpits, looking for any signs of cold. Heck, they can handle this weather, why can't I?

I think the answer is simple: they have no concept of time. Us humans know that winter is just starting, and there are at least 75 more days of this crap. Many of which promise to be worse, much worse. Those days will be followed by 75 more of cold, wet, slop and mud. Then we get what seems to be a flash of warmth and green, and the whole process starts over again.

How's that for optimism?