Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A virtual break, and the approach of winter

Subject: Musings
One of the perks of getting to work virtually is that if I need to take a couple of minutes to escape the mind-numbing drudgery of my corporate day job, I can kick back and do a few mindless odds 'n ends. Like blogging!

I can have the stereo up loud, with the subwoofer kicking up a good thumping. I can also do my laundry. Or just stare out the window for a bit.

It's a grey day today. One of my neighbor's trees has turned a bright orange, but oddly enough, the rest of the trees here are still green. Autumn comes late up here at the lakeshore, thanks to the lake's temperature holding the ambient air above the frost point. At least for a few more weeks.

That's when the Canadians turn on those giant fans they have on the other side of the lake and start exporting their cold, cold air down to us in the States. And when that cold, cold air passes over the slightly warmer moistness of the big 'O, that combines into one of the bigger snow-making machines on the planet. Persistent bands of the white fluffy stuff blow across the inland sea like gnarled albino fingers, and should you be at the receiving end of one of those bands, you can find yourself under a half foot of snow in mere hours.

And unlike Lake Erie, Lake Ontario is too deep to freeze over during the winter, so that machine keeps cranking until the Canadians decide we've had enough and kindly turn off those giant fans. Which is usually around April.

The grand predictor of the first major snow event occurs precisely 6 weeks beforehand. My former grad school advisor (may he rest in peace) was also a riparian, and passed this lore on to me before he died: "When the Canadian geese start migrating over the lake, mark it on your calendar. In 6 weeks you'll be shovelling yourself out of a snowdrift."

And I found that sure enough, 6 weeks after the honking throngs flew their "V"-shaped squadrons over my house, I'd have to don my wool overcoat and start digging out my doorway.

Thankfully, no geese today. But there have been a lot of ducks and morgansers (which are essentially ducks with punk haircuts and serrated bills). That can only mean that the geese are soon to follow.

Time to get that wool overcoat cleaned!

Okay, enough musing for the morning; I've gotta get back to work.

No comments: