an insomniac’s guide to weather–jan22, 2013

515AM…rolled out of bed….soooo tired of listening…..listening for the muffled rumble of the snow plow, weaving around our illegally parked cars on Central Street, Camden….still no rumble…..ergo: STILL NO SNOW…..ergo: if there’s wind, there may be an iceboating window, this frigid, 9 degree morning.

my father gave me a sailboat at age 8……it answered perfectly for an introverted boy in a large, boisterous family of girls….thus a life unfolded where sailing–the openness of things, the reliance on the vagarities of conditions not made by man, the lessening of distraction, and especially the practice of ‘un-knowing’, of acknowledging the mind’s limitations–became a drone string which resounded throughout.

and imbedded in sailing is the close close examination of weather….a survival-based addiction to weather-watching… let me take you on a trip: go to:

this is a site created by wind-loving hobbyists…scroll down to the map, enlarge it with the “+” to the left, and center it on penobscot bay…..these are real-time wind reports…..50,000 of them worldwide!… since we were sailing chicky yesterday, click on the arrow in the notch of rockland harbor. this is owl’s head airport’s reporting and is not far south of Chicky which you see in black above it. when you click on this arrow, you see on a graph what the wind has been doing, blue being average speeds and red being gusts. below the graph are the wind directions, again over time.

if you scoll down a few graphs, you’ll see the archives, and why we were having so much fun yesterday: go to monday 21 january. you’ll see that the wind never dropped below a 10 Knot average and often had gusts near 20 Knots. the wind was west all day, which allowed us to travel the whole lake, and it died at 430PM.

so put this site as a button on your desk-top, to check if the wind part of the ice+wind dyad is propitious for the lake you’re considering.

Then I walked out on megunticook, into the open south Broads…..beautiful ice, a little less smooth than chicky…..a punishing, boisterous wind blasted from the North. The sky had that lonely deep overcast, that makes you think of a chair by the fire, a cat, and a book. Back at the car, my hands were refusing to work, after 15 minutes of exposure….Today would only be possible with hand- and foot-warming pads….

this situation asks you: do you have a life outside of iceboating? i know i won’t go out there alone……my only hope is Bill….perhaps he has a few shreds of existence beyond this obsession, which might call him into balance, into some sensible, warm, and cosy activity……

alas, my morning call to him yields a yellow, not a red, light: we agree that I will fix yesterday’s damaged bow runner, and we’ll rethink the day, in the 15 degree relative warmth and brighter skies of 1030….sigh….just tell me: by what strange alchemy do we persist in travelling contrary to our simple mammalian instincts?

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