Storm Approaches


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Winter Storm Approaches

The Week's Weather Journal.

"...when we don't live with birds or weather or waves we lose the opportunity to think hard about ourselves, to discover from nature important facts about human nature."
(excerpted from Nancy Lord's, Fishcamp)

The Week Of March 8, 1998


This week's entries in the Weather Journal are likely to be short, about equal to my narcotic and leg pain reduced attention span. I've noticed that my typo rate has increased as well. Its always been a bit embarrassing, as have just plain spelling errors, but the incident rate seems on the upswing. In part because shakey hands and fingers have a way of wandering aimlessly across computer keyboards. I'm thankful that Journal readers have been so tolerant. Unfortunately for me and readers of this Journal, I can't access a spell checker when operating in Windows Notepad, the "platform" for my HTML web page entries. Perhaps a Journal reader knows how to apply a spell checker to Notepad. Enough of this. Today included a pleasurable chance encounter with Bill and Mary (King) Boutwell. The day was cool but pleasant, with temps in the high teens and the sun playing hide and seek with fast moving clouds. Beautiful waves on the lake. Too tempting for the wonderdog and me, so we hobbled down to the beach. Bill and Mary were there taking some Polaroid pictures to take to Mary's dad, Bob King, (Sr), who is in hospital up town. Bill and Mary have been frequent Harbor Web correspondents, but we had not previously met. They recognized the wonderdog immediately (this is always the case) and just figured the guy hobbling alongside was me. What a treat it is to personally visit with Harbor Web cyberfriends. Bill emailed an old Eagle Harbor picture to me some time ago. Our beach side discussion about that generated the idea for an "Old Pics" page on our website. Mary politely fended off Abby, who encounters so few folks in winter that she goes a little berserk when someone is around to pat her fuzzy head and scratch her long ears. Mary and her sister Ann are both in town to be with their dad, who is apparently seriously ill. It's nice to have Bill and Mary around, but let's hope Bob King gets well soon.


Forgot to mention yesterday that our good friends at the Marquette Weather Bureau finally got to issue a "Winter Storm Warning". I'm sure it made their day. Pretty ominous..."up to 15" of snow, frequent whiteouts, gale force winds, temperatures dropping below zero" - the whole shebang! The news was received with disbelief. Weather web sites all showed the big storm tracking well to our south and east. Well, we aren't getting the snow, but the wind is pretty fierce and the temperature has dropped dramatically...not below zero because of the temoering affect of the lake, but close. The lake is alive with big white crested waves. Lots of noise as they barrel across the entry reefs and rocks and smash against the harbor's south shore...sending up freezing spray that now has ice encrusted the shorline rocks and the fronts of cottages at their summit. The swells ricochet back into the harbor bay at my door, creating a cauldron of confused sea, seemingly attempting to surge out of their entrapment and back to their mother lake. I think I've noted before that someone has observed that nothing fascinates men more than moving water, fire, and beautiful women. Today, the moving water gets the nod.


Probably not more than an inch of snow as the big storm begins to move easterly. They did get dumped on east of Marquette, so the weather guys were right once again, at least in part of their forecast area. The big waves continue to roll in. Fortunately the lake is down almost a foot from its last summer high, so damage to shoreline properties seems to have been avoided. Except for a big raven that has parked itself in the big maple tree outside my window (driving Abby nuts), the birds that were beginning to gather seem to have gone. Probably spooked by the big wind and cold snap. As usual there is the mid-March sighting of a robin (probably stayed through our El Nino non-winter), and ducks of various sorts should be arriving soon to join the mergansers that were swimming in the harbor a few weeks ago. The sun is high in the mid-day sky, now five extended arm fists, or 50 degrees, above the horizon and is setting over the lake. Spring is here. It feels good!


What a gorgeous day. Bright warm sun, the harbor surface alive with sparkling wavelets, and a cooling breeze off the big lake. Moving about is becoming increasingly difficult, but not so much that a sit on the front stoop or slow stroll about the camp isn't possible. Even split a few logs from my diminishing woodpile. Felt good to whack something. Relieved a bit of my frustration. This has been a big week at township hall. The always entertaining monthly Board meeting on Monday eve, and our stalwart Board of Review fending off unsettled property owners in Monday and Tuesday's daylight. Here's a tip for future appealers. Show up just after lunch on Monday. The Inn is closed, so an eat-in big pasty is the usual lunch break fare. The to be expected after pasty stupor sets in and our usually sharp as a crack Reviewers get warm, friendly and fuzzy. Fair game for any sharp witted property owner with even the weakest cause for appeal. ( I think these pain pills are doing me in.) A beautiful red sky sunset (or so it looked on CH 43, the shut in weather window) ends a fine day.


Another fine day. Sunny, a 10 to 15 knot west wind, and according to my weather station temperature probe, a late afternoon reading of about 35 degrees. It's probably not that warm since I've got the probe tucked in a nice little wind sheltered, sun collecting alcove on the west side of the house. It makes me feel better to see the higher than real tenperatures. A brief trip to the woodpile and exposure to the wind chill of the stiff breeze assured me that 35 degrees is a real stretch. Probably more like 25 degrees, but nice nonetheless. Ann Johnson stopped by this morning to give me a floppy containing the Johnson's Spring newsletter for our Harbor Web. How fortunate we are that so many contribute to our web site content. Ann and Gerry's quarterly letter was the initial such contribution, and still one of the most eagerly anticipated, but we are now also blessed with hundreds of Harbor Web viewer submitted stories, drawings, photos, jokes good and bad, trips down memory lane, accounts of happenings present and past, and the always interesting stuff in the email bag. Editing a web site like ours is truly a joy. Keep that good stuff coming folks!


Snow showers all day. Very fine and doused in sunlight in the morning but by late afternoon we are really socked in. Back to pewter water hue and mist shrouded hills. Last evening, just after dusk, we had an unusual celestrial show. A very large yellow moon, a summer moon no less, rose into the dark late winter night from behind the frozen cedar forest that lies to the back of the east beach. I was up at the lighthouse about to attend the monthly meeting of the Historical Society Board. I was early so walked over to the light to listen to unseen waves and suddenly noticed a strange glow in the the eastern sky. It appeared as if the few low hanging cloud slivers on the eastern horizon might be reflecting the glow of a huge forest fire down towards Copper Harbor. The lake was black and noisy below my rocky perch and except for the beam sweeping silently above my head, not a single light disturbed the slow evening fusing of the far shore with the dark lake. The reddish yellow phenomena intensified, commanding my full attention. Not until the first tiny fraction of the sphere arched above the tree line, did I grasp that the rising moon was the source of the mysterious light. Our winter moon rises, while rarely seen, tend to arrive without fanfare...suddenly a cold, small, hard edged white disk is in the sky. None of the gathering light, the soft gold hues, the larger than life moons we associate with moons born in the dusty atmospheres of summer. This, however, was a summer moon. A glorious golden disk that seemed to fill the eastern sky. Moon glow spread over the Keweenaw ridge, just minutes after the rolling hills had been tucked under a dark cloak. As the ascending moon shook loose from the grasp of the forested horizon, moonbeams dropped first on the cottages along the west beach, then moving across the snow dusted beach, they entered the water. The light sped rapidly down the harbor and in a few short moments the circle was complete...the entire landscape was alive with light. The rippled harbor surface scattered the light into a dazzeling display. Lake waves became visible, their crests now streaks of white moving slowly across the dark sea. I stood transfixed; overwhelmed by a sense of being the only witness, the sole beneficiary, of this wonderous event.


Three images vie for my attention on this early morn. Most immediate is the black type walking across the grey computer monitor in response to fingers translating thoughts to words. A glance across a dark room fixes on yellow flame flickering around red tinged fire logs. Abby snoozes comfortably in their radiating warmth. Eyes sweeping to the harbor facing windows are treated to the faint yellow light of a yet unseen sun silhouetting broken cloud layers, redefining the edge of sky and earth, and casting a grey sheen on the harbor surface. Of the three, the image outside is the most compelling. Yes, there is satisfaction in watching words give tangible evidence of thought, however inconsequential the thought, or inadequte the word. The fireplace flame does mesmerize, does comfort. The evolving dawn, however, renews the soul. It offers reassurance, exudes freshness, stimulates imagination. I'm alive. A new beginning beckons. What marvelous things await me? The messages of dawn since time immemorial.

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