Several years ago, heading home from tranquil Lancaster County, PA, where my husband and I had visited relatives, Amish friends, and enjoyed the scenery, we planned to fly out of Philadelphia to find Hurricane Sandy barreling up the East Coast headed straight at us. The airport was mayhem as hundreds of flights were cancelled. My husband and I felt anxious as we entered a jet that might sit on the tarmac then be denied takeoff. But our flight gained clearance; we were grateful to arrive home safely.
As I watch nationwide weather reports, I often think about my friends and relatives in the rest of the country. My jaw drops as I listen to accounts of broiling temperatures, droughts, floods, and tornadoes.
I recall, when living with my grandmother in CT, the sky darkened around noon so much we turned on the lights. Hail slammed down and the wind picked up as a small tornado sauntered up the valley. We lost electricity for days. My grandma didn’t have AC, but she had a freezer full of thawing food.
We piled in her car to inspect the damage in her corner of Litchfield County, and were stunned at the flattened cornfields and uprooted maples and oaks. What I remember the most is the dazed expressions of the people standing at the side of the road staring at their ruined crops, toppled trees, and downed electrical wires. When I watch tornadoes and hurricanes on TV, I multiply my experience in CT by ten. Same goes for the flooding we endured in New Jersey when I was young.
I found it amusing when our local weatherman reported the Pacific Northwest had recently broken a record by having a solid week of over 80 degrees. Most folks would chuckle, but people around here felt miserable because most of them don’t have air-conditioning and they’re not used to it. Maybe that’s what it comes down to. Can you grow used to any weather? Is there somewhere that has perfect climate? Is it all in the eye of the beholder?
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