Archives for posts with tag: Weather

This novel has the slow steady pace of country life:


A few big events puncture the narrative but mostly you get more than three hundred pages of small-town life. The sheriff and his deputies. Some townie lowlifes. A few good people trying to make a respectable living. It’s a good book. Maybe you’ve heard of it and passed it over. Maybe this is the first. Don’t pass it up. It’s a nice summer read.

I happened to read half of this book in the north-eastern corner of Iowa where this book seems to be set. Maybe that’s one reason I felt such comfort settling into this weighty novel. Tom Drury never explicitly places a pin in a map but he leaves some strong clues. The nearby Minnesota border. The long stretches of corn and gravel between towns.

This part of the country is beautiful. Perhaps most beautiful to those raised here. Even those of us who grew up in town and never lived the hard-working farm life, feel the pull of those fields and that horizon line. The comfort and awe of seeing weather work its way across the land. A thunderhead building and bubbling up lightening.

The wife and the poodle watch a summer storm churn towards us:


Writing is built on reading. I better get back to it.


This week we saw grass for the first time in months. Snow mold spotted our yard like bits of fur or feathers from a hawk attack. I’ve got that bird on my mind since I walked around the front of the house last week to see him sitting on our brick walkway. We stared at each other for a moment, this hawk and I – a moment longer than felt comfortable – before he flew up to perch on the street light. He stayed there while I chopped at the ice, made a path for the draining snow, and thought about the grass underneath.

Last night seven inches of snow buried all that work. All that grass and mold and possibility. Minneapolis, yet again, is covered. Even this lovely new sculpture by physicist turned artist, Julian Voss-Andreae, has been engulfed:


No one in my office is talking about snow. Usually, as good Midwesterners should, we like to talk about the weather. It shapes our lives, our thoughts, our concept of reality. This winter has sapped that desire to discuss and dissect. Snow is no longer interesting or beautiful or festive. Snow is oppressive. There is nothing more to say.

We’ll talk about the next kind of weather when it arrives. Just wait for that first thunderstorm, that first clap of thunder. You won’t be able to shut us up. God that sounds nice.

We are on the threshold of spring, the edge of that conversation. I hope.

When kids in my high school swore they would never live in Iowa again, I swore I’d never leave. I’ve always loved Iowa and the Midwest. The weather, the people, the space.

Central Illinois = as much sky as land.

Look at the sky. It’s as much of the landscape as any town or lake or field or forest. When we talk about the weather in the Midwest we aren’t avoiding anything, we aren’t making small talk. We WANT to talk about the weather. It’s fucking intense. I remember my mother calling home once to tell my brother and I to run to the top of the hill to see a thunderstorm rolling in. We raced out and stared at the purple-black clouds like they were our own personal fireworks show.

That’s the kind of childish awe I want my kids to have.

Just the other day, a storm rolled through Illinois with the kind of lighting that seems to stick to the ground and the kind of malicious rain that seems intent on blinding drivers. I bounced in my seat, smiling, as the girlfriend clutched the wheel. How could we not talk about that?! Sticky lightning. Fuck, yes!

It’s not a place to visit – I must be clear on that- it’s a place to live.

We drove nine hours from Minneapolis to central Illinois yesterday so I could finally meet the parents. That crucial relationship test/milestone/potential deal-breaker. I wasn’t nervous until we were 15 minutes away and the sky let loose the most intense thunderstorm. Rain so dense we could barely see the road. The first storm here in two and a half months. Good sign? Bad sign?

In the end it was fine. Her parents are lovely people. The town is so goddamn cute I’m already planning a utopian artists colony here.

AND we found some of the girlfriend’s old school work:


(In case you can’t read it, it says “vivid readers” instead of “avid readers”.)
My heart swells with the sweetness of that line. What a great world where a kid can believe people who like to read are the people who have the most vivid imaginations.

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