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The Whitehurst Diaries: Sunset calm after the thunderstorm
She's just learning what to expect from Kentucky weather. Winters came early in Wyoming, with October snows. Decembers in Vermont brought also snow, Christmas carol rehearsal at choir practice. In Kentucky, dandelions still bloom in December and she's still cutting kale and bringing in cabbages from the garden. But hints of hinter rolled down Payne Janes Hill yesterday, causing Pebbles the old horse to assess the changing weather.
Click on headline for essay with photo(s)
By Sharon Whitehurst
An unsettled day, something about the weather not right for what I know of December.
Winters came early in Wyoming, usually with October snow that stayed until spring. Bright blue skies and high sunshine predominated, but companioned by winds that roared icily down from the mountains. Standing on my west-facing porch I could taste and feel snow or sleet borne on the rushing air, watch a storm roll down to the valley until the buildings across the highway were lost in the white and howling blur. When the storm gusted past, the sun glittered on snow, the cold bit fiercely at fingers, ears and toes.
December in Vermont could be a time of capricious weather; a time when the sun rose sullenly [if at all] over the Green Mountains, skulked behind a wall of clouds, riding a lowering sky westward to sink behind the wooded ridges which marched darkly toward Lake Champlain.
Usually there was snow--Christmas card pretty, covering the roofs and gardens in the small villages, disguising the frozen mud of farm dooryards, powdering hedgerows and shorn fields with a clean white coverlet.
Christmas was about practice for school programs--construction paper in red and green, paste, glitter; costumes contrived and shared.
Christmas was Junior Choir rehearsal with the flapping raven-black choir robes brought out of the storage cupboard and held up for length. Mothers took them home to iron, to starch the wide white collars. We were lined up, drilled in the dignity of procession to a 4-4 beat--"Angels From the Realms of Glory.'
The snow was admired, the winter skies watched; no one wanted a 'Green Christmas'--a thaw that brought sleet or freezing rain reducing back roads to a slithery hazard, lawns to a brown-green slush.
I've not lived in Kentucky long enough to make weather proclamations, to know what is the seasonal normal. I've found December dandelions in bright bloom near the clothesline. We are still cutting kale and bringing in cabbages from the garden.
Stirring the ashes of last night's fire while the coffee perked, I wondered if we needed heat. The heavy curtains over the sliding doors stirred in the breeze as the cats rushed in and out, restless, mildly cantankerous.
When I returned from a trip to Wal Mart [an errand guaranteed to make me cantankerous] white puffs of cloud rode a sky of mottled blue. By the time I had unloaded my goods and walked down the drive to the mailbox the wind was picking up. Banks of purple-black piled in the north, darkness moved down from Payne Janes Hill, casting heavy shadows over the corn ground. Pebbles the old horse raised her head, seeming to assess the changing weather as sudden thunder rumbled.
Rain spattered, the power cut off as the oven was heating for chicken and biscuits, flicked back on again and held steady.
The cats huddled on the hearth rug as the wind swept past the house.
Darkness moved in early, heralded by the unexpected rose and lavender of a mid-winter sunset.
December in Kentucky may take getting used to--but it beats shoveling snow! - Sharon Whitehurst
This story was posted on 2012-12-18 05:57:58
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