Whither Weather?

Chilean Weather

Weather is something we often ignore, often curse, often chat about when there is little else to yap about. 

I am definitely for weather. I like it.
Now I’ve been around this planet a bit, thanks to my banking job and the wanderlust of being a Myers Briggs personality profile INFJ, always looking around, always searching, settling for awhile, then moving on. Gemini with winged heels airlifting him to this country or that, this climate or that.
Europe is pretty boring. It has regular seasons, tepidly warm around the Mediterranean and very cold in the northern reaches. It is a little like my home state of Colorado in the US. Move south to Arizona and Texas and find the heat and snakes there, some of them even reptiles. Move north through Wyoming and Montana and arrive at that ice cube called Canada. A perfectly nice country with perfectly horrid weather.
I got frostbitten ears when I was a kid in Colorado, and I got tired of chipping the ice off my car’s windshield in winter, never being of sufficient stature there to own a garage. So when I graduated from Viet Nam, I headed to Southern California, and I’ve been migrating warmward ever since.
The two most dramatic weatherworlds I inhabited along the way were Alaska and Chile, the former adjacent to the north pole and Russia’s Siberia, the latter stretching from the heat of the Atacama Desert in the north to a pie-slice of Antarctica tipping at the South Pole, with the dramatic center being near the Straits of Magellan where the Pacific and the Atlantic meet in huge gusts of churning wind, defying man to stand upright. The wind there is rather like a combo of a good stiff drink and a left hook from Pacquiao.
Alaska was cool, best toured by raft through nowhere (Tatshenshini River) during the short two-months of summer, camping in front of glaciers grinding their way through solid rock and calving ice bergs with rumbling booms to match any cannon I ever fired during my deafening stint in Army artillery. Watching the northern lights dance their elegant shimmering sheets of reds and greens and yellows as if God were really a gigantic Walt Disney. Carrying guns to ward off bears and charging mooses. Listening to wolves wail through the night, right over that ridge there.
Chile and Torres del Paine National Park are a land locked in time. Winds and rugged glacier-carved mountains and animals that I’d swear are a cross between a camel and a gopher, called a guanaco. A mountain climbed only once, not because it is tall, but because it rests forever with its peak in a pack of icy clouds, making the top the slipperiest slope in the world. Oh, and because the owner of the property, the guy who climbed it once with a party of 40 clamping him onto the ice, won’t let anyone else do it.
I should also mention Egypt here, too, in case you think I don’t know heat. That’s the most amazing place for touring temples and tombs. But I wouldn’t want to live there. It is fit only for scarab beetles and whacko arabs who can glom onto a piece of land close to the Nile, the lifeline of Egypt, when they aren’t busy rioting against one another. That’s a place with more negative bad attitude than even the Philippines.
And my point, for there is one amongst this ramble, is that the Philippines is certifiably the number one weather spot on the planet. First of all, there is no snow. That gets us 85 of the required 100 points for certification.
Second of all, you can live in a bamboo hut with only a pair of shorts to your name, as about 40 million people do. You don’t need a fireplace unless it is a dirty kitchen. You don’t need an air conditioner unless you live in the city where the cement grabs the day’s heat and rams it into your house until the wee hours of the morning.
Water is right uphill over there. Food sprouts from the land like weeds.
The clouds and sunsets are God’s handiwork. There’s no Disney here, we got Rembrandt.  Islands float in seas of silver and gray as if they were green dreams awaiting our visit. We can imagine that we, too, could find escape from nuclear North Korea and Philippine bloggers and other malcontents who infest our life with angst and anger. We could, if we wanted, settle on a deserted sandy beach and cop a snooze any time we wanted.
“Ha! You fool, JoeAm! You also get 20 typhoons a year!!!”
Yes, we do! And killer floods and earthquakes that rumble as if they were straight out of Independence Day, tossing tsunamis about as if they were some junior god diving jackknives into in the kiddie pool.
What do YOU want for weather? Rain 364 days a year like Seattle, or the monotony of Los Angeles that has the same brown grey mush overhead for most of the year?
I like pizzazz, myself.  The drama of a rainstorm pounding like cattle on the roof, or a wind that dearly tests the axiom that bamboo bends but does not break. Ours broke a few months ago when a mighty storm roared through. I like the dry period when everything shrinks up and stops growing and the dirt becomes almost rock. Then the rains come sweeping in and the plants blaze into life, glowing fresh, standing tall and rising several inches a day, changing the garden landscape from week to week, no digging required.
It is astounding to me that the Philippine flag contains no green. The green of this place puts Ireland to shame. Some of the snakes are green, and lizards. And birds! Emerald quail, to go with the blazing blue kingfishers and flashy yellow  orioles that zip through bringing squeals of delight from my son and, I confess, from me, too.
I own no jacket. I pitched all my business suits. I wear shorts and a t-shirt 95% of the time, donning long pants for trips to the mall or visiting someone else’s place. I own no pajamas. Just some cotton shorts for sleeping. What my wife calls a “blanket” is really just a sheet, and I don’t need that most nights. I have an umbrella, but it is parked, gathering no moss. I’m with the natives who believe rain is a minor inconvenience because, after all, you just dry out. There are no icy winds to turn you into a popsicle.
Sunsets, sunrises, rainbows and seas that shine. Clouds that billow blazing white all the way to heaven. Clouds that rumble dark threats from the underworld as another storm pounds in. Lightning that gives us accidental brownouts to go with the intentional ones aimed at saving the Electric Company some expense.
You know what you need to deal with the weather hereabouts? A roof, a pair of shorts and a candle.
6 Responses to “Whither Weather?”
  1. Anonymous says:

    The best things in life are free, the rest are worth 40 USDocB

  2. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Poetic.2. There are places in Oz where the four seasons play up in a day.3. The weather requirements for autumn in Brisbane right now are a little more complicated than a roof, a pair of shorts and a candle: shorts and T-shirt between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; fleece tracksuit pants for the remaining hours; a fleece tracksuit jumper (or jacket) if you stay up late.3.1 Last time we used candles was several weeks ago when we didn’t have power for 3 days because of torrential rains. Other than that electricity bills are almost a thing of the past since we installed solar panels on the roof.3.2 A quilt is definitely a must. Underneath one, I can sleep in silky pyjama shorts. The current one is purple and has Mr Bean on it with a finger pointing to the front and the words: “Bean there, done that”. (I kid you not!)4. I carry a sunglasses clip and a folding umbrella in my knapsack when I go out for a walk or a trip to the nearby shopping centre. It is currently 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 Fahrenheit), cloudy with forecast of a storm.

  3. Edgar Lores says:

    Welcome back, DocB. That's 38.52 aussie dollars.

  4. Ah, solar panels. That's what we need . . . to reduce candle usage.I'm afraid I'd have a hard time sleeping with that quilt of yours on my bed. Brisbane was my favorite city in touring Australia back in '04. Proper size. I was there during the Melbourne Stakes run and all the ladies were gussied up in hats. ("Gussied up" is old American for "dressed in Sunday best" which means getting refined for a Sunday gig with God" but they were on their way to the casino instead.)You look suave, I am sure, in the glasses and umbrella, probably skipping down the sidewalk . . .

  5. Attila says:

    It reminds me of Santa Barbara, California when I visited the city and I noticed the homeless were sleeping in public parks in March. That would not happen in New York where it is cold. It is better to be a homeless in California than in New York. The weather makes a big difference! If you are poor in the Philippines but live in a warm climate and at the sea than it is a world of a difference! If you are a sugarcane cutter and live in the middle of the land vs. a fisherman who lives at the see than the fisherman has the advantage. You will have a much better diet and better lifestyle. Happier people in general.

  6. Yes, I think Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the world, thanks to climate. It's interesting, in Hawaii when I'd stay there, it seems like the atmosphere is conducive to sleeping. Here the atmosphere is conducive to drinking San Mig and watching the sky.

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