I was enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon at home in north Kerry when the postman bombarded me with ‘The year could throw anything at us yet.’ What is it with postmen and their finely attuned sense of all things meteorological?
All of a sudden, I was looking at the grass, counting silage bales, finger in the air, sniffing for rain. This weather watching is a pretty precarious business in the countryside. Growing up in the city, weather watching consisted of you weighing up the possibility of ice for a day off school, looking for sun for to avoid a tomato coloured complexion or running for the number three bus in the rain.
Little did I think I’d be watching the grass grow and well, actually, enjoying it. Increasingly, with each new season the year lends me, I’m becoming more in tune with the weather. From the house, I can see a good bit of the land on our farm. I’ve had a good enough run (in eight years of married life) on this farm now to guess where the cows might be going next.
A quick glance out the living room window, I’ll see the grass and think that it could do with a few dry days, it might look a bit yellow, and then, normally, without much time to spare, I go about my business.
To begin with, I was blissfully unaware of the weather situation as I pushed my first born in his pram. Cold weather, I wrapped him up, warm weather, took off a blanket. Easy. Well, easy until I started to see and understand the concern that would enter the eyes of my farmer.
There was a pattern. A prolonged period of rain was not good nor was overly dry weather. Then, on balancing the books monthly, I would see how bad weather would translate into tightened belts and good weather might mean a few extra luxuries in the shopping trolley.
Indeed, in eight years of weather watching, I’ve learnt a bit. I’ve learnt to figure the weather out for myself. I’ve seen a bit in those years; a shortage of silage, storms that flicked the tiles from our roof, our fields covered in a blanket of white snow and felt the sigh of relief at the powerful sight of luscious grass drying in bales.
And so, I’ve learned to judge for myself before reacting to the weather. To avoid the words of the pessimist who foresees the flood or the optimist with the sunshiny outlook. There is really no way of knowing what the day will put to us before until we open the curtain each morning. No real point in reacting to the forecast until it rains upon us.
He was right, our postman, the year could throw anything at us. Come on year, we’re ready for you; show us what you’re worth.