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A Grin at the End: Cloud breaks – Seizing the opportunities

I have never paid much attention to the weather. After all, what’s the point? There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Plus, the weather forecast is always more of a best guess than a guarantee. Even the meteorologists seem confounded.

We’re supposed to be in the middle of an El Niño. In general, that means we should be having a dry and warm winter. We are – exception when it’s wet and cold.

Want to know what the weather will be tomorrow? Flip a coin.

I used to live in the Lousy Weather Capital of the World – Juneau, Alaska. It rained an average of 90 inches a year, about twice as much as in the Willamette Valley. I mean, Silverton and Stayton are in a desert compared to Juneau. Each year, July 4 was the only day of the year with even a 50-50 chance of it not raining. Every other day, the odds favored rain.

During the winter, the average temperature was about 32 degrees. That meant the precipitation came in the form of rain, snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain or liquid misery from the netherworld, making the storms we occasionally get in Oregon seem pretty tame.

What brings that to mind is a conversation I had the other day with a guy I met who lives in Juneau. He reported that 76 inches of snow had fallen there in January. One month. That’s nearly 2.5 inches of snow a day.

He also mentioned that when it wasn’t snowing, it was raining. That’s when Juneau turns into the world’s biggest snow cone. 

I have never been so grateful that we had moved – even if it was to Minnesota, which has its own set of winter time challenges.

I lived in Juneau for 14 years and had a good job editing the local newspaper. I worked ten to 12 hours a day, plus weekends. I loved my work. I never thought much about that, but maybe it was because my job kept me indoors. It also gave me the discipline to ignore the weather. Whether it was raining, snowing or anything else made no difference. The best plan was always the same – ignore it.

I still felt that way here in Oregon. I never checked the weather forecasts. Every morning when I woke up, the weather was a total surprise. Rain was fine. So was fog, or almost anything else short of a hurricane. It just didn’t matter.

Until recently. I have gone from a weather agnostic to a fanatic. Lately, when I catch a glimpse of sunshine, I am totally twitterpated. I feel as though the day will be the best ever. I know the birds will be singing and the song “Zip-A-Dee Doo Dah” will be dancing inside my skull.

My, oh my, what a wonderful day.

I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s a realization that I – and everyone else – only have so many days to roam the planet and we’re best off enjoying the sunshine. 

Or maybe it’s just a happy reminder that I’m not in Juneau anymore.

Carl Sampson is a freelance editor and writer. He lives in Stayton.

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