Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather . . .
Do you think much about the weather?
Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve got no place to go,
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Some people might think we’re a bit obsessed with it here in New Mexico. A hefty portion of each news broacast is spent with witty meteorologists giving play-by-plays about storms and wind advisories. They blissfully fill our minds with numbers referring to relative humidity or barometric pressure. In New Mexico, we have hailstones as big as golf balls. Rainstorms dump inches of water in minutes and then disappear as quickly into deep, cloudless azure. When rare tornados touch down, their landings merit higher billing than commonplace murders.
Maybe New Mexicans feel a kinship with our mercurial world because we can see it. We’ve generally got 30-60 mile views in most places; that makes for mighty big skies. Thunderstorms don’t sneak up on us; they lollygag.
Are New Mexicans loners in their eyes-to-the-sky approach to the world? Are we the only ones who care so much about jet streams and El Nino?
I don’t think so. Otherwise, there would be no Weather Channel. Al Roker wouldn’t have a job. And hundreds of bloggers would have to find other things to write about. What would these guys do? Or this guy? Or the millions of others I found through a Google search?
But where does weather fit into fiction?
I believe weather is underestimated in novels. It can set the tone, cause problems, invite sensuality. L’Engle’s tongue-in-cheek opening gives us an anything-can-happen, delicious feeling that’s both ominous and tempting.
I know I often write about weather in my novels — but then I’m a New Mexican, so it’s natural for me.
Don’t other authors see the connection? Why aren’t writing blogs abuzz with discussions about weather’s roles and uses in literature?
I want to know . . . (have you ever seen the rain?)
Maybe in big cities, weather isn’t important. Maybe it’s just a nuisance or a given. The only time it attracts attention is when it’s exceptional — a blizzard or a drought — not like here in NM, where each day it’s a fascinating topic even if nothing much is happening.
Why is weather taken for granted?
Who writes it well?
Does weather even matter in fiction? Is it overdone (and I’m just missing it)? Underrepresented?
One place where weather certainly does matter is in music. Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time, a beautiful version by Louis Armstrong when he entertained the troops in Vietnam. He could have been singing about New Mexico.
I’ve seen skies of blue, clouds of white . . .