What’s Today’s Weather? by
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Prompted By Weather

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In the long-ago era before cell phones, my husband and I would try to stay awake through the late-night news to hear the weather report. I must confess that, even when I didn’t doze off, I could never remember it the next morning. Even now, I check my weather app when I get up and have forgotten the forecast by the time I have to get dressed for the day. Given the fact that climate change is here, I guess I should pay more attention.

What’s today’s weather? We really need to pay close attention.

Growing up, weather wasn’t a big deal. I actually lived through four distinct seasons as a Midwesterner. Summertime (Gershwin), The Autumn Leaves (Nat King Cole), Winter Wonderland (in my house, the Frank Sinatra version), and It Might as Well be Spring (Nina Simone) were the soundtrack of my childhood. My mother opened the front door every morning and declared what clothing and outerwear the weather dictated for that day. Since shorts and pants were forbidden for girls (except for Bermuda shorts Fridays in high school), I either needed a sweater or not and bobby socks or tights. A seasonal jacket, snow boots or an umbrella, hats and gloves or none – Mom declared what was appropriate for our walk to and from school.

Near the end of her life, my mother lost her matter-of-fact approach to the weather. Now she was consuming lots of cable news, and “breaking news” of huge snow storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, record rain, excessive heat, and wildfires frightened her. She worried that anyone she knew who lived in the same region as a weather catastrophe was at risk. Thus, I would get frantic calls asking if we were safe in Chicago when it had snowed six inches or if my son’s family in Boston had been spared from a Nor’easter. I had to tell her to stop watching MSNBC all day, as she also became extremely distressed by all things political.

Now, I fear I have become my mother. I worry about this past July having been the hottest month on record worldwide. Extreme heat in Europe gives me pause about summer travel to Paris, where the thermometer hit 109 degrees and many places lack air conditioning. A heat wave in Japan has me worried about athletes who will compete there in the 2020 summer Olympics. When we took an Alaskan cruise 20 years ago, we needed jackets and gloves. Now we would be warm in shorts and t-shirts, and the glaciers are much smaller. And while we don’t get the wildfires or hurricanes in my neck of the woods, it did rain the entire month of April with some pretty big storms accompanied by tornadoes. Yes, climate change is real, and it’s here now.

So yes, I do worry about the weather. I worry that, as parts of the earth become uninhabitable, huge numbers of people will try to migrate to places that don’t want to take them in. I worry that crops won’t grow, that there will be food shortages. I worry that my grandkids will be living in a very different world, a world in which they won’t be able to forget the weather forecast, a world in which the beaches they currently enjoy will disappear, a world in which the sins of my generation ignoring climate change will be their burden to bear.

What’s today’s weather? We really need to pay close attention.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real and join my Facebook community.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: been there, well written


  1. Amen, Laurie. We sure do. My partner Barbara and I spend a terrific ten days driving the circumferential route in Iceland. So happy to have done it before Iceland becomes Waterworld. The notion of “being prepared for the weather” there took an interesting twist. It was August, so temperatures were generally temperate. But we were going to be spending some time exploring a glacier. From the inside, where it is perpetually 32 degrees. We had to bring winter things, too. All worth it, though.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I feel lucky we saw Alaska when we did. Thinking of the magnificent glaciers, which were already receding 20 years ago, melting now makes me sick. I’m glad you got to see Iceland. What kind of a world are we leaving to the next generation? No wonder it is the top issue for young voters. That and guns. Hope they do better than we did.

  2. Suzy says:

    Laurie, this story really resonated with me. I remember staying up to watch the weather segment on the 11:00 news – and then not remembering the next morning what they said anyway. And the songs you picked for the four seasons, which are perfect. And the mother who worried about the weather in any location where a member of the family lived. Yes, we all need to worry about the weather now, and hope that it is not too late to ameliorate climate change.

  3. Marian says:

    We do indeed need to pay attention, Laurie. I’m convinced the 1998 flood I experienced (see my story) would be much worse today because of the warm water in the ocean leading to more rain. I’m glad you were able to convince your mom to stop watching MSNBC. Occasionally I’ll get messages asking if we are OK when there are weather events in southern California, 800 miles away.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Our beaches are shrinking here. In fact, the dog beach has entirely disappeared. Storms are more frequent and weather systems stall. Not much fresh corn this year. These are small changes I see everyday, but what is happening overall is frightening. Too bad Al Gore didn’t become president.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, I fear your worries are well-founded. All these extremes are causing global dislocation and the problems are only going to get worse.

    But wait…you were allowed to wear Bermuda shorts to school on Fridays in the Spring? Wow, my senior year in High School, we had a one-week trial of wearing pants (NOT jeans) just to see if anyone’s head exploded or some such nonsense.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      LOL on the pants, Betsy. When I was teaching hs English, we couldn’t wear pants until my final year. That was a huge relief because I was pregnant then and maternity dresses were not too pretty. Seriously, like you I am in despair about what is happening to our environment and the world we are l;eaving for our kids.

  5. Thanks for grappling the larger issue of climate change here, Laurie. I found the description of your mother’s changing concerns particularly poignant. The media impact on climate catastrophes does send many loved ones running for the phone to learn whether we have lived or died in the latest wildfire, earthquake, flash flood, or drought. But we know the change is not just about your aging mother’s vulnerability. We all know what we and our children, and our children’s children are facing. Despite our present reality, I believe that — properly guided — technology could still make a difference in this anthropocene age.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I hope you are right that it’s not too late, Charles. After listening to hurricane news for the past three days, I’m glad they were wrong about Puerto Rico and hope Florida will be spared the worst of it. Still, the coverage makes me anxious, so I have great empathy for how my mother felt.

  6. I think we’re all living under tremendous anxiety these days, given the state of the nation, the world, and the climate. The collective psyche is very difficult to evaluate, but certainly climate change et al has turned us all into grandmothers… for good reason[s]!

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