"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ring Around the Moon

"A storm is coming," my folks would say, in those long ago days before TV, or TV weather forecasts, and certainly before superduperpuperxtraspecialwithcute-name radar that keeps us "updated," by shineywiteteethweather celebrities who promise to "take care of us," by showing the exact track and timing and directions and velocities of wind, amounts of precip, amount of mold, pollen, and how thick the hair is on the back of the squirrels.

My parents knew because they had seen a wide circle around the moon.

I was outside last night and looked up, and there was the moon, with a eerie white circle around it, cause by reflections of moonlight through ice clouds that are precursors of coming weather change.

I'm amazed our ancestors survived without Gary England or Mike Morgan or some other person we watch because "we like" them. Our ancestors knew when a storm was coming without all the fancy gadgets. They knew enough to stock up on food and wood, to care for the livestock, to handle the worst Nature could throw at them, in poorly insulated homes without electricity, central heat, or even gas heat. That's because they lived with nature, not quarantined from it as we are. They, like the American Indians, could forecast the weather because they could read the signs.

There were others than just the circle around the moon, of course. The color of skies, the directions of winds, and probably many we have forgotten or never heard about.

Went to the grocery store to "stock up," this evening. I've never seen so many empty shelves. Oblivious to the circle around the moon, but tuned in to TV, Okies are getting ready. As the Apostle Paul wrote in a different context, we are "laying by in store," a very old weather term for what people did when they saw the circle around the moon.

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