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Friday, March 22, 2013

When the Lion and the Lamb Converge…

spring snowfallThe swallows returned to the Valley on March 15, the Ides. Two days later the first Rufous hummingbird made its 2013 debut at our window feeder. The Rufous is our summer hummer and now the year-round Annas will have to compete with the more aggressive, territorial Rufous until its fall migration leaves the Annas sole proprietors of the syrup. Spring creepers—tree frogs—are again conducting their evening concerts at “Old Barn Pond” across the road: nocturnal frog lullabies; morning wake up calls courtesy of chirruping robins. And March 2oth promptly at 4: 02 a.m. PDT, the vernal equinox began its processional. Ahhhhh! Spring at last!

This morning I switched on the coffee pot and raised the kitchen shade to inspect the day. I looked out through a scree of snowflakes at a world of white: the lawn, garden, hedges—the roofs of Valley houses blanketed by snow. The white stuff has pretty much left us alone this “past”season. I can’t recall any accumulation here in the Valley this winter—certainly not enough to roll up a slushy snowman anyway. Snow the third week of March? What’s up with that!shivering iris

It’s location, location, location. That’s what’s up with that. The Valley lies in the crosshairs of what the local weather gurus call a“convergent zone.” The Ripple reports the Valley weather from time to time, grouses about it  just as often (Mark Twain said: “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”) but because of its limited budget, there’s no meteorologist on staff. As a Valley resident always “under its weather,” I’ll do my best as a layman journalist to explain this so-called “convergent zone.” Unsettled weather systems target the Valley from the west, sidestep the Olympics’ rain shadow, tag team up with the weather gods from the north, then are sucked into the vortex of the Cascades, leaving the Valley at the mercy of inclemency. There, I’ve explained the entire phenomenon without a single mention of isobars, isotherms or millibars.dazed daffodils

(Whenever the wind blows the Valley trees sideways and the house shudders; whenever hail pellets ricochet off the roof or sleet pelts the windows; whenever raindrops drum the shingles mercilessly; whenever thunder and lightning rumble through the Valley like a marching band; or whenever while we’re driving out and about, the wipers can’t keep up with the rain sheeting off the windshield, the wife and I look at each other, shake our heads knowingly, and in the same breath say, “convergent zone!”)

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” the old saying declares. That might be so, but today is March 22nd, a snow day, and I say the lion still reigns…the lamb has yet to appear.late snow; late crocus

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