Thursday Morning Muse…Coffee and Weather.

Coffee Muse

I like coffee so much that I have tea for breakfast: The first cup of the day in particular is so good that I’m afraid I won’t be able to properly appreciate it when I am half-asleep. Therefore, I celebrate it two hours later when I am fully conscious.

Coffee – Niemann Opinion Art Blog – Abstract City –

You really, really have to check out the artwork that accompanies this….

Weather Muse

The snowfall last evening stopped before midnight. by that time the field at back was almost covered with a complete layer of the white stuff and the night had taken on that otherworldly glow a snow covered night has…This morning it is all gone.

This is what the local paper had to say about it…

By Wednesday evening, the flakes were big enough to hold their shape for a moment on the street before melting into the pavement, and a dusting had collected on parked cars in some parts of town.

The flurries tied a record for Houston’s earliest snowfall ever and warmed the hearts of winter weather lovers who have pined for snow since it last made an appearance on Christmas Eve 2004.

Since 1895, records indicate, snow has fallen this early just once — on Dec. 10, 1944.

Snow surprises Houston-area residents | Houston & Texas News | – Houston Chronicle.

Now, I know all of you readers from further poleward are wondering what the excitement is. You just have to remember that in my half century and a few years of living I can count the number of snows I have seen on the fingers of both hands…I don’t even have to take of my wool socks.

It is the very rarity of the phenomenon gives it its power over the human spirit. Much as the hurricanes that threaten our coast every year grab a hold of our imagination but only actually impact us on a much more irregular schedule.

Here is a really good description of what we go through in the run up to a storm from this morning’s “Engines of Our Ingenuity” spot on PBS…

Before satellites, hurricane warnings came from ships, from islands, or from planes. Even in pre-industrial times, our ancestors had a bit of warning, especially along the coast: deep, leisurely-spaced swells crashing the shore, sometimes accompanied by a brick-red sky. But, for us, the time frame of a hurricane has changed forever. Satellites now detect hurricanes a week or more before landfall. By three or four days prior, you have your marching orders: evacuate, if required, or hunker down and wait it out. The wait can seem interminable.

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Life grinds to a halt before a hurricane, and it’s a strange disconnect. The hurricane itself is moving at breakneck speeds, but the hurricane event is now a slow-motion disaster. Images flood the internet and TV, the monster with its gaping eye brought to you in obscenely high-def detail.

In September I logged onto the NOAA website a couple times each day, and watched hurricane Ike inch ever closer to my home. The tracking becomes personal. Once a hurricane is well into the Gulf, you know it’s going to make landfall somewhere. The dread that the hurricane is aiming directly at you is wedded to a secret craving to witness every bit of its terrifying, chaotic glory — safely of course. We’re like Ulysses — tie us to the mast while the Sirens shriek.

No. 2439: Picturing Monsters.

“Life grinds to a halt before a hurricane.” How very real those words are…24 hours before a storm when the weather is still beautiful and the world looks normal, it is not. The stores are all closed…only a couple of gas stations are open. The streets are clear of most traffic…You feel foolish waiting at a stoplight with nobody on the road but you. You look for ice to fill your coolers because you know it will be needed. There is none.

But…life after the storm takes on an even more surreal aspect. For those of us who have lived in the never closed, always on, life of a major city…To spend days where everything you need stays closed is the most frustrating thing in life. Repairs need to be made, but you have no spare parts so you make do with what you can find on hand…The power is off so you need ice, but ice is three days away where you are…so you go to where the ice is and come back to the chaos that is home. Power doesn’t return for over a week…and its two weeks before you return to work…

But life goes on…just slower than before.

Much like now…after a lifetime at work…life goes on…just slower…

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