Anyone who has children or siblings would testify that every human being exhibits a unique personality from day one. Despite emerging from the same womb and living under the same roof, each newborn quickly develops a distinct set of likes and dislikes. My middle son, Justin, validates this theory for certain.
Most 9 year olds awaken each day with an attempt to sneak in a few cartoons before breakfast and school. Justin, on the other hand, religiously scans out the window for sky patterns and then initiates a request to turn on The Weather Channel. I beam as I imagine the word meteorologist tattooed on his forehead. I have a high degree of confidence that he whispered humidity readings in his earliest dreams. It really got scary when, at age 5, he boldly predicted rain during a cloud-free, sunny afternoon. Two hours later thunder and lightening echoed and flashed through a heavy downpour. Spooky.
Justin gets excited observing and chatting about the weather anytime of any day. In contrast to my little weatherman’s passion, most Forest Parker’s aren’t thrilled with this winter’s clime. Despite February running out the back door and mid March sitting on our front porches, weather related complaints are dropping as fast as snow flakes from the sub 30 degree atmosphere. Cabin fever has wrestled us to the ground and hit us with a few ice balls in the face. Flu germs, limited sunlight, prolonged commutes, and back breaking snow removal all have pushed the grumpiness meter into the red zone. I would campaign for a weekend trip to Miami, but the delayed flight out of O’Hare would probably ruin the buzz.
As my family experiences our 14th winter in Chicago, I am reminded that I can not control the weather. Whether I complain or smile, the heavens will do what it must without my input or approval. It would be easy for me to whine and protest, but the main stream development of the Internet has made me too smart for my own good. For example, despite the record snowfall in Chicago during the month of February, the residents of Syracuse, N.Y., are laughing at us like a classic episode of the “Carol Burnett Show.” This Empire State city routinely receives 111 inches of snow fall per year. In addition, Anchorage, Alaska’s average low temperature is 29 F (almost 10 degrees below the Windy City mean).
Yeah … yeah, you smirk unimpressed. Can any of those locations bear the brute force of a sweltering Chicago summer, averaging 18 days of 90 degree temperatures (not to mention the road construction). Phoenix can bear it and then some. This southwestern destination deals out 167 such days every year to its tanned residents. Just for “Jeopardy” knowledge, Mobile, Ala., and Seattle are the major cities with the most rainfall and the cloudiest days per year, respectively.
Informed with these extreme weather facts, my forecast of feelings on the Forest Park climate isn’t so gloomy after all. Perspective on the weather – and on life – can be as positive or as negative as one makes it out to be. I repeat. We can not control much of what happens to us in life, yet we can be ready to respond to the circumstances. Bring the umbrella, pack the sunscreen and slip on an extra heavy coat. No one can predict exactly what will happen when you walk out the front door each morning. Yet having The Weather Channel, and a son like Justin, may give you a few hints on how to prepare.