Clouds

The weather has a lot more of a personality here at this old farmhouse in Delaware County.

I suspect it’s because the house is surrounded by meadows, distant hills, and looks down toward a deep valley where the atmosphere draws some extra strength from the water held back by the East Sidney Dam.

When we lived surrounded by trees, the weather snuck up on us. Here, we see it coming. And we see its moods.

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Now that the days are hot and the nights are cool, we wake in the morning surrounded by clouds. The mist creeps up the valley, spreads over the meadows, and, on some days, completely envelops the house. It’s completely silent, and a little eerie. KB, who works late in his studio, says he’s come out in the wee hours of the morning to see actual waves of mist rolling off the meadow toward the house.

“There are huge, billowing white waves that roll right toward me from the meadow, like an ocean of white, not making a sound. When they reach me, there’s nothing. I keep waiting to hear something. Something that big should make noise.”

This morning, the mist is politely keeping its distance, but it’s heavy enough that the valley is gone, as are the tops of the neighboring hills.

It’s a magical thing because it is so fragile. The sun rises from the opposite side of the house, and as its rays touch the tops of the hills, gradually spreading lower, the mist retreats and the familiar landscape appears. And for a little while, just before the sunlight claims its daily victory, the grasses glow under a soft, gray blanket. The flowers in our garden seem suffused in a richness of color that is deeper, lusher.

I moved here, in part, because I wanted to see the sky. That’s led to some unexpectedly lovely discoveries, like watching the weather. It connects me to this place, somehow, learning to read the natural world around me. Lately, I understand it far better than I understand people.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.