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Extended Forecast

weather

The weather is here

Vacationers tend to obsess about the weather. They pray for blue skies and dread gray overcast horizons. Weather happens because of changes wrought by transient pressure systems. Case in point, an area of low pressure moved over southern New England last night bringing showers and downpours to the beaches. These were not welcomed by vacationing families paying two grand for a week in a quaint cottage with a water view. Stressed out employees who day dreamed of a vacation spent idling away sunny daylight hours with “no or at least low” pressure are not going to be pleased with today’s weeping skies.

The weather experts have predicted a dramatic confrontation between this morning’s low-pressure system and the arrival of a cold front this afternoon. When the two collide we’ll be drenched with thunderstorms that are expected to linger until sometime tomorrow. Fog and low-lying clouds will blanket the beaches. It’s not going to be a good day for Annette Funicello to play bingo.Image

What’s outside the window right now determines what’s going to happen later. The problem with forecasts is that they are based on complex mathematical equations called models. Weather models are subject to changes in winds, currents, and pressure. Weather forecasts are often wrong. Anyone who has ever come across the cover model of an issue of Cosmopolitan or paid attention to fashion knows for certain that models are not perfect.  A fashion model’s errors are made right by airbrushes, collagen, and plastic surgeons.

Too many people rely on The Weather Channel and newspaper weather maps rather than simply taking stock of what’s happening now. Sherlock Holmes once said, “The world is full of  obvious things that nobody by any chance ever observes.[1] It’s relatively easy to become in tune with what is now. First, you have to intentionally pay attention. Don’t just look out the window, it’s impossible to feel the wind, smell the air, see the sky, and touch the weather from the inside of a window. By tuning into some things and tuning out other things we become awake and aware. If you shut your eyes and go outside it’s pretty easy to figure out whether your skin is wet from perspiration caused by heat and humidity or stinging sleet.  We become one with the weather.

Lightening

Not an optimal time to sail

What happens when we pay attention is that our consciousness slips between what we are observing and thinking about ourselves. Watching the subtle ripples and hearing the soft gurgles of an ebbing tide along a rocky shore or sensing the changes in clouds by the degree of warmth on our body brings forth a deep connection between consciousness and nature. Just as the clouds shift shapes and the winds change direction we change as a consequence of being in tune with our surroundings.

Pressure is part of what is within and around us. The weather, our jobs and vacations are all subject to chaos. The present is a precursor to the future but there is no way to predict exactly what’s going to happen later on.  We get a clue about what comes next by paying close attention to what’s going on right now.  If the barometer is rising the skies are going to clear. Pack a cooler and get outside. If the pressure drops pull out the Monopoly board. Either way, it’s going to be a great day. Obviously, if there was no pressure there would not be anything.

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Becalmed – awaiting adventure


[1] The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Bermuda High

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A Bermuda High is pumping sultry heat and stifling humidity into New England. It is a typical high-pressure summer weather pattern that forms in the western Atlantic. This bodes well for vacationers and the beach crowd – in fact the weather is breeding beach bums. We’ve got balmy water temps around 69 (note that’s about 30 degrees cooler than a healthy blood stream) with waves at 1 – 3 feet and the usual dose of SSW summer breezes. We’re having a 4th of July weekend sizzler.

ImageIt’s all-good if you’ve got sunscreen and access to either the Narrow River or Narragansett Bay. Then again, my dear Mom would declare the hot humid cocktail as “oppressive”. There is an unsettling aspect of Bermuda Highs. Comparable to the “good witch” and the wicked witch of Oz, this cyclone has a darker power. She steers the course of hurricanes. Bermuda Highs draw great strength from the oceanic atmospherics that generate humongous clockwise winds that give birth to storms that are pushed toward the eastern US seaboard.

Bermuda Highs interact with other wind and wave patterns, thus what lies ahead, weather-wise is difficult to predict. When the system shifts to the east or west it weakens or gains strength. We can bet on one thing – movement in either direction will spurn hurricanes – when they will be strong enough to wreak havoc and where they will land this season is anyone’s guess.

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Wicked

So it seems this sizzler of a weekend is a calm before the storm. Sooner or later the clouds will come, winds will batter the dunes and great waves will tear up the beaches. I’m not inclined to breakout my yellow slicker and fill the bathtub with water just yet.

Sometimes, our lives seem so perfect that we fear our happiness will be drenched. Looking at the weather map – that seems true. If you’re in Indian Rocks Beach or New Orleans today – you’re stuck in a low. It’s a far cry from my High but hold on, no pattern holds indefinitely in a world that spins through space on an axis. The way a multitude of factors in Earth’s atmosphere interact assures us that tomorrow can never be a perfect copy of a perfect today.

Why not treat today as one does during a Bermuda High in New England? Try to be comfortable and chill out. Tune into what you’ve got and stop worrying about what you may get or could lose tomorrow. Carpe Diem.

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Life is Good

Wormholes

When I was a little kid, like everybody else growing up in the 50’s, I knew a short cut to just about everywhere. Taking the short cut might mean sneaking over a neighbor’s fence, hiking through a patch of swamp, or swimming across the cove. The point of a short cut is to save time and be there.

Yesterday my brother and I pondered the difference between

Wormholewhat we feel is a short cut to Connecticut versus a much prettier route. It’s a classic debate between the highway or the scenic way to travel. The crux of the argument is whether the travel is worth the time on either road. On one hand, the faster one travels, until reaching the limit, which is just a tad less than light speed, time, slows down. That would put a check in the plus column for taking the highway.

Maturity in part involves skipping shortcuts. These appear to be rational decisions. After all, you could get cut on the fence (and by the way, trespassing is rarely socially acceptable), wreck your shoes in the swamp, or be caught in the current. There’s another reason for skipping short cuts. We reach a certain age when its understood that we can plan all we want for tomorrow but the future can change on a dime. Most of us hang on to memories of our past, especially the good times. Few among us want to know the excruciating details of our future.

According to physics, there are short cuts between space and time. These wormholes come in very handy when theoretically traveling between universes.  The neat thing about wormholes is that they make time travel possible. Whether the traveler gets one way or round trip tickets is still a thorny problem.

Time Travel via Wormhole

Time Travel via Wormhole

When we don’t see family and friends often, the rare get-togethers are just like wormholes. We can slip effortlessly into recollections of past times shared and transcend today with plans for tomorrow. The wormholes also seem to speed up time so that the visits go by in a blink and are quickly stashed as Facebook posts and fresh memories.

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Wormhole

Sailors know that the quickest way to anywhere is rarely straight ahead. Being on the water is about being here as opposed to just getting there. Long summer days can be measured by time spent better than by time saved. These are days for taking a time out to slow down and be present with now. Which is why, we should all be choosey about who and when we spend our time. Wormholes are hard to find and there is just so much time allotted to our journey.

The lesson learned from wormholes is, wear wings. Tempus fugit.