Weather plays a big part in our lives no matter where we live. Earthquakes in the west, tornadoes across the Midwest, hurricanes up and down both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico, floods and blizzards can be life-changing. Weather should play an important part in your writing. Is the day dark and gloomy? Is it sunny and bright? Is it raining in sheets? Is there blinding snow? Mud? Are readers able to get a sense of how the weather impacts the story?
I remember reading one of Catherine Cookson’s first books. She wrote about the misty moors. Now, I’ve never seen a moor but I could almost see and feel it by her writing. This is something we all need to be aware of as we write our bestsellers.
Let me share with you something that happened this weekend. My great-nephew graduated from high school in Marquette, Michigan on Sunday. He is the first of my sister’s ten grandchildren to finish high school and the others are coming up fast. Since our family is very close we all planned to attend. We left Wisconsin on Saturday on a bright sunny morning. By the time we reached my sister’s house in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (about three hours away) it had become a bit overcast but was still warm.
On Sunday morning it rained from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. My sister kept repeating the mantra, ‘rain before seven ends at eleven’, worried that the 4:00 pm graduation party would be a disaster. She cooked all kinds of dishes for the graduation party and I helped her until we went to bed about midnight. My sis and her husband left early Sunday, as they were attending the graduation ceremony. We left later because my daughter and son-in-law were coming and we wanted to spend some time with them. Everything was good. We had a nice visit with the kids and went to the park early to help set up the tables and food.
We drove along the shores of Lake Superior and got the sight of our lives! It’s June, remember, and the lake was full of huge ice floes. It was ridiculous! My husband and I started counting but gave up because there were so many. It was about 75 degrees.
We got to the park and only one of my nieces was there and a couple of her friends. My sis finally got there with most of the food about 3:45 pm and we hurried to get it all set out and ready. The graduation boy and his girlfriend showed up and we started eating and visiting with those we only see a few times a year.It was perfect.
Then the clouds opened up and released a torrent of rain that came in sheets! We were in a pavilion with no sides and some of us got a little wet. That lasted about a half hour and quit. It got warm and muggy for an hour or so and the rain returned with a vengeance. Most of us were soaked. We covered the food and although some friends and family stayed to visit, I wanted to spend a little more time with my daughter and son-in-law, so we left. We also had to transfer things from car to car as my daughter and I seem to have this thing about recycling our stuff back and forth. I came up with an idea to go to a gas station where we would be protected from the rain while we unpacked and repacked.
We drove from the pavilion back the way we had come, still laughing about the ice in Lake Superior, when one of the worst rain storms I have ever been in came out of nowhere. There was no place for the water to go and we got a little worried that we might be floating before long. We made it through the driving rain, dodging cars whose drivers couldn’t see the line in the middle of the road, trying to see where we were going and afraid we’d get hit by one of those ice floes. We were so close to the lake that it could have happened.
After we got to town the rain had let up again a little, so we parked under the canopy at the gas station, transferred the things we needed to and said goodbye to the kids. They were staying in a motel in town and we stayed at my sister’s house 75 miles away.
The whole trip home was start and stop rain just like we had seen all afternoon. The stretch of road we drove is hazardous with deer and other wildlife on the road and it is desolate, mostly trees. It is the UP of course. But it was still daylight so it wasn’t too bad. After a shower we snuggled on the couch to watch television until my sis and her husband got home. She remarked on what a trip they’d had getting home. They had to drive in the dark in that awful rain.
When we left early Monday morning it was raining again. It rained most of the way to Green Bay and then we were surrounded with beautiful blue skies with marshmallow clouds and the heat was back in the mid-70s. We were glad to get home, get unpacked and sleep in our own bed. I have to say, though, that was the strangest weekend of weather I think I’ve ever seen, especially in June. I’ll have lots of weather memories to help me write, so the experience was good.
What about you? Do you go into great detail about the weather in your books? Does it even play a part in your plot? Mine does because the circus travels and good or bad weather can cause problems. Have you been in unusual weather in the past? I’d like to hear about it. If you’d like to read an article called Endless Winter and see some good pictures of how Lake Superior looks now, click on USA Today.
Picture Credits: Morguefiles.com
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