Weather Magic

Kage Baker was pretty philosophical about the weather. She figured there was really nothing she (or anyone else) could do about it, so complaining was pointless.

At least, after the fact. She also had a vaguely defined belief that various folkways could influence the weather before it happened; things like washing the windows or the car to make it rain. Planting out seedlings, or bringing out the winter quilts to bring on a hot wave. Things like that.

Mostly, she contented herself with watching the weather Very Closely. Kage was convinced that watching things Very Closely was a sure and certain way on influencing them – she claimed it was all proven by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Apparently the weather is paranoid.

Hence her delight in having a weather program on the computer, and keeping a barometer and thermometer by her desk. She always wanted one of those floating bubble Galileo thermometers, though it may have been the coloured glass that tempted her there . She was fascinated with historical weather reports, and in trying to calculate cycles and patterns.

“I’ve been alive for over half a century,” she said in her later years. “What use is that if I can’t rely on my weather observations? That’s how the Farmers Almanac works!”

The actual Farmers Almanac, though, was always bit of a disappointment to Kage. The recipes and historical anecdotes and maps and such delighted her; but the weather forecast was not really great for the Pacific Coast. It tended to rather shirk us; its predictions were long and detailed for everything East of the Rockies, but pretty patchy for us out here. But she combined its prognostications with her own observations, and was usually pretty spot on about any given season.

I decided, in a moment of sleeplessness last night, to check it out for this year. It’s coverage has improved, at least in width and depth. The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eventual weather … but it said that our usual rainy system of February and March would be drier than usual (and it was.) It also said April and May would be wetter – which looks likely to happen, as the promise of further rain is still inching down the coast from Canada to us … most interestingly, the Almanac predicts that the summer here will be both hotter and wetter than usual.

Hotter would be hard to accomplish than the normal Southern California Season of Dessication, but it does happen from time to time. Wetter, though – pretty easy to do, as we are ordinarily dust dry here for 6 months at a time. But summer rain is very rare. And very desirable. I can remember maybe half a dozen years in my own half-century where it rained between April and October – and it’s always the same pattern. Tropical storms, thunder and lightning in July and August, then extreme autumn heat. It’s not a bad pattern – the garden always has a mad rush of late growth, and the harvests are good.

So I’m hoping the old Almanac is right. The rain we got yestreday and last night was a delight, and the garden and lawn are palpably happy today. There is apparently a chance of more rain next week, which betokens well. I shall hope. And hand water.

And watch the skies Very Closely.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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3 Responses to Weather Magic

  1. As you might imagine, I’m less than delighted by the prospect of more rain. I really can’t afford more rain days in the build. I am however as obsessive as a highland oat farmer these days. I take the aguries from a variety of sources. I gaze at many sorts of radar and satellite views. I care about the Gulf of Alaska in ways I never do otherwise. I really don’t think it matters much. It reminds me of my innate automotive skills. open the hood, check the fluids, giggle the linkage, check the electrics, grind starter. If it works, good for you. If not repeat. A mantra.


  2. Chris Springhorn says:

    giggle the linkage?


    • Kate says:

      Chris – made sense to me, whether he meant “jiggle” it or “laugh at it.” You try anything when you’re using folk magic …



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