A weather time machine

A weather time machine

Weather has a way of bringing us back to a place where we’ve been before. It acts as a quick and sometimes fickle time machine to a past memory. Like how intense West Texas dust storms remind me of Harmattan Winds and how our lives in Guinea and Senegal were often coated in layers of dust that blew in from the Sahara desert. We could write messages to one another on the thick layers that coated our table, or on the screen of our balcony where our clothes hung on the line to dry. The wind and rain before a big thunderstorm takes me right back to being up on the flat roof of our village house with our dog Roxy watching the skies turn from dark shades of blue to black. We had no tv or weather alert, but we knew what was coming because it was rainy season, and this was the norm over the span of a few months, hurricanes sweeping in every few days it seemed. I had never lived this close to the ocean before, so close that on a very late night (where there were no ceremonies or drums), we could hear the waves crashing in. The hurricanes were so strong at times that palm trees would blow over. But we’d hunker down in our house, until the wind would stop and the rain would ease. And then there’s snow: a magical piece of my Colorado childhood that I missed living in Africa. I missed snow, fall, and seasons in general. And then God, always with that sense of humor, moves us to the dessert of West Texas where triple digit temperatures last for long stretches in the summertime, and snow is rare. So rare, in fact, that we’ve only seen it (a dusting, even) maybe 4-5 times in the four years that we’ve lived here. But we do see plenty of dust, summertime winds, potential tornadoes, and Africa-like high temps.

But today… today is a snow globe of instant transportable memories to young-Jenn, walking about in the snow, all bundled and with a shawl draped dramatically over my head and shoulders, pretending to be on some grand adventure searching for Ma and Pa in a winter’s blizzard. The snow also takes me back to the icy state of Wisconsin for Bible College, road trips to Chicago, where we lived in Pennsylvania, and Missouri, then Ohio, and Quebec where the real, real snow exists (and yet, people were so used to it that life went on in the most beautiful way).

I wouldn’t want to be living anywhere else right now, but today I’m sure grateful for the little weather time machine that takes me back to all the memories that snow holds for me. And even on the hot and dusty days, I’m thankful for the connection I have with my African friends on that side of the globe.


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