I don’t much trust weather forecasts, maybe because I am something of a sceptic when it comes to Science, it seems that Science has pretty much become the religion of the day with us mere mortals putting blind faith into the whims and translations and perspectives of Scientists. I do not naturally go along with the crowd; I challenge things and form my own conclusions and beliefs. I find it hard to be infatuated, blind to faults and mistakes, and Science has known a fair few of these. And rarely admits to them. And there’s another reason for me to be uncomfortable, untrusting of Science and its god-like Scientists, it is their attitude. I don’t like the smug, the self-righteous in any walk of life, I don’t like people who reject what has gone before as if it no longer has any value or interest, I don’t have a high opinion of people who claim that their own personal belief system is the only belief system possible and that all men should follow their creed. I have my beliefs and I respect you to have yours, please respect mine. Science and its Scientists have an increasing tendency to look down sneeringly at us mere mortals, especially those of us who stubbornly remain outside of their flock and question them. We are weak, unintelligent and just plain ignorant and stupid. I don’t do well with being told that I’m stupid. I’m likely to play up.
There is one area of Science that I have virtually no credence in: weather forecasting. They claim that they are much more accurate these days, using satellite pictures to trace cloud patterns before they even reach a particular area but they aren’t infallible. I wait to see what cloud I have over my own head before analysing weather possibilities, clouds don’t always behave in the way Scientists would like them to. Or when. And despite all the technology and Scientific Jargon, nothing much has really changed. It is still the ancient art of reading the sky, of casting one’s eyes heavenwards to pick out signs and stories that may tell the future.
I am sceptical because I know that clouds, and indeed any other parts of weather systems, are idiosyncratic, much like me. They don’t tend to behave in socially acceptable predictable ways; they can build or diminish, burn out or gather energy. It is still the clouds that are our fore bringers of the future, something that is deeply imbedded into our idiomatic language. We talk of gathering storms and country folk still know the value of signs such as red sunsets or sunrises, St Swithin’s Day and mackerel sky. We know our local winds and what they mean for us in each season. What more does Science really offer? A pretty picture, something to discuss and debate, something to guarantee viewing figures all the way through the news?
But admittedly the world is not as reliable as it used to be, our seasons fluctuate according to some unknown whim and the future a week ahead is less predictable even than that tricky predictive text, one letter out and the whole message can be read entirely wrong.
Weather forecasting is still a matter of decoding and waiting to see.
And when they predict weather events of abnormal intensity and scale then well, it’s wise to be a little sceptical. Why panic buy when the shops will still be open come what may and when any wise household keeps a reserve of at least dry goods in the winter? Why anticipate when each day is enough and has its own unique challenges?
But they got it right today. The snow came in hard with a storm wind last night and it looks like it’s planning to stick around.
I sent my envoy out with a camera, having made a wise decision that the best place for me was safely indoors where the temperature at least promised to climb above ten degrees.
It’s funny how snow completely changes the world; it becomes an enticing, magical place once those flimsy flakes settle and cover and it definitely brings out the child in many. (There is currently a group of twenty-year-old (at least) lads loitering outside their building who have nobly taken on the task of assaulting every vehicle and pedestrian that goes passed with snowballs). But it is the stillness, the quiet that makes a snow day a very different day from the mundane. It is as if the world has held its breath, wondering and waiting.