Thursday, December 22, 2005

I'm an Ontario boy by birth, and an islander by choice. I've lived out here on the west coast for ten Christmases now, and I've spent four of those on this island. In Ontario, my favourite time of year is the fall. Starting in October, the leaves begin to turn, and the air grows crisp and clear, the November rain come, cold and sometimes choosing to fall as snow and then December rolls in, less windy and wet, and the frost settles in and the snow starts to accumulate. Sometimes the cold snaps arrive too and the air grows dry and everything grows brittle and frosty. In my genes, that is what Christmas weather feels like.

So today, i have to say that I'm no in the Christmas spirit much. My soul is really tied to the weather, and right now that weather is blowing a classic Pineapple Express. We are in a heavy rainfall warning expecting about another 35 mm of rain on top of the 30mm that has already fallen. The winds are gusting to 70kms, which they hit last night a couple of times and the air is warm - 8 degrees at the moment. I was chopping wood in my shirt sleeves this morning which is as improbable a state of affairs as you can imagine.

If you have a peek at the weather map you'll see that the cause of all this is a series of lows out in the north Pacific. Three lows are lined up in a triangle. with one south of us and one way offshore. This is pushing the jetsream further south and as a result, it is picking up warm wet air from the tropics and delivering it on the west coast. Pineapple Express systems are characterized by a "tap" that streams moisture onto the coast beneath the jet stream. That tap is lying a little south of us at the moment, across southern Oregon and northern California, but even though we are dryer than we could be (avoiding 100mm rainfalls), the winds are relentless and the air is warm and the snow is gone from the mountains.

We've had some great weather this fall, with fog, cold, sun and snow and now this, on the first day of winter. It doesn't make me feel very Christmasy, but I'm in awe of this weather even still, of the last power and the wildness of it. My spirit says I should be in line with the season, but the wind and rain battering my house calls me to rest in the storm instead.