This time of year, one tends to wonder what the season will bring. Will the winter be severe? Mild? Will this dreary cold linger for long?

Forecasters measure and calculate. While media personalities steal scientific names to sensationalize “polar vortex” observations, scientists more closely watch conditions that form only a few times each decade. This year, they’re still waiting to see if one brewing condition fully develops. It’s named El Niño, which can be loosely translated into “the male child,” … fitting for its arrival near Christmas.

El Niño

Fundamentally, it starts with a deep layer of very warm ocean water in the Pacific. But, because our weather is effected by the ocean’s interaction with the atmosphere, a host of other conditions are measured before an El Niño is called. For us in Pennsylvania, El Niño has brought us fewer hurricanes and less winter precipitation in the past. Still, much depends on whether or not the male child appears. Today’s likelihood prediction stands at 67%.

What kind of weather do you hope for?


  1. The curious hallmark of Earth’s movement closer to the Sun that is Winter’s wind-whipped cold and dreary gray lengthening days strikes me as an anomaly that is not just counter-intuitive, but also down right illogical.
    I find myself in these last days of Fall when the Solar calendar counts down by days instead of weeks looking at Winter’s checklist of scratched out, still to do, and circled as “maybe next year” projects remembering the fallen with misting eye and heart plying “I always thought I’d see you one more time again” from my mind.
    Then a look or a venture outside. In the wind-stroked brilliance of the occasional Sun, I recall, “O wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind.” In that moment, I pray for Spring’s mild touch within the cold’s briskness and that, in the beauty of snow’s precisely detailed outlines, Spring’s gentleness secures safe travel for all.

      1. The contradiction only holds true for the Northern Hemisphere.

        Yet, I’ve always found the visual imagery of the Earth’s elliptical orbit combined the acknowledgement of the impact of Earth’s mass in defining our seasons fascinating.
        As strains of Auld Lang Syne chase The Christmas Song’s roasting chestnuts from the airways, Janus dominates the Solstice causing everyone to look back over the past year with emotionally moderated reflections and, at the same time, to look forward to the New Year with resolution and hope.

        So also do I.

        I also see the now.

        I see in the boughs and the wreaths and the candles and the dreidel games and hear in the laughter and in the songs and understand that within the child/children focus a catharsis has been muttering up to and through that long dark gestation of the Solstice. A gestation without which the gift of Hope for the New Year could not win free of Pandora’s box-filled “never again”, “I miss him/her so much”, “I wish I had”, “wasn’t that a great ______”, “we should____”, “etc” last gasp wheezings from the dying year.

        You are kind to call my words poetic.
        I know them only as musings borne in the interstices of a hectic time when contemplation fit into the space of a commute or piggybacked on the lyrics of a song brokenly repeating a phrase over and over and over almost subliminally.

        Thank you for the space to set them free.

        Safe travels.
        May your New Year by healthy, prosperous and joyful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.