Southern Weather

Chris and I are wrapping up our week with family here in Tennessee, but before I get back to the blog on Thursday, I wanted to invite Chris over to share a story of his, which is quite fitting to our time away right now. He’s such an incredible writer and I’m honored to have him as a part of Of Trees and Hues. :)

Whisky & Tinder on Of Trees and Hues

My wife and I moved to California in the dead of summer. From Memphis, we chugged along rural highways, through the cascading hills of middle America in a sweltering heat that was unfit for even Hell itself. The pavement beneath us cracked and splintered for thousands of miles, and we baked like cobbler. The unrelenting heat stalked us through the Ozarks and the flatlands of Kansas. When we hit the still snow-capped Rockies, I hoped we had a moment of reprieve. The next day, however, I found myself leaving Denver with the worst sunburn of my life.

But after passing through Colorado, we started to experience a drastic shift in what summer could be. Mild winds, clear skies, dry heat. Nearly ten years in the sweltering South had made me forget that a July afternoon could be anything aside from miserable.

For the next six months, the California sky stayed blue, like it was a serene piece of the Pacific that loomed overhead. No clouds. No ripples. No waves.

After a while, I started to doubt the reality of it. How could there be no clouds for months at a time? I wanted rain and snow, thunder and lightning. While growing up in Oklahoma, I got accustomed to having tornado sirens on every street corner and snowstorms during spring break. In Memphis, checking the weather once a day isn’t enough because it’s as fickle as a politician who is up for reelection.

Now, years later, I find myself missing the luxury of a rain cloud.

As teenagers, my younger brother and I lived next to a crowded children’s park. Laughter and hide-and-seek would echo well into dusk each day. But when it rained, the patter of little feet and hands disappeared, replaced by the din of deluge and the crash of thunder. We would take to the empty slides and swings, absorbing the nourishing downpour.

Soaked to the bone and exhausted, we would watch lightning in wonder as it danced across the gray-black sky before heading home. Those tiny adventures tempered our bond, turning brothers into friends.

On those rare California nights when clouds loom overhead, I long for even a single flash of lightning to make me feel young again.

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13 comments on “Southern Weather”

  1. Wow – you were not lying when you said he’s a terrific writer! I literally felt those feelings he was describing, right there in the moment. If that’s not a sign of a fabulous writer, then I do not know what is. :)

    • Latrina says:

      Thank you so much, Sarah. :) So very kind of you! I tell you — I definitely feel a bit lucky to have snatched him up when I did. ;)

  2. Diana says:

    This made me miss living back east and its weather so much! California is wonderful for its “perfect” weather, but sometimes I just want a giant thunderstorm to crash through! Gorgeous post and writing :)

    • Latrina says:

      Oh man. I am glad I’m not the only one! I am just aching for a good rainstorm… after this crazy 108 degree weather, I am REALLY needing one, haha.

  3. Emily says:

    Wow, Chris! This was such a beautifully written post.. my breath was literally taken away reading it. I love how a simple act of nature can bring in a rush of memories.. I visited California for the first time a few weeks ago and I’ve got to say, you seriously have some perfect weather! Now that I’m back home on the East Coast, helloooo humidity!

    • Latrina says:

      Hehe, the humidity is definitely something I don’t miss about the Midsouth. :P

      So happy you were able to explore California, Emily! Glad you enjoyed yourself. :D

  4. Tori says:

    Looks like you aren’t the only one happy to have Chris pay a visit! This was a wonderfully-written post, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to hear his story. Both hop over here, pronto, and I can offer you both a grey sky, or two, and bucket loads of rain ;)

  5. Sarah Rose says:

    This is seriously one of the reservations we have whenever we consider moving to Cali. Raised in Seattle, then to Utah, I think I’d miss the seasons quite a bit!

    Thanks for sharing it so eloquently, Chris!

    • Latrina says:

      Utah is absolutely gorgeous. Anxiously waiting the next trip out there, so stunning… the colors! xo

      We definitely a little bit of each seasons here, however the rainy days definitely lack a bit of… well, severity. I’m tired of the sprinkling. :P

  6. Christopher says:

    Thank you all for the kind words!

    Weather is something that isn’t as important to us now as it used to be to some of our ancestors. For my grandmother’s family, who used to farm quite a bit, the changing of the seasons and the occasional dry spells sort of defined their lives in many ways. However, for me, it still has a sort of heft, albeit on a much more intangible and personal level.

    We were lucky enough to visit Tennessee during some unseasonably stormy weather. Under covered porches, we lounged and conversed and laughed, full of joy, as the clouds came crashing down around us. It helped make our visit a little more cozy.

  7. alice-jane says:

    I love going to California and experiencing the dry heat. It’s definitely a nice escape from the humid summers on the East Coast (or pretty much everywhere else) but eventually, I want bad weather. It makes me appreciate the good days so much more.

    • Latrina says:

      I totally agree with that, Alice! Definitely does make you appreciate those nice and sunny day. :)

      Is it weird that I even miss a good tornado storm? I mean, the ones that don’t really do damage… just scare you a bit, knocks off the power and makes you sit in the floor playing card games by candlelight. Maybe I’m just odd. ;)

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