Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lake Effect

One of the wondrous things about living in Cleveland is that there are two distinct sides - east and west. Everything is different about these two sides including the weather. The eastern suburbs, where I have lived all my life, are blessed with something we like to call "lake effect weather". Here is what happens: some sort of weather comes waltzing down from a northern state or country and dances its way across Lake Erie. While it is over the lake it gets thrown around like a chicken breast in a bag of Shake and Bake. Then the bag unceremoniously dumps its contents on the eastern suburbs, usually in what we like to call the Snow Belt. Here is a poem I wrote a few years back about such an event. If it's a warm sunny day where you are just get down on your knees and thank Someone.
It snowed all day on April 24, 2005
in spite of the fact that I was wearing
my flip-flops and would be doing so
straight through October, no matter what.
My feet literally free of
winter's ponderous burdens.
Easter was long gone and we
were wearing white again.
That day and the next
remains of daffodils did not peek
out of the snowdrifts with happy faces
reaching towards the sun
but were splattered and flattened into
soggy piles of mud and ice.
Hardwood boughs broke, pines and willows
were amputated of every appendage.
I saw the pink of magnolias in full bloom
fill the bed of a truck. The yellow forsythia
swooped to a ground view they had
never seen before.
Baby leaves were murdered and ripped
from their nourishing twigs.
Yards littered in wooden crisscrosses, like
giant toothpicks or as in a game of pick-up-sticks.
There was no electricity or school
as we waited for power lines
to be disentangled from leaning towers
and aberrant formations.
The next day is was 50 degrees and the melting music
of thumps and thuds and power saws played all day.
In a battle on the Northcoast
of Ohio, the trees lost.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Lake Michigan does a similar number on weather around here. We don't get much lake effect snow, but in spring, it's a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler where I live than it is inland.

74WIXYgrad said...

I work on the east side of Cleveland which means I drive through the secondary snow belt. At times that's no picnic either. I also remember the Indians opening series being snowed out two years ago.

Rule of thumb in these parts is you have to be flexible with your plans in April.

Poetikat said...

Sounds like our "flip-flop" weather here. It's pretty nice today and should be getting way up there on the weekend.

So many images in the piece were right there in front of my eyes:

"were amputated of every appendage"

"Baby leaves were murdered and ripped"

We're still playing "pick up sticks" here - haven't ventured out to clean up yet.



Diane said...

I too loved all of the images.... esp the pick up sticks one.

it got up nearly to 80 here yesterday!

Amy said...

Since living here I realize how happy I feel when we're blessed with warm, sunny days!


shhh..don't say it too loud, here in chicago lake effect..YUCK!


Cheryl said...

I'm trying to imagine what it looked like when all the snow was gone. How sad. It must have taken a season or two to recover.