Thursday, January 25, 2007

Winter at last!

A couple of nights of temperatures well below 0° kicked off winter weather - I love cold, clear days! Walking was wonderful: breathing the clear air, stepping on crunchy frozen puddles, sunlight in my eyes. This morning we woke up to snow, not the extreme snowfalls that southern Germany experienced, just a sifting of powdered sugar that adorns trees and houses. We had no more severe incommodation than stepping or driving a bit more slowly and carefully early in the morning.

Friday, January 19, 2007


The German language has an interesting word that can be used for inclement weather - "Unwetter": literally, "unweather". Now, I don't know its etymological background; one could, I suppose, argue the fact that the prefix would suggest the opposite of weather to be no weather at all! However, I assume that it intends to show the negative of weather, at least of "good" weather.

At any rate, the storm that has had such devastating effects not only on Germany, but much of Europe, is certainly a prime example of an "unweather". Many people died (at least 10 in Germany, and one of those deaths was local, a rare occurrence), others were injured, and thousands were inconvenienced by the total stop of train traffic (usually a fairly reliable way to travel here) and the delay of plane landings and starts. Roads were blocked for hours to clear away fallen trees - some still are today - and countless roofs are in need of minor or major repair.

Of course we're thankful to be spared, but who can ignore the suffering of those who weren't?

Natural forces in such extremes are fearsome. I haven't had to cope with masses of water inexorably flooding an area, nor with the terror of an uncontrolled fire, and I'm sure that an avalanche, whether earth or snow, must be horrible to experience. But sitting alone in an apartment in Florida last year while a tropical storm developed, and feeling the wind pushing on windows here yesterday scared me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year! Frohes Neues Jahr!

May the sun shine upon you this year, may the stars brighten your nights, and may there be just enough clouds to make beautiful sunsets!

Möge die Sonne auf Dich scheinen in diesem Jahr, mögen die Sterne Deine Nächte erhellen, and mögen gerade so viele Wolken sein, um schöne Sonnenuntergänge zu machen!

(picture: 'Milkie Way Dreaming', an aboriginal dot painting I bought in Australia)