A few of you may know that for thirty-two hours a week, I work at our town’s senior center. My employment continues to school me in the kind of wisdom gained via experience. In this regard, Friday I had a conversation with one of our van drivers, a man in his early seventies. I whined, I suppose, about the storm that’s predicted to sweep up the east coast in the next few days and pummel us with late-season snow.
“You may not know this,” he said. “But the old timers, the old-salt Yankees who predicted the weather by the almanac, or the feeling in their bones, had a name for the kind of storm that comes up the coast this time of year. It’s called a line storm.”
“Really? I never heard that term before.”
“It’s one of those storms that will melt in about three days. They say you have to have one before the seasons can change.”
The idea resonated with me. I had this picture of a grey-bearded farmer watching the horizon, knowing, sans the Internet, or a weather report, or the newspaper, or anything other than having lived a lifetime in which such storms occurred, that they herald the real end of winter.
As for me, well, I Googled. According to Merriam Webster, a line storm is an “equinoctial storm,” and a long time ago, back when folks still predicted weather by the shape of the clouds and the ache in their knees, Robert Frost wrote a love poem called A Line-storm Song. If you are so inclined, you can that find here.
Let's hope this new found knowledge keeps me warm on Wednesday, when I’m shoveling it.