One of my favorites on this score has to do with the home fire. The hearth has always been a place to gather, even in warmer climes, but where it is cold out a fire was a lifeline. Not surprisingly then, many weather signals grew up around the hearth. As an example, in
Northern Europe it old wives say that, when you stoke an already burning fire for the first time before sundown, you should go outside and look at the smoke that emanates from your chimney. If it rises straight up, the current weather conditions will prevail. If it blows to one side or another, rain is in the offing. If the dark trail of smoke dips down below the chimney to touch the roof as it blows away, snow is a certainty. This sign is particularly consistent before the first snow of the winter, or so those wives would say.
At sea and in northern coastal areas, it is said that a lavender sky predicts snow. In particular, this oddly colored horizon is thought to denote the big, goose down type of snow we so often see in books and movies. I never believed this little tidbit until we moved to the Last Frontier. As it turns out its true, during the day at least. The usually gray winter sky will skew to a surreal sort of lavender and at some point the snow will arrive. If a wind kicks up as well, particularly one that moans through the trees, the snow will dance in those classic, dust devil flurries that make a body want to head home early. At that point, a fire and some hot chocolate are beyond optional.
Header: Landscape with Snow by Vincent van Gogh c 1888