Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jeudi: Weather-Wise

Historically speaking, and probably to some degree even today, people who work on the sea and those who live near the coast have what inlanders call "superstitions" about weather.  As it turns out - even in today's age of hectic climate change - the rhymes and adages developed by our ancestors tend to be fairly accurate.

Memories of weather past, and the conditions that foretold it, were often passed down in the form of songs or poems.  This made them easy to remember, use and hand along to the next generation.  One of my favorite weather rhymes probably originated in fishing villages and other coastal areas along the Atlantic seaboard of what is now Great Britain.  To this day it holds up, whether you're living near an ocean, sea or large lake, and can even be helpful in flat, damp areas such as moors, marshes and bogs.  Here is the version I am familiar with:

The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low;
Last night the sun went pale to bed,
The moon in halo's hid her head.
Look out, good men, a wicked storm,
With heavy rain, is soon to form.

The glass mentioned in the rhyme refers to a ship's barometer.  And, as a curious aside, seafaring folk also believed that a halo around the moon could help predict how soon a storm would hit.  All one had to do was look at the number of stars visible in the halo; one star meant the storm was a day away, two stars meant two days away and so on.  Any exception to this rule might indicate that the storm had an unnatural origin and was a good indication of witches at work.  A votre santé ~ 

Header: Wuthering Heights by Robert McGinnis via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

I enjoy a good weather rhyme too. And I like the painting as well, Pauline.

Pauline said...

They make what to look for easy to remember.

I like the painting, too. Is that Kathy in search of Heathcliff? Or her ghost? Either way, it's windy out on the moors...