Conventioneers and meteorologists (updated from 2012)

Dunedin, Fl, Tampa area.

As I sit upon the precipice of the official end of summer (in Florida, summer is everlasting) and the start of school, I ponder if Tropical Storm Isaac will be spending the final days of August making waves and kicking the sand of Florida beaches.

Watching TV news stories on how Tampa’s hosting of the 2012 Republican National Convention (Aug. 27-30) will boost the area’s economy is good news indeed. It’s encouraging to know that ideological differences aside, all of us can play a part in boosting the economy.

The past few days news crews, convention visitors and extra workers were trickling into Tampa. More will arrive this weekend. Most notably, crews of meteorologists are setting up shop. The Weather Channel has mobilized crews in Haiti, Cuba, the Florida Keys and Tampa to cover Isaac. For the 50,000 non-Floridians expected in Tampa next week who are not hurricane savvy, take note, if you see Jim Cantore there, head inland. Cantore is known for his courageous hurricane coverage.

Right now, it is a sunny, very hot, but calm summer day. As I sip my Perrier by the sparkling pool, I give thanks for moments like this and pray for calm in the days ahead.

Photo: Copyright 1978-2013 David George

Debby, don’t let the door hit you … on the way out

Debby is finally on her way out. She has weakened from a Tropical Storm to a Tropical Depression. Depressed is exactly how she is leaving many Florida residents and guests after lingering off Florida’s west coast since the weekend, spawning flash floods and tornadoes.

In Orlando, the amusement parks were less crowded. That might have been a plus for some visitors. There was even a report that one of the water parks at the Walt Disney World Resort closed temporarily. On the beaches, rain slickers replaced swim suits as de rigueur attire.

A sign outside a church in the Jacksonville area captured the sentiment of many: “If you prayed for rain, you can stop now.”

Debby reminds me of those house guests who have such a  good time, they don’t want to leave. Finally, she’s getting a clue.  She’s leaving, but she is in no hurry. She is crossing land but it may take her until Saturday to reach the Atlantic.

Although my first memories of summer 2012 are of relentless rain and winds ripping through my screen enclosure, I have hope that summer, as I know it, is on the horizon.

Debby: Tropical Storm

National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL, Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook, June 25, 2012, 2 a.m. (EDT)

I live in sunny Florida. Hmm. Let me rephrase that. I live in gray, wet and windy Florida. At present, Tropical Storm Debby is causing nearly perpetual rain and gusts of wind that make me think her status is greater than “tropical storm.”

Apparently, Mother Nature did not get the brochures with the invitation to play and stay in the Florida sun, a location that offers summer year round. So much for truth in advertising.

Summer began with a vengeance in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States bringing record-breaking heat. Oh, and lots of sun.

Debby seems to have taken those brochures to heart, especially “play and stay,” as she remains nearly stationary off the west coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. I understand the attraction, really I do. I enjoyed living on the west coast of Florida, in Clearwater Beach,  where the Gulf of Mexico was my backyard. The job, however, called me elsewhere.

The website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated about Debby early morning June 25, “She is expected to slowly meander over the next day or so.” Meander? Really, the next day or so?

Debby, I think it’s time to dissipate. Take your threats of tornadoes, heavy rains and flooding with you. Let the sun shine. “Let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in. …”



Midsummer’s Day

© Eros Erika

Tropical storms are developing in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening tornadic activity in southwest Florida. Disregarding the weather forecast, I have determined that Midsummer’s Day (June 24) will be sunny. In spirit, I will celebrate with my friends outside of the United States who have started reveling with feasting, bonfires and dancing on Midsummer’s Eve.

According to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” for the farmer, it is “The midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting, and an occasion for celebration.”

I realize the days will become shorter — not noticeable at first. But it is the cycle of life. The sun, obscured by clouds right now, is my visual metaphor this week. Sometimes it is hard to realize the sun is shining.

There are two daughters this week, I’ve learned, whose mothers are very ill. Their mothers’ treatments seemed to be working and the families were looking forward to the start of summer — early morning, soft summer sun poolside, maybe surfside. There would be summer plays, concerts and days filled with activity and laughter.

Not this week.

I feel the warmth of the sun. Even if I don’t always see it, I know it is there. I will dance in spirit this Midsummer’s Day. I know there are bright, sun-filled days ahead. I have faith.

I am grateful for this midpoint in the growing season; it is a marker of the harvest to come.


Summer Solstice

Pending Solstice at Sun Tunnels by A Hinckley

In North America the summer solstice begins on June 20, 2012, at 7:09 p.m. (EDT), according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.” 

To ancient civilizations, the sun seemed to stand still in the sky — making the longest day of the year. I will delight in the bath of sun the summer solstice brings. Officially now, it is the start of summer.

I feel this cycle of nature and will celebrate it, flow with it. To me, summer is a time of growth. The seeds that were planted and started to bud in the spring are now blossoming, ripening, reaching for the sky. I will honor this time — the start of summer — and reconnect with the sky and the wonders in the heavens.

A soft rain is falling now. Somewhere, I know, the sun is shining brightly. Today, I feel it in my soul. I hope tomorrow’s sky will be bright. I look forward to slathering myself in sunscreen, turning off my computer and going out to soak up a little vitamin D.