The folks around Dustbury charged with the task of attracting tourists make much of the area's "four-season climate", by which is meant that you can always tell which season it is, something not true of places like, say, Bora Bora or San Diego. What they don't say is that all four of those seasons are distinctly uncomfortable: in the winter, arctic air comes rushing down from Manitoba in a desperate attempt to get to Texas; in the summer, just enough of the Gulf of Mexico remains trapped in the atmosphere to make you think you'd died and gone to Guatemala; in the spring and the fall, it's raining, with "a chance of thunderstorms, some possibly severe," just the sort of phrase you'd expect out of a laconic resident of Tornado Alley.

The meteorologists will tell you that since Oklahoma is more or less in the middle of all this hemisphere's atmospheric phenomena, just about anything you can imagine seeing on a Weather Channel feature video can happen here, with the possible exception of tsunami.

Of course, with all those variables, occasionally a really nice day sneaks through, and so far October has been downright wonderful — temperatures in the 50s (Fahrenheit) at night, 70s during the day, not too much wind, and humidity in the Not Horrible range. This pattern shows up maybe twice a year, the other time being in middle-to-late April, and it occurs to me, 107 years after the fact, that this must be why when they opened up the native lands to white settlement back in 1889, the notorious Oklahoma Land Run, they scheduled the event for the twenty-second of April; if they'd had it around Christmas, or on the Fourth of July, nobody would have showed up at the starting line.

The Vent

14 October 1996

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 Copyright © 1996 by Charles G. Hill