I have a love-hate relationship with weather stories.
I love writing them. Compared with, say, court stories and exposes of societal issues, they give me a chance to be downright light-hearted, to have some fun with my prose. I get to use words like schlep, careen, benumbed and, if I’m really feeling wild, hyperborean.
I hate the fact that I simply never know whether what a meteorologist tells me will come true.
Remember Zoey the beagle from a previous column of mine? Whereas our black lab, Dexter, virtually never barks, Zoey presents herself as the ideal guard dog, even if she’s long in the tooth and most likely will roll over and ask for belly rubs, should someone actually invade our house.
Well, about 3:30 a.m., Zoey inexplicably sounded the alarm. It started as just a couple of barks, so I stopped at the bathroom on my way downstairs to check out what was up. While I was indisposed, she turned loose her howl. Awesome. Be right there. Keep sleeping, family. My apologies for answering nature’s call.
By the time I got downstairs, if she’d actually seen anything, it was long gone. It did, however, give me the chance to survey the landscape. We were supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of snow, and I’d not only written a story alerting the readership, but I’d also scheduled it to post on Facebook at 6 a.m., so folks could prepare for a precarious morning commute.
Maybe it was the fact that I’d been awakened from a dead sleep, but it didn’t look like we’d gotten much, so I fired up the laptop and canceled the post.
Sorry about that, if any of you set forth before 6:30 a.m. and had a rough, uninformed go of it. When I let the dogs out at 6:30 a.m., I learned we had, in fact, gotten at least an inch. So, I posted the story after all, devoured some breakfast and geared up to shovel.
As I cleared the snow, I thought about how silly it was that from 3:30 to 4:30 a.m., I couldn’t get back to sleep. Full disclosure, I usually wake up at 4:30 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep, but fortuitously, Wednesday morning I dozed off for about another hour, until the children invaded our bed.
It was silly because I can’t control the weather. I can’t control what meteorologists tell me.
I can control what stories we cover, where we put them in the paper and when. I can control what sort of visuals accompany those stories.
After that, I have to surrender to the universe, and let the chips fall where they may.
The overnight sequence is pretty funny in hindsight, but I think the lesson can apply to everyday life.
When’s the last time you were reminded to let go and let God, or let whatever higher power you put your trust in, handle matters? Let me know. I’d love to hear about it.
• Christopher Heimerman is news editor of the Daily Chronicle. Call him at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @CHeimermanDDC.