Friday, January 21, 2005


As a wimpy Kentucky native, the biting winds and bone-chilling cold of the Midwest still get to me. It is relatively warm right now (as far as Illinois in January goes), in the teens (Fahrenheit; sorry you metric weenies!), but any benefit of the warmth is cancelled out by the brutal winds. The problem with living in the plains is that once the air gets moving, there's nothing to stop it! I now understand why people would plant rows of trees in strategic locations to block the cold, winter winds.

We also get a lot of rapidly changing weather. For example, last Wednesday it was 62 degrees, but within 36 hours it was down to the teens. During that whole time, it rained four inches and snowed an inch on top of that.

According to the USDA climate chart, this part of Illinois is zone 5, while Lexington, where I grew up, is zone 6. It seems like it is consistently about 5 degrees cooler here than in Lexington. And that makes for a really pleasant summer. There are only a couple of weeks where it is significantly more comfortable to run the air conditioner. Otherwise, we usually leave our windows open and enjoy the breeze.

Another thing I sometimes worry about is the fact that Illinois is so flat, and it rains so much. Eventually, it seems like it would flood, since there's not much of a downhill direction for the water to flow. But another difference between Illinois and Kentucky is that the soil here is very absorbent, so most of the water just soaks in. With that four inches of rain last week, some communities did experience flooding, but we had no problems at our house.

I am looking forward to spring, which, as Laura rightly pointed out, is like a reward for enduring the winter. Spring is undoubtedly my favorite season. Every week, something new blooms, and every week, I am convinced that this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. But it's going to be over two more months before that starts.

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