Mr. Ratburn’s class was doing a special unit on weather. It was mid October at that crucial time where the weather could do anything in Elwood City. Seasons were definitely changing, so some days were more like summer, others like fall, and there were a few in the forecast that were most like winter. In order to show his students the mechanics behind weather, he needed to ease them into it, so he chose to do a seasons poster.
“Alright class, settle down,” Mr. Ratburn said, quieting the room with just a look, “Today we’re going to do an art project for our new science unit on weather. Each of you will find the supplies you need in the center of your desks. You are each to choose one season with each person at your table doing a different season. For example, at this table, Alan could choose summer, Maria fall, George winter, and Jenna spring. Do you understand?”
The class nodded and got started. At the back of the room, Ladonna’s table needed to pick seasons.
Muffy grabbed up a pack of markers almost viciously, “I have to do spring. It’s my favorite season ever and I just have to cover it.”
“Okay,” Binky nodded, grabbing a box of crayons, “I don’t care what I do as long as it isn’t winter. I can’t draw anything winter.”
“Why don’t you do summer then? I can do winter,” Ladonna offered. Binky agreed, leaving Alex with fall. He grabbed the other box of markers and started drawing different colored leaves on his poster. Across the table Muffy was doing the same with flowers.
Ladonna watched her classmates as she used a pencil to sketch out things she knew from winter. Hot chocolate was definitely there, complete with some mini marshmallows. She sketched some trees without any leaves, then she colored it in with a brown colored pencil. She used the others to draw some faded green grass and some exposed rocks and dirt, then she colored in her hot chocolate mug and the white fluffy marshmallows, which she glued some cotton balls onto for extra fluff.
“Ladonna, which season do you have?” Mr. Ratburn inquired as he looked over the table.
“Winter,” she replied, pointing to her hot chocolate, “That’s my favorite thing about winter, the hot chocolate, especially the peppermint hot chocolate people have.”
“Are you going to include any snow?” he asked.
“No,” she replied. As if on command, the class went silent. “When I think of winter, I don’t really picture snow. I see trees with no leaves and everything is sorta washed out, but I don’t think of snow. I’d never seen it before until I came here.”
“How did you never see snow?!” Muffy exclaimed, “We get like a foot a year!”
“Oh no, last year we got TWO feet,” Binky corrected her, thus starting an argument around the room about how much snow Elwood City got per year, and where in the world didn’t get snow in winter?
Mr. Ratburn finally got the class’s attention and they quieted, “Alright, Ladonna, I don’t want to put you on the spot on purpose, but you bring a valuable lesson to this discussion. Will you go to the map and show everyone your home state again?”
Ladonna nervously obeyed. She walked slowly to the front of the room with all eyes on her. She waited patiently at the end of Mr. Ratburn’s desk for him to pull down the map. When he handed her a yard stick, she pointed to her exact home town.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Buster asked.
Mr. Ratburn smiled, “I’m glad you asked. Ladonna, what’s all the blue south of Louisiana?”
“The Gulf of Mexico,” she replied.
Mr. Ratburn nodded, “Yes, and what’s west of Louisiana? You can be very broad with your answer.”
“Well, there’s a lot of desert land in Texas. They tend to get some snow though, at least according to my daddy,” Ladonna replied.
“But there are warm areas in Texas during the winter?”
“Tons. Sometimes we’d even drive down to Galveston to the beaches there. We got in the water and everything,” Ladonna smiled.
Muffy gasped, “In winter? How did you not freeze?!”
“Because Louisiana is closer to the equator, which is here,” Mr. Ratburn said, using another yard stick to point to a line on the map. “Also, they are close to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as these warmer areas here. What’s west of the deserts of the West?”
“What?” Binky asked.
“What’s all the blue stuff there?” Ladonna translated with a grin.
“The Pacific Ocean,” Brain answered.
Mr. Ratburn nodded, “Between these effects, there are parts of our country that rarely see snow. In fact, if the Rocky Mountains weren’t so tall, the warm air and waters of the Pacific would only give them rain. Sometimes things happen to cool places down and they get snow, such as in Texas, but these warmer areas often keep places like Louisiana too warm for snow.”
“But it is colder, isn’t it?” Fern asked meekly.
Ladonna nodded, “We’d need jackets because we weren’t used to sixties after months of nineties, but it wasn’t so bad. It was nice actually, except the bugs were still out. Daddy used to hope for a cold snap to kill off all the nasty critters.”
“So what’s on her poster then?” Arthur asked.
“Well she has to finish it first,” Mr. Ratburn replied with a smile, “but I wanted to show you all something very important. Depending on where you are in the world, the weather can be very different. I’m sure if you think about it, there are times when it’s warmer or colder here than expected. Seasons are a catch-all for general weather patterns. For you all, winter means snow and summer means hot temperatures, but that isn’t always the case.
“Thank you for your help, Ladonna.”
She didn’t mind going up there now that she knew she wasn’t in trouble or anything, and it made it easier for her to finish her poster. She drew a long-sleeved shirt, but she made sure it was light to show how thin it was. She drew some logs for a fire, then she added a fire pit because she remembered doing bonfires at her uncle’s fire pit.
When her poster was finished, it was the only winter poster without any real snow, but she helped teach her classmates a valuable lesson: Weather was relative, and the only one in charge of it was Mother Nature.
Theme 18: Winter [Theme from my updated Infinite Theme List. You can find the list on my deviantArt account, link in my profile.]
One-shot 5/100 for 2017
A/N: So I’ve written this on February 13th. As some of you dig out from winter storms or burn to death in your Australian homes (I don’t know Celsius but 45 sounds like a lot…), I’m sitting here in a t-shirt with the windows open, no joke. Winter is relative for sure, and Georgia is a prime example. Instant update: Went for a post-writing snack and all the caramel melted out of my chocolate. First world problems, am I right? Now I better quit typing and go wash my hands…when I’m done licking the wrapper like a happy animal;)
Some of the specifics about my local weather:
Our average winter temp is pretty mild compared to others here. I can expect 50’s for highs and 30’s for lows, though we usually have a lot of days mixed in with 40’s for highs and 20’s/teens for lows. This year has been super mild. We’ve had weeks with 70’s for highs and lows in the 50’s. This is great for people like me who absolutely hate the cold and don’t want snow because of my work.
This is not great for storms. Recently tornadoes pounded the South, again, and several people were killed in my state as they ripped through. Yet again we’ve discovered tornado damage in my area (thankfully 40 minutes south by highway instead of 10 minutes into town), and we’ve had several tense days as we wait to see what’ll happen. About the only good to come of this is our new dog, Penny, whose owner died in the Albany, GA tornado. She’s not our old dog but I’m glad we could give her a new home.
Anyway, the South is an excellent place to see where all 4 seasons combine into this hodgepodge of insanity, and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.
Follow up question: What’s the weather like where you live? How many seasons do you have? Please define anything too different (i.e. monsoons and other terms).