Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shipwrecks and Skies

I couldn’t sleep last night so I picked up my book and began to read. I found it a little spooky that here I was, just after midnight on November 1, beginning a chapter that was subtitled “The Gales of November”. It is part of Chapter 7 of Jerry Dennis’s book, The Living Great Lakes. Dennis is a wonderful writer and in this book, he primarily tells about a trip he took through the Great Lakes on a sailboat, but weaves many other stories about the Lakes into the volume as well. He does indeed bring the lakes alive with his excellent storytelling and vivid descriptions.

This morning when I took our dog out for his morning walk, although the clock said 9 AM, my body felt like it was later. I guess even though I hadn’t gotten to sleep until well after 2 AM, the change to standard time was in my favor and I woke up refreshed. But it was still quiet outside and except for a few other walkers, Burlee and I had the marina pretty much to ourselves.

I snapped a few pictures of the emptying marina. Most of the boats are out of the water and by next week, even more will be gone. The geese are probably happy as they now have the water to themselves. As I was walking, I noticed that the sun, which had been shining earlier in the morning, was already waning and clouds were coming in from the southwest. So much for a sunny beginning to November. But it reminded me of something I had read last night in Dennis’s book that had to do with November, changing weather, and ships. I will quote the beginning of Chapter 7:

November is the deadliest month. Ask any sailor. It’s when the lakes still embrace some of the summer’s heat, but the air above has turned to winter. A meteorologist for the National Weather Service once calculated that on average the greatest difference between the temperature of the lakes and the temperature of the air above them occurs on November 10. That differential causes the remaining warmth in the lakes to be sucked into the air, releasing energy and creating wind.

Dennis goes on the tell of huge number of ships that have sunk in the Great Lakes on or around November 10 – the most famous but by far not the only one being the Edmund Fitzgerald. So it is a good thing that all those boats are coming out of the water. I wouldn’t want there to be a local version of The Tempest (remember that Shakespearean shipwreck tale?).

Fortunately the winds of November did not come a night early and Halloween here in Kenosha was clear and dry. The night before I took this picture of the sky from my balcony. It seemed that the sky was turning orange in preparation of the Halloween.

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