The end of October this year was weather-strange.

On the 29th I embraced the warm weather, enjoying my garden. Marigolds were raging with color and the Morning Glory was blooming in abundance. Purples and blues traveled among heart-shaped leaves up my front railing. October had been so nice even our rosebush decided to bloom a third round of lovely pink blossoms.

On this morning I picked a whole bowl of tomatoes – some red, most were green. The shiny, round green ones would ripen in a paper bag. They found a perfect place to sprout – the corner of the compost. Tomatoes didn’t do well in the garden this year, but one tomato plant found a place to thrive late in the season and we had more tomatoes in three weeks than we did all summer.

On this day, I had a different reason for bringing in so many tomatoes. The weather was about to turn with reportedly an inch of snow later that day.

Weather had already been strange this year. Record rainfalls, a hurricane and an earthquake on the east coast, all in one week. Record snowfalls and floods earlier in the year. Mother nature was behaving a little strange. What else would she do?

And then the snow hit.

I was in a department store at 1pm on the same Saturday. We’d been there about 30 minutes and seen a couple flakes of snow. We ran into a friend who looked concerned about the snow. I mentioned, “an inch of snow will disappear by tomorrow. We’ll hardly notice it.” They looked at me a bit funny. I didn’t know why until I stepped outside with my children.

Half an inch had landed while we were in the store.

It seemed we’d get more than an inch. The snow wasn’t supposed to start until that evening.

Back at our house we were watching the snow fall heavily. Paul and I knocked the first layer of snow from the evergreens. We didn’t want to lose the branches to this wet, heavy snow.

An hour later we went out again to knock the snow off both evergreens and other trees. Because of the warm October weather their leaves hadn’t yet fallen. The bright green and orange leaves were holding onto the snow.

The third time we went out to save our trees was shortly after the power went out. It was 3pm, and we started to see 10 – 15 foot long branches fall from the 80 foot trees in our backyard. The accumulation was heavier than even Vancouver snow can get, and these trees couldn’t release it through their leaf-filled branches. The limbs started to break under the weight.

Paul said, “We can’t stay out here near the trees. Let’s go inside.” We went back in to gather our flashlights and blankets, knowing the power would be out for a while.

Lucky for us, our neighbors had invited us and a few others over for dinner. They ordered hot deli trays from the local Italian restaurant, using sternos to keep the food warm.

We left for their house with a lantern, flashlights and glow sticks. Our back yard was littered with large limbs. We were grateful that big trees were away from the houses.

At the neighbors’ house, we carried on having fun as if we always ate by candlelight.

In fact we had so much fun we hardly noticed the weather outside. Our kids enjoyed the snow, awayfrom the trees, and then played flashlight tag in the basement.

We slept well that night, and gathered wool and down blankets onto our beds for the following night.

All Sunday we stayed home, off the streets, away from the trees. The snow stayed with us, capping at about 12 inches in our area.

Our power returned at midnight heading into Monday morning. We got lucky. As of Thursday some people in our community still didn’t have power, but the community center was open for them. The local Walgreens charged cell phones for customers without power. Neighbors shared resources. Our children stayed home from school for three days.

I felt a little strange for a week or two. A bit off-balance or out-of-sync. Perhaps it was the early snow-silence, coupled by the droning of the tree mulching trucks. They sounded like those evil machines on War of the Worlds.

We broke seven weather records that weekend.

I keep wondering about this strange weather. It isn’t normal.

But it is teaching us a few things. Neighbors and friends are learning to rely on each other. We look for the positive in order to create calm and stability for our children. We find adventure instead of stress whenever possible. And no school? Our children were overjoyed!

I wonder what next weather record will be broken? How about more sunshine in December? I would enjoy the warmth, sit in my morning-sun bay window and seeing colorful cut flowers to remind me of spring weather – or October strangeness.

What do you think of this weather? Is it affecting you positively or negatively? How do you respond to the surprises?

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