The Wind Howled
My father spent time in Amarillo during his early military training. Learning he would again be stationed here did not rank high on his bases of choice list. He remembered the wind, the dust, the heat, and the bitter cold, and he was not anxious to brave the elements a second time. Everything I’d been told about Amarillo’s climate is true. It can be sunny and cloudless, and in a matter of hours, the temperature drops and a freezing rain falls.
Weather plays an important role in our lives. Folks spend their summers in the north but winter in Arizona or Florida. We plan vacation time around the seasons. For those of us in the Panhandle, commitments are often tempered with “weather permitting.” We use Daylight Savings Time to prolong warm, summer days so that we can enjoy the outdoors. Don’t you just love those fall foliage tours?
The weather has its place in our writing. “The sky wept as the mourners gathered around the grave,” enhances the somber setting. “Bright late spring sunlight filtered through the stained glass windows. The dance of colored lights clashed with hushed strains of the funeral dirge,” provides a contrast of the weather and the occasion. Howling winds often signal something frightening. Falling snow contrasts the warmth of a house or the desperation of the poor.
Are you looking for an antagonist for your story? Try weather. Did you see the movie The Day After Tomorrow? Dennis Quaid played a researcher who predicted an ice age in the future. Unfortunately, the future was now. With little time to prepare, the inhabitants of the library struggled to survive the deadly cold. As a writer, could you burn books to keep warm? Would you think to line your clothes with newspaper or pages from books to add insulation? Could you brave the elements to search a marooned ship for food and medicine? The non-human antagonist threw every imaginable curve at the survivors and I believed it.
A good writer uses every means at his disposal to craft the story. Since the weather is a primary topic of everyday conversation, why not employ it to enhance and define your story. Imagine the difference rain, snow, sleet, and the dead of night could make in your current work. Enjoy.