The New England Climate
( Originally Published 1919 )
New England has as glorious a climate as any region in the world. "What is so rare as a day in June" was of course written of the New England climate. ' It has inspired tributes from orators, humorists, poets, pessimists.
One of the famous products of New England is its weather, and it's never out of mind. There is no monotony about it. It is a constant stimulus, not only to conversation, but to the boundless energy of the New Englander. It keeps the thermometer on the jump. The mercury has more ups and downs than Wall Street. It undergoes more vertical vicissitudes than the lifts of all the sky-scrapers. But in the coldest weather, mere mercury hibernates in the bulb. Then, only alcohol stays on the job. Again, on a summer day Boston thermometers will aspire to Chicago levels until a `seaturn' and then the east wind sends the silver thread scuttling.
The New England climate is a serious matter. It has an economic value. It helps the Ice Trust. In winter the rivers and ponds are sawed up and huge sky-blue hunks stored away in great ice-houses which have a curious propensity to burn down. If the ice does not burn up it later tinkles in the festive cocktail, freezes well-flavored cream, enriches the Trust, and provides occupation in- the gentle art of trust-busting for young U.S. Assistant District Attorneys.
The summer climate of seashore and mountains with a little ad-mixture of view and garden truck is marketed to an ever-increasing horde of summer boarders.
There used to be a course at Harvard on `Appreciation of the Weather Report.' Most probably it is still running. The University evidently felt that the callow undergraduates from the South and West needed some preparation for a thorough appreciation of the blessings to which they were being subjected.
Halliday Witherspoon works off his grouches on the weather. In one of his fits of depression he wrote:—" Somebody has said that if America had been discovered on the west coast that New England would still be a howling wilderness. I believe it. And nobody but the Pilgrim Fathers would have stuck as it was. . . So it happened that the `Mayflower' brought exactly the right sort of people. I figure that our early settlers had kind of soured on themselves and maybe 'rather liked New England weather than not."
One thing is certain: the stranger meeting New England weather for the first time will be sure to recognize it: it cannot be mistaken for anything else.
New England weather is like a fascinating woman. Its very caprice makes it fascinating. Then why complain about it? Remember the old proverb,—"Talk of weather is the discourse of fools." Yet that old bear, Dr. Samuel Johnson, declared that when-ever two Englishmen met, their conversation was first and always on the weather.