Here, We Talk About the Weather by Louella Lester

Now. Temperature hovering at 0°C (32°F). Top up your windshield washer fluid. Freezing rain. Record number of car accidents reported. Stay home if you don’t have to go out. Nine car pileup.

Now. Temperatures drops below normal. Cold as Mars. High today -30°C (-22°F). With windchill feels like -45°C (-49°F). Frostbite. Exposed skin freezes in three minutes. Balaclava. Scarf. Shivers. Down parka. Numb toes. Fleece-lined boots. Layers. Layers. Layers. Children walking like zombies, unable to put arms down at their sides. Cold enough for you? Crunch. Crunch. Crunch on the packed snow. At least it’s a dry cold. Not enough shelter beds for homeless.

Now. Record snowfall. Shovel. Shovel. Shovel. Emergency rooms reporting record number of heart attacks.

Now. Snow has stopped. High winds cause blowing snow. Poor visibility. Blizzard. Snow day. Whiteout conditions. Roads closed. Man’s car found. Man missing. Hypothermia. Man found in field.

Now. Warming trend. Up and down. Heavy rains combined with record snowfall melt. Flooding downstream. Coming our way. Flood plain. Wet enough for you? Rivers spilling over banks. Emergency. Sandbags. Ring dikes. Washed-out bridges. Rain. Rain. Rain. Go away. Water rising around still frozen culverts. Overland flooding. Canoeing across pasture land. Emergency. Prime Minister surveys damage from plane. The worst is over.

Now. We have two seasons, ha, ha, winter and construction, ha, ha. Street construction in a city built on clay. Honk. Traffic jams. Honk. What’s a zipper merge? Honk.

Now. Temperatures go up. Rise. Rise. Rise. Shorts. Tank tops. Sandals. +35°C (+95°F) for days. Check on elderly with no air conditioning. Lobbies in government buildings, libraries, and churches open for those who need a cool spot. Sweat. Sweat. Sweat. Hot enough for you? Spray pads. Wading pools. Borrow your sister’s kid so you can get in. Drought. Record breaking number of days with no rain. Drought. Drought. Strain on city trees already stressed by disease and cankerworms. Not enough shade. If we don’t have rain in the next few days farm crops will be devastated. Campground fires banned. Thunderstorms. Lightening fires. Grass fires. Forest fires. Towns burning. People from northern areas evacuated south. Prime Minister surveys damage from plane. The worst is over.

Now. Tornado warnings. Tornadoes touch down. Barn gone. House safe. House gone. Barn safe. Prime Minister surveys damage from plane. The worst is over.

Now. Temperatures cool. Steady rain. Early cold snap. Ice. Ice. Iced trees fall on cars and rooftops. Iced power lines sag and pull down poles while towers crumple. Out. Power. Outages. Power. Out.

Louella Lester is a writer and photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her Flash-CNF book is Glass Bricks (At Bay Press, April 2021). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of journals and anthologies, including: MacQueen’s Quinterly, Litro, Five Minutes, The Drabble, SoFloPoJo, Daily Drunk, Dribble Drabble, Grey Sparrow Journal, New Flash Fiction Review, and Reflex Fiction.

country road on a windy, wintry day
Photography by Louella Lester.
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