May 062013
 

 

Rainy outdor wedding

Seating with umbrellas

In her post today, Staci Troilio points out that unseasonal weather makes an intriguing backdrop for fiction stories. Since life is so frequently stranger than fiction, that goes double to those of us writing about and collecting family memories.

Though not quite meeting the bar of “wild weather,” last weekend we attended an outdoor wedding in Sumter, SC, where it was unseasonably cold. (For South Carolina, mid-sixities in May is cold!) The weather didn’t quite steal the show, but it earned a prominent position on the day’s credits.

TJ Maxx made a killing off of those of us flying in from California, Nevada, and Michigan. Rain also kept us all on edge, with a downpour starting about an hour beforehand. These weather details have already become an integral part of our narratives of Erin and Daniel’s wedding.

Weather Radar mapSometimes, weather itself is the story. Accounts of riding out storms, evacuating, freezing, or sweating make great stories for anyone’s “Treasure Chest.”

Has weather influenced events in your life? Was weather itself the story? There are many ways to memorialize them.

Wild Weather in Pictures:

In addition to photos in which weather is a backdrop, take (or feature) photos reflecting the weather itself.

  • Before and after shots (or normal versus storm photos) show the depth of the water or the change in the landscape.
  • Screenshots of weather maps are now very easy to grab on smart phones and are something with which we can all relate.
  • Include photos that lend atmosphere.  A photo that reveals mood, even with no action, is worth at least 200 words.
  • Coping with the weather makes for some comical shots. In our case it was ushers wiping seats with towels before seating people and attendees wearing whatever additional clothing they found in their cars to stay warm (think Old Navy sweatshirts over lace dresses).

Writing about Wild Weather:

Dreary weather Coping skills (or not): Was there the proverbial gnashing of teeth or did everyone keep a cool head?

The Facts: Pick a few weather statistics to include. We’re talking numbers here. How deep or cold or fast?

Adversity: Were there particular hardships that wouldn’t automatically come to mind? For instance, those on municipal water don’t realize that power outages for those on well-water means going without water.

Lesson(s) Learned: My sister rode out Hurricane Hugo. Her lesson was that evacuation is nowhere near as bad as the fear she felt riding out the storm. This doesn’t have to be a “moral of the story,” but if you learned something for next time or had an epiphany about what matters to you, write about it.

Silver Linings: My family has had some great moments by candlelight during outages. (Don’t tell DTE.) What were yours?

Humor: Was there a funny side? Comedy often comes from the unexpected. Did a new treasure come to surface? Kids keep you entertained? For instance, during a bad storm at my in-laws, we discovered that my niece’s husband travels with no less than seven flashlights.  We’ll be telling that one at their twenty-fifth anniversary.

Escapades: Did you or your loved ones have a more adventurous outlet to their stress?

Heroes:  Who pitched in? Who was unflappable? (Who had supplies, i.e. gasoline for the generator?)

What are your stories? I’d love to hear from you.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

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