You know how it is

This April day was part March, part May, all fun. Overlooking the Rhine River in Germany, April 2007

This April day was part March, part May, all fun.
Overlooking the Rhine River in Germany, April 2007

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”   – 
Robert Frost

When getting ready to go out for a long walk, I’ve learned that the temperature is not the biggest consideration in deciding how warmly to dress.  What seems to make the most difference is: how windy is it?  A sunny, warmish day can feel frigid with a strong wind, but if the air is calm and the skies clear, it will be a pleasant walk even if the temperatures are below 50.

By now I hope most of us are experiencing at least some days such as Frost describes here, where the calendar seems to have moved on a few weeks, if only temporarily.  As for those March winds, I have a whole new appreciation of their relatively temperate nature, after the snows of last month!  But today, I wish you a day that feels like May.

One year ago today:

Just enough intelligence



  1. Susan

    Today in New Hampshire, you’ll get your wish! It is expected to reach 70! I put all my houseplants out on the balcony two days ago, but will have to bring them back in tonight, according to weather predictions.

    • Thank you Susan, it’s lovely to get an update from New Hampshire! Jeff and I fell in love with that state (as we did with Maine) and hope to go back there. I am so happy that you are having a nice warm day. Wish I could beam up there for an hour or two and hike through Franconia Notch State Park!

  2. raynard

    Julia the first time over in Germany for me was Schweinfurt , then Baumholder. I arrived in Frankfurt September 1981 it was almost rainy season. the next time it was Jan 1985 and yes it was cold. We ran 2 sometimes more miles in the snow and rain.. Did venture the German country side. Now I heard we dont have as many troops over there as we once did. I did find a facebook page or 2 about people sharing their memories over there.. Next month my wife and I will be traveling to N.C to attend a wedding of a childhood friend of mine. Our mothers were best friends and we were next door neighbors back in the 60’s. We just reconnected via Facebook. There are some good thing that came out of being on facebook for me anyway.. be blessed

    • Raynard, I agree that Facebook can be a great way to re-connect with people we have lost contact with. I think that’s one very strong point in its favor, and probably why it became so popular. I hope you have a great time in NC, the weather ought to be lovely then.

      I think they have cut back on the number of overseas troops everywhere, but especially places such as Germany. Did you ever go to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen military recreational area? If not you will have to add that to your bucket list. We went in 2005 and I hope we can return there one day.

  3. singleseatfighterpilot

    Yes, I know how it is.

    • I hope this April day is a lovely one for you, more May than March!

  4. So true! And completely appropriate at the moment. Saturday was 80 degrees and tonight it is supposed to drop to the 20s and possibly snow.

    • OH, NO! SNOW again? I hope not! But in the meantime, I hope you take full advantage of the warm days as they come. I’m hoping Virginia won’t see any more snow, but we do have cooler temperatures later this week.

  5. MaryAnn

    What a joy to open this & see my friend’s happy smile & beautiful face! Weatherman has listed 80’s temperature for this week, so it will be like we skipped to June in the daytime. My in-laws, from North Carolina, always were so amazed that it cooled off at night in the summer. Currently, we are experiencing 81 during the day, 47 during the night. Wow!
    Today, I will grab a few minutes reading Robert Frost, my favorite poet! Yesterday, my 12 yr. old grandson & I were talking about his poems.

    • Mary Ann, I remember being amazed too, by the way it cooled off at night no matter how warm the day was. When we moved to NorCal, we came from San Antonio where you have 5-6 months per year of 24/7 HEAT. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to simply open the windows each night; no a/c needed! It took me no time at all to be very happy to be back in CA, the weather alone makes it a GREAT place to live!

      I didn’t realize you liked Robert Frost so much – another thing we have in common. I couldn’t possibly name just one favorite, but he is certainly on my list of the ones I like best. “Fire and Ice” is one of my all-time best loved poems. It says so much in only a few words.

      • MaryAnn

        Knowing that I APPRECIATE your input so highly, I just read “Fire and Ice”. as you say: lots of succinct content. My favorites are “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” & “The Road Not Taken”. Both have much to say about life & choices.
        My all time favorite poem is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” by Elizabeth Barret Browning. I had learned it in high school. Very early in our marriage, Paul bought me a souvenir pillow on which it was printed. So, lots of history connected to this love poem.
        I love being enriched by your insightful blog, Dear Lady!!!

        • Thank you Mary Ann, as always you are kind and generous with your encouragement. I like the Frost poems you mentioned; the rhyming pattern in “Stopping by Woods” is amazing to me. Another one by him that I love is “Choose something like a star.” That is so romantic about the pillow with the Browning poem on it! I am so happy you enjoy the blog, and I appreciate your prayers and your presence here!

  6. Jack

    One week after deciding to ignore the old “don’t plant tomatoes before Good Friday” adage, I’ve got 24 Better Boys, Atkins, Cherokee Purples, Italian Beefsteaks, Early Girls, Lemon Boys and a few others that I can’t remember that are about to face a 32 degree night in central Alabama tomorrow night.

    Ever read the $64 Tomato? That’s a bargain at twice the price, for no store tomato holds a candle!

    • Jack

      that was supposed to be a link, not a picture…sorry!

    • Jack, I totally sympathize. I put my gorgeous potted begonias outside a couple of weeks ago and now they are barely hanging on – pale, as if in shock! But I agree with you about the taste of homegrown tomatoes being worth the cost and effort. My first summer out of college, the girl who lived in the other half of the duplex I rented talked me into going in with her on a garden in our yard. We paid someone to till it and then we worked outside in the heat and humidity, planting mostly Better Boy tomatoes, but also a few Beefsteaks, Early Girls and even cherry tomatoes (at my insistence). More than once I asked myself why we were going to all that trouble and expense, but with the first bite of the first ripe tomato pulled right off the vine, my doubts flew away! I don’t think I’ve ever tasted such a delicious tomato, before or since. I finally understood the term “first fruits.”

      That book looks good! I put it on my “to read” list on Pinterest, so hopefully I’ll get around to it someday. Funny title, but probably no exaggeration.

  7. Suzy Snow

    Very nice picture! My kids have memorized all the rivers in Europe so they know where the Rhine river is. That is so neat that you went there! Today is a rainy, (such loud thunder that I’m not used to) day here in Texas- I do miss the Ca. weather.

    • Yes, that thunder can really be a shocker after life in California. When we first moved from the central coast in 1988, the Memphis weather caught me off guard despite our having lived there for 4 years while Jeff was in dental school. One night it was so bad (with tornado warnings) that the kids and I hid in the closet under the stairs as the radio advised. Jeff was away and fortunately they were preschoolers so there was room for all three of us in that tiny closet. 🙂 I don’t blame you for missing the CA weather! Hope you are all doing well otherwise. Your kids have done more than I ever did if they know all the rivers of Europe. I don’t think I’ve ever known them.

  8. Sheila

    Julia, although it rained here most of the day, it was rather mild with very little wind. ☔️ Bye, bye pollen! Sunbeams came in the mailbox with a thoughtful note from Matt. He is quite the PROMPT Marvel Hero to me. How’s the puzzle coming along? Loved the blog! Hope Jeff is doing well. 😌

    • Sheila, he worked the puzzle immediately (it was a very easy one, only 100 pieces, but it was the subject matter that got his attention). Normally he only works 300 or 500 piece puzzles, but I told him this one would be small enough that he could work it on his hospital tray table if he felt like it. 🙂 We are all doing OK, resting up for our big week next week. Jeff seems to be doing fine, all things considered. Thanks for asking, and for caring! ❤

      • Yipee, I finally figured out how to draw a heart. 🙂

  9. Beautiful!

    • Thank you. It brings back fond memories of that day – my friend Amy took the photo.

  10. Michael

    That looks like a great book and I imagine my peas cost about five dollars a piece.
    Last night we had a “blood moon” in Seattle area. Something I had never heard of. There are some pictures on Q13news Fox website.
    I watched movie, “The Book thief,” yesterday and deemed it pretty good. Two thumbs up.

    • Jeff had been telling me about the blood moon but unfortunately we had the thick clouds roll in, which obscured it. I’ll have to look up some pictures online to see what it was like. I absolutely loved The Book Thief when I read it years ago (in fact it inspired a poem I wrote shortly after that), and we finally watched it this weekend. I thought it was quite well done.

  11. Michael

    We can only grow the Early girls here. I have learned my lesson. Cherokee purples sound kind of fun. Insightful comment on the first fruits. So this would be like the offerings in the O.T.-giving the best stuff and not the leftovers?

    • That’s what I think it must mean. I have long noticed that the first watermelons of the season were the best, but I always supposed that was because I was so eager to have them and the warm weather they represent. Maybe not, though. It makes sense to me that the early crops would have the best of the soil nutrients, especially if the land has been fallow (and the O.T. laws did provide for crop rotation, I believe). Sometimes I wonder whether our tasteless supermarket produce is partly because of over-production on huge industrial-style farms; quantity over quality. Of course, as long as there is hunger in the world, I suppose quantity is an important focus.

  12. Michael

    Yes and I heard about a wonderful heirloom Cantaloupe variety that had the best flavor, but did not travel well to market on the container cars and so was discontinued. Same idea with tomatoes and I heard they actually put a preservative on them that takes away any semblance of the home grown variety. Definitely quantity over quality. However, we have a neat little Tuesday Market downtown with some local produce of superior flavor.
    Same with the California strawberries we get that taste like sawdust compared to our local berries in season. They were something missed while living in Hawaii.

    • Maybe as people have the time and means to re-discover the home-grown taste, we will come full circle and return to some of the practices that fed mind and soul as well as body – gardening being one of the ultimate examples of that. Eight $64 tomatoes beat a $500 designer purse any day in my book!

  13. I’m looking forward to not being a weather whiner, LOL

    Look at you in the fresh air of Germany. Cute photo Julia, you sure had a distant horizon to enjoy. We actually had a river excursion one afternoon on the Rhine. It included wine, that was really not good at all. When the hostess looked away I splashed my wine overboard, LOL. I just couldn’t choke it down. Being on the River was fantastic. We floated by all sorts of old castles and ruins. I was really impressed at how it’s like a clock stopped 300 years ago, and everything looks the same. They’re clever to be diligent about what you can build in these historical towns.

    • Yes, we went on a Rhine cruise that day too. I didn’t drink my wine and I forgot to ask Amy if it was any good. Ours was served in a castle though, so the atmosphere alone was enough to make up for any bad taste! I too was amazed how MANY castles there are up and down that river. It’s like that must have been the high-rent district way back in the middle ages. I’m glad they haven’t torn it all down.

      • Lucky you! I would have loved to tour into a Castle. They must be really expensive to maintain.
        “high rent district”, LOL no doubt.

        • Yes, I think many of these old estates have fallen onto hard times and it takes a fortune to repair them and keep them running. The one we were in was only partially renovated and I think the owners hosted tourists as part of the way they funded the ongoing work. I’m glad someone is doing these things but I wouldn’t want to be in charge of all that. It’s great fun to visit though!

  14. We know just how important the wind is to how you dress for a walk! This past week has been lovely & sunny, but at times the wind has had a real chill to it.

    • Yes, I’m debating about whether to chicken out of my own walk today – it’s actually cooler now than it was this morning. The weather can’t decide whether it wants to be sunny, rainy, or a bit of both. I suppose I will just have to bundle up and hope for the best!

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