Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ice on the prairie; Rain on the plains

I moved on from Boston to Minneapolis last night, and from the refrigerator to the deep freeze.  The landscape is buried in snow and ice here, and there is a hard freeze on that has even the natives warning me about roads and exposed skin.  The drive up from the airport took over MN Morning 1an hour at 10 pm: snow was falling, roads weren't plowed, traffic was crawling, the windshield kept icing up.  'Nothing to do but persevere and hope that a restaurant would still be open when I got to the hotel.

I think I'm (almost) missing the dark and drizzle that defines January days back in the Netherlands: weather here is a cruel and primal force.  Reflecting back, I have been trying to figure out why the Netherlands is so rainy. In my source-city of Seattle, it's all about topography: moisture from the Pacific drops when clouds meet mountains east of the city.  In Cambridge, the British claimed that the clear, dry, cold weather in East Anglia was caused by the rain shadow of some hills to the west.

But the MN Morning 2 Dutch landscape is just a flat hollow, seamlessly mated to the Channel, and in the rain shadow of Britain.  I'm left to speculate that perhaps low pressure areas are simply attracted to the Netherlands because it's a below-sea-level dimple in the European landscape?

Still, on a frozen prairie morning like this one, the warm Dutch damp sounds wonderful.  It puts the spurs to trying to get my expatriate contract renewed, for sure...

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