“When there are no clouds in the sky, under the beautiful sunshine, remember the rain and repair your umbrella.”
~ Mehmet Murat Ildan, Turkish author & playwright
I just don’t know what to say about the weather, except it is not raining – in fact quite the contrary. The skies are clear and the temperatures warm. Spring – according to the calendar – is still a month away, although it’s presence is certainly in the air.
Monday morning the winds began abruptly with strong gusts blowing across the upper foothills. Captured by its sound, I was drawn to the window; a cloud of yellow dust blew past. It could be considered an allergy sufferer’s nightmare – a mix of pollen from oak and pine trees. Off the roof and from the boughs it blew. Ordinarily, rain showers would wash the rooftops and rinse the trees of this sneeze-producing residue. With the lack of sufficient storms, the job did not get done in a timely manor. So far, February has received under an inch of rain. Concerning? Yes, for many reasons. But, as with matters of nature, we have little or no control. With optimism, the above quotation suggests perfect weather provides a time to “repair your umbrella.”
Whether it’s for rain or sun or “Singin’ in the Rain,” the following are interesting and fun facts about this particular weather accessary, the umbrella.
Some say the place of origin is Egypt, while others say China. The most colorful story has Marco Polo bringing it over the ancient trade route – the Silk Road – from China in the late 1200s.
Long before human manufacture of rain protective gear, gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees have been fashioning umbrellas from large leaves and palm fronds.
In 1750, Englishman Jonas Hanway made the modern-style umbrella popular. Often considered a woman’s accessary (to protect her delicate skin from the sun), he endured laughter and mean-hearted ridicule and carried an umbrella when he walked the streets of London. As most got a good chuckle as he passed by, the coachmen saw it as no laughing matter; they derived most of their income from gentlemen taking a coach in order to stay dry during inclement weather. Oh, well.
Not only used to stay dry, a specially designed handle could hold a flask, daggers and other items needed by a wealthy gentleman.
Our weather? More of the same – warm and beautiful without a drop of rain in sight.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.