Western MA ❥ Weather

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 5, Weather

(Photo credit: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser)

❥ I wrote myself a note about the next Mash Note a few weeks ago. I put down one word: weather. My thought process went I should write about my reverence for the seasons while the weather’s still nice. Because frankly, I can’t really abide by winter, since I don’t enjoy feeling cold. And still…

Having lived around here for the bulk of 30 years (!) I realize that while I really don’t live here for the weather, I do appreciate it. Why? The way seasons wrap themselves around the year marks time. It’s rings around trees in plain sight and stored into sensory memory. It’s the pleasure of being surprised each and every autumn by the leaves’ gem colors. It’s tastes and smells and even (sigh) the sense of relief when the snow melts and the sidewalks widen again.

Seasons bring the bittersweet and the sweet of life to the fore. While I’m not sure I’d miss them if I lived in a more monolithic climate, I have used them to train myself to appreciate what is. I am told that being happy in the moment, any moment, is really a good thing.

❥ Now I had this thought before the wild weather week that marked the tail end of August and beginning of September this year. Who would like a deadly, damaging tropical storm? No one could, obviously. And in a way, that’s why I decided to stick to my original idea; I wanted to add that climate change threatens these basic cycles and throws in more quote-unquote natural disasters and with every storm of the century, we should redouble our efforts to push for greater accountability to environment from our leaders, our corporations, and our communities.

From Green Teams in our schools to kids learning about recycling from toddlerhood to groups like Grow Food Northampton working to ensure 120 acres of farmland remain farmland to organizations like CISA supporting the local farm movement and local farmers to staunch protests against Vermont Yankee on out, this bit of paradise lives its values. And that’s another reason I love it here.

When the storm submerged a field at our CSA it was another lesson in how important weather—and the climate change holding steadier rather than progressing—really is. The farmers’ lessons are by extension the shareholders’ lessons and another call to activism and rethinking our ways in the world.


Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

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