It hit me as I listened to Maria LaRosa talk about severe storms in Iowa and Dr. Forbes talk about the chance of severe storms in Texas and Oklahoma today that I don't just have a practical interest in the weather so that I can figure out what to wear to work, and it isn't just a scientific interest in how weather works.
I realized: the weather keeps me connected to my friends and family all over the United States. It helps me remember all of the great places I've lived and the fun places I've visited.
The West Point experience is not just about tactics and strategy, weapons systems and uniforms, or beating Navy and Air Force. It is very much about the men and women you spend four years with, forging bonds through the unique education the Academy affords. We came from all over the U.S., and all of these years later, we have scattered back to all regions of this nation, serving in and out of uniform.
When I saw a snowstorm on the map near Denver, I would wonder how Keith was, or if he was even at Ft. Carson at the moment. Torrential rain in NYC summoned images of Jason on his way to his job on Wall Street, dealing with hailing a cab in a downpour. A heat wave in Kansas invokes feelings of empathy for those stationed at Ft. Leavenworth walking to and from class, and for Anne on her long training rides in the Kansas summer.
I equate summer temperatures soaring into triple digits in Las Vegas with the extraordinary life Leslie lives - though whether she's home or jet setting for work, I never am quite sure. An approaching hurricane in the Gulf prompts phone calls home to see if my parents or sister are worried, and winter storm warnings in New England tell me that my father in law will likely have the snow thrower ready to go.
My friends at work laugh about how I can recite the forecast on most days, and I admit my keen interest in the local weather mostly comes from needing to know whether I can run outside the next morning, or what days I can ride my bike to work that week. But we all talk about the weather, I think, essentially for the same reason. Weather connects us, whether we're down the street or across the nation. Warm or cold, windy or calm, at the end of the day, we are all connected by it.