The Weather Stations
is best described in images: balloons of hot air or helium, steam hurling out a burst pipe, bubble baths and foam, how similar the rustling sound of large trees to that of sea waves, the blowing about of debris and sand and small seashells and stray feathers, the billowing of lace curtains and of bright superhero capes, the magic of houses made of cards or of long rows of dominoes tumbling, the tragedy of stepping on a sandcastle, the way parts of it collapse into meaninglessness while parts of it stay impersonating the façade of a castle.
Colors I think of when I think of The Weather Stations
: mint green, strawberry ice cream pink and rusty vanilla. The dusty golds and creams of the architecture in Barcelona. The brown of horses’ eyes. Crayola's burnt sienna and pine green crayons. That scary cutting silver of lightning and the millions of grays of the skies over London.
Birds I think of when I think of The Weather Stations: Crows, owls, wrens, bluebirds, magpies, robins, pigeons, so many other birds whose names I don't know. There are things you see in literature that you never forget.
My copy of The Weather Stations
was dedicated to me by the author. In it, he says he likes that this book came to England to see me and I believe that is entirely apt. There is something about British weather that you can't fully grasp until you've lived here. Talking about weather in London is not making small talk, it is more like necessary venting about this important, all-encompassing aspect of daily life. The clouds seem to always hang so low and so full you can feel them warm and moist about your ears. It's this kind of feeling in all its variations of wind, clouds, sky, rain, etc. that Call's book pays sweet attention to, that it honors.
Birds I think of when I think of The Weather Stations
: Crows, owls, wrens, bluebirds, magpies, robins, pigeons, so many other birds whose names I don't know. There are things you see in literature that you never forget. They can be said to traumatize you. In one of my favorite stories in the book, ‘Consider the Buzzard’, a young boy and his sisters and their mother end up having to let wild birds from outside into the shelter of their house:
As children, we learned to gauge the temper of the local weather by observing the various ornithological activities in the trees and the air above our heads. A wedge of sky devoid of crows demanded caution of us as we traipsed around the neighborhood, a rosary of starlings perched along the power lines or the soft twitter of tumbling swifts in our chimney freed us from the confines of our home, sent us rushing to the abandoned factories to play among the tangles of razor-wire, and in the din of shrieking, crying birds southbound for caves outside the city, we knew to lock the shutters and huddle quietly in our rooms.
And the beginning to each story in the book is foreboding like this – because these stories are told by those who remember, so they presage the happenings much like the calm that announces the coming storm, though when it finally hits, we are still awed by its force and magnificence. What happens inside that house later continually flutters in my memory like a dream.
This is but a small illustration of the kind care and attention that must have gone into these stories' many rich layers of imagination and complex emotion. It is almost hard to accept that stories so naturally beautiful are essentially about death. In that, The Weather Stations
is exactly like nature.