As I was driving home after dark last evening, just past the orchard, I noticed that particular amber glow to the north that I associate with precipitation. The color is caused by the lights from Harrisburg bouncing off cloud cover, but that particular color only occurs when it’s about to precipitate. Before I’d driven another mile, I started to see the first snowflakes. By the time I drove up to the cabin, the snow was already coming down rather heavily. I got inside and let Baby Dog out. By then, the snow was covering the deck.
Later in the evening, when I walked the dogs for the last time, the snowfall was a full dusting, and the falling snow was thick enough to make the woods look like a faded watercolor, with only the barest outlines visible.
I’ve used civilization to predict weather long before I discovered that an amber glow to the north means precipitation. When I was a child and we lived in Dillsburg, I soon learned that snow fell when the color of the sky exactly matched the color of the tin roof on our neighbor’s house. And the color had to be exact or it wouldn’t snow. I don’t know if this was something my parents or grandparents told me or if I discovered it myself. I sort of suspect this bit of folklore came from mother’s mother, whose own mother was, I’m told, the repository of a wealth of “signs” to predict something or another.
I can remember hearing a weather forecast and then running to the front door to look at the roof to see if the sky and the roof color matched. Sometimes, I would see the sky’s shade change as the day progressed so I could tell that a storm was approaching. Once the roof color and the sky color matched, snow was no more than an hour or so away from falling. I remember this sign as being infallible, just as the amber glow to the north that I can see from the cabin seems to be.