Thursday, May 28, 2009
THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
The above photograph was taken May, 2008 in Cluculz Lake, B.C.. The one below was taken a year later, May 19, 2009. The one below that was taken 3 days later.
The date on the photograph is incorrect. It snowed May 19 not April 19. Snow on April 19th would be depressing, but not completely unusual. Central British Columbia is known to have sever weather systems come through at the weirdest times.
But on May 19th, one-hundred-thousand-plus people woke to 3-7 inches of snow. I was so shocked that I sent out pics to many of my on-line friends. Those in the States wrote back to ask how I survived such winters. It then occurred to me that they thought snow in May was normal. It isn't. In fact, the only thing that gave me comfort was knowing that I wasn't alone. Every one of the one hundred thousand residents living in the Buckley-Nechako district felt the same way: depressed. Wouldn't surprise me at all if as much as 10 percent of the population woke May 19th and considered putting their house on the market and moving south. Anything to get away from this dark, gloomy, and depressing weather.
The photo below was taken May 22, 2009. And except for the late-buds on the trees and the fact there's no spring flowers sprouting from the ground, it's a pic of what we'd consider "normal".
Sadly, even as I admire its beauty, in the back of my mind, I'm counting down the months until next winter. Possibly four. Lucky for me I write suspense novels, often dark stories about bad things happening to good people. Getting into the mood is easier when it's gray and ugly outside.
I'm joking. Sure weather is a vital part of being Canadian. Sure we spend too much time bragging about how we survived the coldest of the coldest weather. But in reality we're envious of those living in warm climates; at these those living where they actually have four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Not Spring and Winter.
If you're a fiction writer, setting is essential to your plot. A mystery set on a beautiful sunny day might not carry the right atmosphere. If you're not a writer, notice how influential the weather is on your well-being? It takes a strong mind to overlook a gray day and retain a natural optimism. Normally, I'm working towards that philosophy. Today it's easy.