There’s a certain kind of weather that happens only in the summer, when the day is warm and sultry but overcast, and you can feel a storm building.
Driving home from work yesterday, I thought to myself, “this is Green Hand Weather.”
The sky was darkening, but not with the blue-black inky clouds of a standard, fast-moving thunderstorm–instead it was almost green-looking, like an old tarnished mirror, reflecting nothing. The sky got heavier and lower and the light that filtered through took on a mossy tinge, like I was underwater. Everything got quiet and still, waiting. It almost seemed like I could poke that swollen sky with a broomstick and it would burst, drowning everything below it in a murky flood.
That’s Green Hand Weather.
To fully appreciate “Green Hand Weather,” you’d have to have grown up in my family.
1) You’d have to have an older brother who had an alligator-head pincher like this one:2) You’d need an older sister with lots of imagination (plus a talent for scaring younger sisters), and
3) Two younger sisters (my middle sister and me) who were eager to be scared out of their wits.
Combine these necessary ingredients (the characters, the alligator pincher, and the eerie green prelude to a summer storm), and you’ve got everything you need to play Green Hand.
I don’t know how it started the first time, but I suspect it was brought on by the disturbing look and feel of the swollen green sky ready to burst into a storm. My oldest sister set a scene where my middle sister and I would play the role of weary travelers, arriving via stagecoach to spend the night at a deserted wayside inn. We went into the backyard that was lit by the watery green light, climbed dutifully out of our imaginary stagecoach, not liking the look of the run-down inn (it looked very creepy in our mind’s eye), but determined to get out of that weird weather. The friendly-but-enigmatic innkeeper (my oldest sister’s role) met us at the door and escorted us upstairs to our room. There were no other guests, but we were tired after our long trip, so we got in bed and pulled the covers up and pretended to sleep.
Somehow, my oldest sister managed to get under the bed, and when the moment was right–usually just as the first thunder boomed and the lightning flashed and the sky was ready to crack open and pour down–she’d start whispering “green hand…greeeeeeen haaaaand…” and grabbing at our ankles (because every child knows, instinctively, that your feet are incredibly vulnerable to being caught by whatever it is that hides under your bed and wants to drag you down with it), and no matter how sure we were that it was a game and that it was just our sister–in seconds we’d be screaming and scrambling and trying to get away from that terrifying greeeeeeen haaaaaand.
Of course, my sister helped us further by pinching us with the greeeeeeen alligator-head, chasing us down the hall and the stairs and sometimes straight into the storm outside, because rain and lightning were far less scary than the green hand. And no matter how scared we were, we’d look forward to the next storm that might bring Green Hand Weather.
I should tell you about playing Killdozer and Morgue, too, but I’ll save them for another time. Right now, it’s Green Hand Weather!