I'm sitting here writing this (Wednesday night) and wondering if my husband will make it home. It's been mixed snow, rain, and every possible combination of the two all day, so the roads are... interesting, and conditions are deteriorating.
Where this gets interesting, and ties into writing, is that a little over five years ago this would have been utterly alien to me. I'd encountered snow maybe twice in my entire life up until then. Now, well... I got home from work this evening, and the first thing I did was get the snow shovel and clear the front path. Now, if you've never shoveled snow before, the stuff is fricking heavy. Shoveling it is hard work, no matter what those damn postcards say. And snow does come in multiple types. There's the soft fine white powdery crap that feels kind of like cold sand, the heavy wet crap which is kind of warmer and tends to happen more when the temperatures are hovering somewhere close to freezing as opposed to below freezing. There's re-snow, which happens on a windy day after heavy snowfalls. Whiteout, where the stuff is coming down so thick and fast you really can't see where the heck you're going. And it's all, every last bloody kind of it, miserable.
It's also unearthly quiet. It's silent coming down unless there's wind, and then what you hear is the wind, not the snow. You hear sleet and rain, but not snow. The wretched stuff also muffles everything else.
As for snow-blindness, well, I knew about that intellectually, but I didn't understand it until the day I saw snow-covered fields glistening silver in bright sunlight.
All of that, including struggling through hip deep snow, is writing experience. Without it, the long march to Constantinople in Impaler wouldn't have been anywhere near as vivid.
One day I'll get to write something that uses some of my tropical weather experiences too, like the warm rain (aka 'liquid sunshine' or 'pineapple juice'), or days where it's gotten so hot that when a storm comes through and the rain starts you get curlicues of mist rising off every surface, or humidity so thick you wiggle your little finger and break out in a sweat. Or the storms sweeping through and people going out into them to get wet and cool down.
In the meantime, of course, the inner writer keeps watching what's going on and taking lots of notes. It's all useful someday.
So what are some of the times where you thought you understood something and then experienced it - and really understood it?
Oh, and a bonus for the Brisbaneites - Before and After pictures of the floods: http://www.abc.net.au/news/infographics/qld-floods/beforeafter.htm