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GRANDMA SAYS: Ash Wednesday's wind warns of what's to come

The counter-clockwise circulation around the outgoing winter storm will serve up west to northwest winds across the region on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
The counter-clockwise circulation around the outgoing winter storm will serve up west to northwest winds across the region on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. - Cindy Day

Did you have pancakes yesterday? I did. They were good, but how can you go wrong when you bathe them in delicious local maple syrup? Decadent, but that's what Mardi Gras is supposed to be: one last day of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins today.

Well, this is it: the first day of the most difficult 40 days in the calendar year, at least for me. During Lent, many Christians commit to fasting and giving up certain luxuries to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks (40 days) later, on Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday), which falls on April 1 this year. A few days later, we will mark Easter Sunday on April 4.

Each year, I struggle with what I should give up during Lent. Over the years, friends have suggested I take a pass on Brussels sprouts or sardines. But that’s not how it should work - although I do love both those things. It’s about sacrifice.

There’s one thing I turn to, perhaps more often than I should, to reenergize, to settle my nerves, for comfort and reward: chocolate. I don’t eat a lot at a time, but one square of lovely dark chocolate does the trick. So, that’s what I give up for Lent every year.

My sister also abstains from chocolate during Lent. A few years ago, she called to ask if I thought she could have hot chocolate. She said it might be OK if she drank the chocolate. She didn’t like my answer.

While Monique and I usually walked around the house with long faces on Ash Wednesday, Grandma sprang out of bed and out the door. She couldn’t wait to see where the wind was coming from. Grandma Says, "Wherever the wind lies on Ash Wednesday, it continues during all Lent."

A north wind implies a cold stretch; a south wind, a mild one. East wind points to lots of dampness, while a west wind implies a cool but dry stretch of weather is coming.

As I watch an offshore system move into Canadian waters, it looks like we can expect a north wind across much of the region. If Grandma is right, it’s going to be a cold start to spring.

Make a note of today's wind direction; let me know how it turns out come Easter.


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

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