The Weather Ball
If you're not from Flint, Michigan, today's post might not mean that much to you. But, I ask you to consider reading anyway.
My hometown is in the midst of the chaos of dissolution and tragedy. It is laughed at, mocked, derided, degraded and judged. People think they know Flint, but they don't.
My mother lives in what used to be a high-flying section of town called the College Cultural Area (even sounds fancy, dudnit?) The houses are gorgeous Tudors and stately Georgians, with beautiful flowerbeds and great sweeping lawns. (although, not right now...because: winter.) My mother and her neighbors take a lot of pride in the city and volunteer at churches and soup kitchens and get together for neighborhood parties, (even though many of them have lost their savings and pensions and medical plans.) They attend the theater, and concerts and local art shows. They drink local coffee, and eat local crepes and drink cocktails from local bars.
There are four colleges within a few miles from each other, one of which I proudly attended, and a bustling farmer's market that puts Houston and Austin to shame. (Sorry I'm not sorry)
Looming above it all, there's The Weather Ball. A friendly symbol of the triumphs of yesteryear's Buick City, Flint. A touchstone to welcome you back to town or just a good way to tell what type of weather is coming. First erected in 1956, it means that my grandparents, and my parents on both sides grew up with this dominating the city skyline. And everyone knows the Weather Ball rhyme:
When the weather ball is red, higher temperatures ahead.
When the weather ball is blue, lower temperatures are due.
Yellow light in weather ball means they’ll be no change at all.
When colors blink in agitation, there’s going to be precipitation.
Why does this matter to you, living in California or Texas, or Missouri or Florida... or across the world? Because we all come from somewhere. Maybe you hated it growing up, or maybe you loved it and still live there. Maybe you couldn't wait to get out, or maybe you're dying to get back. This was my town. And as much as I love to travel... I loved Flint. I left my car unlocked all the time. I walked the streets alone. I went to weird concerts at night, and snuck over to my boyfriend's house who lived in a bad area. I loved it for its energy and its hope and its willingness to keep trying. I suppose it may have influenced my life...just a little.
Guess I've been homesick lately. Thanks for reading + your support. Take a few minutes this week to think about where you came from... it might give you a better look at where you are now...and where you're headed.
The Weather Ball History