Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 23: Meteorological Metaphors Day

Today is World Metrological Day, celebrating the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization founded in 1950. Weather is literally all around us, but it is also figuratively all around us and in us, especially in our everyday language.

Look at the expressions below:

A port in storm
Chase rainbows
Cloud nine
Cloud of suspicion
Fair-weather friend
Head in the clouds
Greased lightning
Shoot the breeze
A snow job
Steal someone’s thunder
Tempest in a teapot
Under the weather

Each expression refers to an aspect of weather; however, the actual meaning of each expression has nothing to do with literal weather. For example, a "snow job" is an attempted deception, not a task you need a snow shovel for.

On Metrological Metaphor Day, listen to the words people speak around you. Are they borrowing weather adjectives to describe the stormy mood of their boss or the sunny disposition of their best friend? What other adjectives might fit this category: inclement, icy, hazy . . . ? Can you think of more expressions or adjectives to add to the above list?

Challenge: "Over the Rainbow"
Weather might just be the most common metaphor for song writers. List song titles that use weather as a metaphor in the title or the lyrics. Here are the lyrics to a great Bruce Springsteen song to get you started:

Waitin' On A Sunny Day

It's rainin' but there ain't a cloud in the sky
Musta been a tear from your eye
Everything'll be okay
Funny thought I felt a sweet summer breeze
Musta been you sighin' so deep
Don't worry we're gonna find a way

I'm waitin', waitin' on a sunny day
Gonna chase the clouds away
Waitin' on a sunny day

Without you I'm workin' with the rain fallin' down
Half a party in a one dog town
I need you to chase the blues away
Without you I'm a drummer girl that can't keep a beat
And ice cream truck on a deserted street
I hope that you're coming to stay

I'm waitin', waitin' on a sunny day
Gonna chase the clouds away
Waitin' on a sunny day

Hard times baby, well they come to tell us all
Sure as the tickin' of the clock on the wall
Sure as the turnin' of the night into day
Your smile girl, brings the mornin' light to my eyes
Lifts away the blues when I riseI hope that you're coming to stay

Quote of the Day: Time is a storm in which we are all lost. --William C. Williams

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