The Doom and Gloom Channel
I am paraphrasing Mike Mills of The Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca, Arkansas. And I am substituting photography for canoeing. One of the disasters for photography has been The Weather Channel. Without a doubt. Case 1: Buffalo River a month ago. We were set to float the Buffalo, ten of us. But someone logged on to the internet connection in the lodge, and The Doom and Gloom folks said we should start building an ark. Long story short I floated the river alone in a kayak. There was a perfect, light spritz of mist on and off throughout the day, fog settled into the river, colors glowed, and the river was mine. No doom and gloom. Case #2: Anywhere I teach. People actually check the weather from Seattle ten days before their trip to Santa Fe or Maine, and start to pre-stress about the storm, heat, wind, monsoons, tsunami from thousands of miles away. How crazy is that? They actually e-mail me with questions about what to do about this upcoming tragedy. I conducted a little study over the last two years. Pretty official actually. I showed my photographic prints at about twenty outdoor art shows across the U.S. My little booth was set up on the streets of Chicago, Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Houston. San Francisco, Ann Arbor, and elsewhere. There were times when I worried that all my work, sitting in a little booth on the streets outside, would be too vulnerable. Weather happens. Rain and high winds can destroy your booth as well as keep the public away. At night from my hotel room, nine hours to go, I would check The Doom and Gloom Channel. So here’s the truth: These folks were wrong about the forecast more than half the time. Yup. Not even 50/50. Imagine being wrong that much in your job.
I talked with Mike the day I floated the river. He says his business takes a huge hit when people believe these inaccurate forecasts. And I see people, already focused on fear, holding on to one more thing to worry about, and as a result, missing experiences. Go.