Wait Five Minutes
Weatherlore in the Twenty-First Century
A folkloristic engagement with the weather and its pervasiveness in our lives
Contributions by Emma Frances Bloomfield, Sheila Bock, Kristen Bradley, Hannah Chapple, James Deutsch, Máirt Hanley, Christine Hoffmann, Kate Parker Horigan, Shelley Ingram, John Laudun, Jordan Lovejoy, Lena Marander-Eklund, Jennifer Morrison, Willow G. Mullins, Anne Pryor, Todd Richardson, and Claire Schmidt
The weather governs our lives. It fills gaps in conversations, determines our dress, and influences our architecture. No matter how much our lives may have moved indoors, no matter how much we may rely on technology, we still monitor the weather. Wait Five Minutes: Weatherlore in the Twenty-First Century draws from folkloric, literary, and scientific theory to offer up new ways of thinking about this most ancient of phenomena.
Weatherlore is a concept that describes the folk beliefs and traditions about the weather that are passed down casually among groups of people. Weatherlore can be predictive, such as the belief that more black than brown fuzz on a woolly bear caterpillar signals a harsh winter. It can be the familiar commentary that eases daily social interactions, such as asking, “Is it hot (or cold) enough for you?” Other times, it is simply ubiquitous: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” From detailing personal experiences at picnics and suburban lawns to critically analyzing storm stories, novels, and flood legends, contributors offer engaging multidisciplinary perspectives on weatherlore.
As we move further into the twenty-first century, an increasing awareness of climate change and its impacts on daily life calls for a folkloristic reckoning with the weather and a rising need to examine vernacular understandings of weather and climate. Weatherlore helps us understand and shape global political conversations about climate change and biopolitics at the same time that it influences individual, group, and regional lives and identities. We use weather, and thus its folklore, to make meaning of ourselves, our groups, and, quite literally, our world.
"Wait Five Minutes represents a unique snapshot of vernacular responses to the emergent climate and weather issues of the new millennium."- Erika Brady, professor of folk studies at Western Kentucky University
"This collection of essays is a fascinating and compelling compendium of the new and the old, the weird and the ordinary, the comforting and the upsetting—all from the unique perspective of folklore studies. Like the howling twister in The Wizard of Oz, Wait Five Minutes snatches us up and delivers us into a magical world always already colored by the hazy conditions of our everyday lives now made clear: the weather."- David Todd Lawrence, coauthor of When They Blew the Levee: Race, Politics, and Community in Pinhook, Missouri