Prediction. What good is it?

One thing an accurate prediction allows you to do is to plan ahead. Based on the nature of predictions, though – or shall we say order generic cialis guesses? – plans can go astray if the prediction isn’t accurate after all.
Some things require predictions. Say, playing the stock market. I suppose that’s all about predicting what direction the stocks will go. I’ll probably never play.

On our sailing voyage, predicting the weather was a necessity. It’s a safety thing, and something every sailor should practice.
But to be frank, I hated it.
Maybe it was just that I wasn’t very good at it. But we ended up with some pretty bad wind directions at times, making life pretty miserable. The yacht would be slamming around, heeled over to the gunwales. Pixel wouldn’t show her face. My stomach would be revolting against it all, and I would beg to the sea, “Where are those southeasterlies we planned on?!?”
It wasn’t so much predicting the weather as it was interpreting all the various sources of weather information, including several trusted website radars, mini-updates from so-called weather gurus who offer a paid guidance service but give out free teasers, satellite phone weather fetches, and of course the other yachties in the harbor with you who are also waiting for a good weather window.
You also have to balance your prediction with other factors. Such as, are we even ready? Is our cat out of quarantine? Have our friends also decided to take the chance and leave for the passage?
The indecision was aggravating, but a good weather window does make all the difference. We came to realize that with sailing, you are not really on your own schedule. You are truly at the whim of the wind. Which sounds great if you’re, say, a hobo. But sailors have a strict mistress in the wind.

A GRIB file from
A GRIB file from

So okay, I can get behind weather prediction when I’m sailing. I’ll keep practicing.

Out on the Queensland cattle properties, it’s a bit of a different story.
Rain is God out there.

Carolyn's rain gauge
Carolyn’s rain gauge

The rain gauge is an altar to which all pious graziers bow down. It’s the rain that makes the grass grow, and grass is what makes cows grow – for free. Trucking in feed costs a thousand dollars a ton.

No rain, no grass, no profit.
Rain is the single most important thing for a beef farmer. It is such a big deal that it instantly affects the cattle market. As soon as it rains substantially over a wide area – and we’re talking the very next day – cattle prices go up. No need to wait for that grass to grow, no need for the cows to eat it and get fat for sale. Nope; immediately, verily like a heavenly mandate, your assets are worth more if it rains. They even say that rain is like money falling from the sky!
Money might not grow on trees in Queensland, but it does fall out to the sky.
Accordingly, the talk on the fence is always, “How much rain did you get?” Carolyn and Keith were constantly checking their favorite meteorology websites, tracking moisture across the state. The coast is getting slammed by a hurricane? Oo maybe some of that good wet will make it our way!
And okay, I get it. Life and living revolve around rainfall. The relief is palpable when a bit of rain blesses the earth.
But is it so different if you know the rain is going to fall?
Seasonally, sure. You can plan. A time for planting, a time for harvesting. Rainy season, dry season.
But how can it help to know if you’re going to get 25 mil instead of 10 mil? And the weather sites just seem to put up “possible showers” all the time – starting tomorrow, of course. I’m no expert, obviously, but just exactly how much does it help to be an expert?
To me it just seemed to be an almost pathological topic. But hey, what’s new? Farmers talk about weather, I think that’s in the Bible, even.
The meteorologist: today’s oracle, making a business out of hope.
But let me tell you, in a Queensland drought, you can’t fool a bushie grazier. There just isn’t much hope unless your face is gettin’ wet.
It’s a hard place to raise cattle, that’s for sure.

Now take me, out on my bike.
I prefer it never rain, ever. And you can take the dew as well.
But my thoughts always return to Carolyn and Keith, out there praying & hoping. Having a better insight into the plight of the cattle farmer only amounts to small solace, however, when Tasmania is dropping the accumulated moisture of the Great Southern Ocean down on my gear as I camp, or on me and my gear as I go up and down all her beautiful hills. The grass is green and lush. The cows look fat.
Good for them. Send the rain to QLD.

I’ve got a rain mode. It consists of sandals, which can just get wet; shorts, which are mostly covered but can also get wet; and a cycling rain poncho with a hood that goes under my helmet.
Rain mode is usually a white-fisted, suffocating sort of existence, one that I’d rather avoid if I can.
And if it’s not raining, I can avoid it. It only takes a minute to switch over, so before I commit, I wait until I feel the first drops on my face. Well, okay, in Tasmania, where if it looks like it’s gonna rain, it’s definitely gonna rain, I’ll switch over when there’s a big grey cloud above me.
That’s enough prediction for me.
When the guy in the post office says “they” are predicting rain (or sun for that matter) I just tune out. I would truly rather not know what the meteorologist soothsayers have to say.
Perhaps it’s simply because of the simple lifestyle I’ve chosen, that of few possessions, and few options for planning a drier time out there. Because unless there’s a risk of avalanche or tornado or something, it just doesn’t matter whether it rains or not.
In fact, I feel the same way about hills. Why should I care to know if there’s a huge hill ahead of me? Or an easy ride? I’m going to pedal forward either way. I would just drive myself crazy thinking about it. I don’t even plan my routes with hills in mind. They do go down, too, after all. Every time.

But there’s more to it. I’m living raw out here, exposed; I’m on a path of acceptance.
Let’s just say I was able to accurately predict the rain. Which no one can do, by the way.
If I were expecting rain, if I knew I was to be uncomfortable, then my busy little mind would go about frenetically trying to improve my situation. But my situation simply is. I’d rather not spend valuable mental energy trying to control the weather!
So instead of being happy when it’s going to be sunny, or grumbling when it’s going to rain, I’d rather just grumble when it actually rains, and be happy when it’s actually sunny. Live that one step closer to what’s actually going on, and not be a slave to my own expectations.

Besides. Rain, it’s not actually bad. For many, it’s the best.

Being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily bad either. The farther I am from my comfort zone, the more I’m growing.

Out on the bike, I like to say, “Wet is sort of like dry, only different.”

It’s a matter of perspective.