by Jay Nordlinger

Today’s Impromptus is a Rolla Journal — Rolla being the city in south-central Missouri, midway between St. Louis and Springfield. (Springfield, Mo., that is. The country abounds in Springfields — including one in nearby Illinois.) Several readers have written me to say that they spent time at Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base in the region.

Leonard Wood, by the way, was an amazingly accomplished man: White House physician, chief of staff of the Army, and other things. (His dates are 1860 to 1927.)

Those who served at Fort Leonard Wood remember the weather: sweltering, punishing heat in the summer, freezing, punishing cold in the winter. Which leads me to my home state of Michigan.

Mention the Upper Peninsula, and people think of a cool or cold environment. The very words “Upper Peninsula” may make you shiver. People are apt to think of tundra — perhaps the landscape of Finland. (There are many Finnish Americans in the U.P.) What they probably don’t think of is malarial swampland — mosquitoes as big as robins. But the U.P. is that too. I have been in the U.P. when I thought, “It can’t be this bad in Georgia.”

Weather is an interesting and complicated thing — but don’t tell that to Al Gore.

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