Well, 2012 wasn't quite the year I had envisioned. On many levels I would describe it as bittersweet. It wasn't horrible, and it wasn't spectacular. Maybe most of all, it really wasn't enough. I'm thankful for what we did see and capture, but the rug was pulled out from under far too soon. Our season seemed to be taken away just after it got started. And following a great year which we missed out on with a dull one we sat through waiting and waiting, isn't the double act I wanted. But every time I start to feel poopy or sorry for myself, I think back to the late 80s and what chasers back then endured...and I feel better (and thankful).
I hate not seeing many tornadoes or having many tornado days, but what bothers me most of all is, for the first time since I started making DVDs, I won't be releasing a new one after a two-year absence. No, it will be at least another year before DVD #7 sees the light of day (and I hope it's not any longer; that would indicate a dreadful 2013). I'm starting to feel like the Def Leppard of chasing, with an ever-growing gap between my last work and whatever is forthcoming coupled with no standout intercepts the past few years (April 14 was awesome, but our results are just one set in a sea of video from this event). But what can I do about any of this? Nothing.
I've been taking a fairly huge break from "chasing life" (by my standards), not having done or said much at all regarding my passion, minus a few random social media musings. Bridget and I have been busy just living our lives, she working ever-closer to completing her education while I continue to churn away at work. But I miss it. And I think it's because chasing, largely the past year, has missed us.
Unless something completely insane happens weather-wise, 2012 will go down in the record books as the least-chased year of my career. It's December 7 as I write this, and we've chased 10 times in 2012. That's ten. What's even worse, it's not because we couldn't chase more. It's because there was nothing to chase. I'd been suspecting, upon checking models in the few days after April 14, that we were possibly looking at an extended ridge type of pattern, bordering on catastrophic proportions. I hoped that the models would eventually change, eventually break this ridge down and show something more typical of the season. But each day I looked, and each day the ridge persisted. I looked at the calendar one day and two weeks had gone by....and there it still was. By the second week of May it was obvious that 2012, largely, was going to be an - I hate to say - epic failure of a season.
I suppose part of me took comfort in knowing the reason we'd not see tornadoes in 2012 wasn't because we couldn't chase, but because there simply were no tornadoes. Then again, I was hungry, and April 14 had just wet our appetites. It was like being given a bite of steak, and then having the rest taken away from you. I've not had two years like 2011-2012 back to back before. But when I look back over my career, it's littered with instances where one tiny mistake or choice could've changed what ended up being a great year. So 2011-2012 is the Universe getting even with me, by its pure unadulterated, unbiased randomness. I've never been the best, seen the most, been the greatest, but I've always been consistent. Even with the past few years, my overall body of work still reflects this consistency....but I admit, when you isolate just the past few seasons, they cast quite a blemish on that steadiness. But oh well, shit happens.
So yeah, I'm quietly excited about the future. Hell, what chaser worth their salt isn't always excited about the upcoming season? We'll move forward, prepare the best we know how, and hope that fate and a little luck will help guide my decision-making (and the weather itself) into a bountiful campaign in 2013.