Hey, Fat Lady!

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings….”  

It’s a great phrase, isn’t it? It references what used to be the stereotypically overweight sopranos of Grand Opera. (Since the advent of the Metropolitan Opera’s HD television simulcasts, we’ve been getting glamour girls instead.)


Photo by Jon Riley/Getty Images

Photo by Jon Riley/Getty Images


In the imagery of the final opera, Götterdämmerung, of Richard Wagner’s opera Ring cycle,  the “fat lady” is the valkyrie Brünnhilde. She’s traditionally presented as a very buxom lady with horned helmet, spear and round shield. Her big closing aria lasts almost twenty minutes and leads directly to the end of the opera. As Götterdämmerung is about the end of the world (or at least the world of the Norse gods), it truly is all over when the fat lady sings.

A sports journalist, Ralph Carpenter, in an inspired moment (March 10, 1976, at which time it is generally warm in Dallas, Texas where he was) wrote it about an athletic contest. Meaning, “Don’t count your chickens till they’re hatched” (circa 16th century) or “Hey, guys, it’s March 22nd, it’s springtime, isn’t it?” (March 22, 2014, said by me and countless citizens of Massachusetts in New England, only to discover how delusional we are).

We are WAY overdue for it to be over, it being this winter that never ends. But the Fat Lady shows no signs of opening her mouth to sing. She’s sulking. Or she’s pissed. Or she’s got PMS. Whatever. It’s pretty obvious, at least to me, that the Fat Lady is an unkinder, ungentler aspect of Mother Nature, the Mother of Us All. And she’s really mad at all of us kids —

Modern Mother NatureI don’t know what your mental image of Mother Nature is. Mine is, or used to be, of a kind, green, gentle, caring lady, something like this. (Wired in a modern fashion, to boot.) But relentless cold and ever-falling snows with no end in sight have ground me down, along with my image. She’s two-faced, this lady. Well, I guess she’s entitled. We’re all two-faced, to some degree. But this winter she’s perpetually been wearing another face, a face not even so benign as the image opening this post. Nope. And what can we do to soften her wrath? I don’t know! Here in Northampton, where they really know from green, we already recycle, solarize, bike ride, pretty much you name it. But her wrath continues. Here, then, is what I imagine as the current image of Mother Nature, March 2014:


And here is my final plea: We’re sorry! Please, please, let’s hear it from the Fat Lady!

This entry was posted in Angels, Challenge, Etcetera, Life and Death, Nature, Personal Essay, Pioneer Valley, Spring, winter and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Hey, Fat Lady!

  1. Frank says:

    Richard Wagner was not a man, I think, to be annoyed at casting your final Mother Nature as Brunnhilde, nor would be alarmed at her giving you a substantial, but rather demure finger. Hey, that’s Grand Opera, for heaven’s sake. Sorry, I don’t do umlauts, neither does my keyboard.


  2. This weather needs to BACK
    OFF! Mother Nature needs to be a little more forgiving and THE FAT LADY NEEDS TO SING!!!!
    I got needs, ya know! And I need all of this!!!


  3. Anonymous says:

    After hearing the weather report for the next few days, promising warm rain (warm, that is, meaning above freezing temperatures), I figure that the fat lady is about to sing, because Mother Nature just remembered that she forgot to send Spring to Massachusetts! I’m an optimist, and believe the weather reports, so…I’m ready…I’m listening…


  4. Anonymous says:

    You really can write up a storm! and hopefully a spring– very nice indeed. KT


  5. Well she was asinging here today……..it was 94 degrees in South Texas Ozville!!! The Flying Monkeys were grounded and hiding in the shade. Hope you get to see Spring soon.


  6. During the last [latest!] nor’easter I thought it was Götterdämmerung! 🙂 See … I have umlauts both in my mind and on my keyboard!
    There’s a new nor’easter on tap for tomorrow … freezing rain and all that crap. Loved the image of Mother Nature with a keyboard!


  7. Jen Payne says:

    I promise spring will be here soon. Really. And in a few short months we will be waiting for the fat lady to sing about the cooler temperatures of fall…


  8. Pauline says:

    Spring has sprung but no grass has riz
    There’s still some snow and there still is
    A cold wind blowing the birds around
    And from the fat lady nary a sound…


  9. Dick hauser says:

    The skiing’s been phenomenal. I hope the fat lady has laryngitis.


  10. phillyjoec says:

    “No mas!” Roberto Duran’s exclamation as he dropped his gloves before opponent, Sugar Ray Leonard, after a long bruising battle for the middle weight championship (1990?). It expresses my exhaustion with the relentless winter here in Philadelphia.


  11. 2e0mca says:

    Nature – mother or not – is, as Kipling stated, ‘Red in tooth and Claw’ and that seemingly includes the weather! I hope your’s improves soon 🙂

    Love the reference to the sporting v opera analogies – in the UK a satirical magazine called Private Eye deals with these under a column called ColemanBalls where quotes of sports commentators getting it wrong or over-exagerating are printed. It’s names after Sports Commentator David Coleman. One favourite of mine was a BBC Radio 5 commentator announcing that England were playing the island nation of Andorra! – Goodness knows where the BBC gets it’s commentators from these days 😦


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Perhaps they’re referencing Andorra after global warming fully sets in????
      At long last it seems to be spring here. It was a tough fight, Ma!
      Not only are there new blossoms in the garden — but I’ve actually managed new posts on my blogs — whew!
      And actually will get to read other people’s blogs again — starting with yours, Martin. Hope all is well.


    • Dick hauser says:

      The quote is attributed to Yankee catcher, and later manager who is also supposed to have said, “That restaurant is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore.”


      • Touch2Touch says:

        Mebbe so. Yogi Berra gets a lot of credit for a lot of funny stuff. I wonder if it’s really all deserved —
        Whatever, I’m REAL happy that the fat lady’s finally delivered her aria. Another winter like that one will do me in —


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