Whether the Weather: Thank you, Hurricane Irene

A Chance to Pause

There is something about the consistent pattering of rain and blustering wind that is cleansing. Mostly I feel relieved by the excuse to sit inside as a spectator and relax.

There is nowhere to go but here.

Stores are closed, trains have stopped running, bus schedules paused, and outdoor events cancelled all in a deep if not slightly frustrated surrender to Mother Earth.

I sometimes think that these shouts from Mother Earth are her best attempts at asking us to listen. We are all far to busy to do this regularly. There are to-do lists to be checked off and there is nothing that mother earth can do to disrupt this routine, right?

We turn on the A/C when it’s blistering hot as to continue working unfazed by the blistering heat. We bust out stylish umbrellas and flashy rain boots to stay dry and we wear sleeping bags as coats for warmth in the wintertime.

Our houses are more weather-resilient than they used to be and we often can be oblivious of the wrath of mother nature until we decide to (reluctantly) emerge from our safe caves to witness the damage—snow to be shoveled in the winter, withering plants to be doused with water during drought, and basements to be excavated of flood waters, etc.

A few confessions: Now, while I am an air conditioning naysayer, I also admit that I live in the northeast and there are rare summers when A/C feels completely necessary given the argument that they are a huge money pit and aren’t eco-friendly. However, there were a few weeks this summer where I caught myself fantasizing about that old window unit blowing cold air on my face while sleeping. Instead I brought cold washcloths and ice cubes into bed with me—sad but true. I also wear a massively large coat in the winter that keeps me warm from head to knees. And, while I enjoy romping in the rain, I also generally embark on watery adventures with precautionary measures at hand like my raincoat and knee grazing rain boots.

Weather is distracting. Sometimes it is all we can think about. People joke that when there is nothing to talk about on a bad date or an undesired encounter with an acquaintance, the topic of conversation inevitably falls to the weather. This is natural. We all experience the weather to some extent—whether from through our windows or by walking through it. So, naturally it’s a common talking point.

But aside from the common experience aspect of the weather, why do we dwell on it again and again?

We often treat weather as an extreme adventure, a foe to be reckoned with demonstrated by outrageous news headliners about dealing with storm weather, newscasters bearing the brunt of the most extreme weather to give at-home viewers a picture of what they might experience if they so choose to venture outside.

Perhaps to some extent it is hard to just be present to its happenings.  Weather disturbs our flow and we would really rather not have a blip in our routine due to rain or snow.

Yesterday, I was looking forward to running some errands. With Irene on my mind I was still disappointed by the furious rains and winds. Maybe I thought that they would hold off until I was ready for them.  Apparently Irene had other plans.

And yet, after acknowledging the rain I found myself running right out into it anyway. After briefly strategizing, my shoes were removed and placed securely in my bag that was cradled inside of my rain jacket. My pants were rolled up, and a jog ensued as to make it inside without getting totally soggy. In the end, I arrived—soggy, yes, but disgruntled, no. The weather allowed a quiet afternoon to be turned into an adventure.

Today, I say to you, Irene: you win—hurricane upon us today and let us sit back and witness the immensity of your rains. We could all use the deep cleansing washing over and pause in our otherwise hectic lives. So thank you, Irene for a reason to surrender today.

For those who were affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, I send my heart to you.



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