Good Weather


I grew up in Providence, RI, where there were always four distinct seasons: a cold and snowy winter; a green, windy spring; a muggy, thunderous summer; and a crisp, declining fall. Then I moved to Los Angeles, whose only season was an endless, dry summer that ranged, January to December, from tolerably to unbearably hot. I knew I had found home when I moved to Seattle where the weather is either probably raining or gratefully not. While there are two weeks mirrored on either side of the calendar where it’s very hot or very cold – fall, winter, and spring are more or less indistinguishable from one another, and summer is a brief, dry curiosity.

I’m fine with that. Rain, fog, mist – these are good writing conditions. Not only do they alleviate the temptation to leave the house, but the clouds and the air, the sodden trees, the full and running rivers seem to be moodily working something out. The days aren’t unhappy, but they are busy. Of course, sometimes they’re busy for weeks at a time, and the sun and moon, and the blue or twinkling black of the sky feel like loved ones who only visit on holidays.

It can get oppressive if you let it. There is no sunrise, just a gradual reveal of the day’s coming gloom; nor is there a sunset, no startling orange horizon, only gray that somehow became black when you weren’t looking. You’ll be tempted to complain about it. The day seems to lack imagination. Is this really the only idea you’ve got – this Gothic wetness, this lowered sky, this swollen lake? Have you forgone bloom and bright? Are you just stuck in your own grumpiness, in love with the upturned collar and the rain-streaked window?

Until it happens – the breakthrough. You step out one morning and it’s all cleared: sun and sky above the tree branches and rooftops. You’d forgotten that yellow and blue, forgotten how nothing moves in them and yet they are as alive, as present and as purposeful as the falling rain and churning clouds. Below, the world is still drying, and so grass and leaf and wall give reflection. You simply have to say it to someone: What a beautiful day! It’s tempting to think life would be better if this were all that greeted you each morning, but you know the truth. It’s not time to retire to the desert of Arizona or the beaches of Florida. There’s more to be done, more beauty not just to be appreciated but discovered.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.

Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence.
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