(written January 20, 2016)
For my first post, I want to write about something that everyone can relate to: the weather. We’ve got our share of it in Franklin County; I’m sure you do, too, because we — you and I, reader, wherever you are — live in a world that still has an environment, by which I mean a natural environment with at least some aspects that are out of our control (thank goodness). Despite some noble intentions (like a desire to keep our bodies warm and alive through cold winter months) and despite some rather thoughtless greed and self-entitlement that’s either short-sighted, naively optimistic, or deliberately apocalypse-craving (like an American notion that we deserve to be unhindered in our pursuit of our ideal “way of life” regardless of its effect on life on the rest of the planet), we do still share a world that is not completely insulated from weather.
And what are we to make of this weather we’re having?
This is not an article about climate change, nor is it specific to a certain local weather event or even a global historic weather moment. This is an article about the weather as it is inside our heads.
Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is it sunny or foggy or windy? And by the way, what is “it”?
Every day in Franklin County the weather elicits as many different reactions as there are citizens. I find this diversity refreshing: in a place that lacks certain kinds of diversity, we demonstrate our individuality through personal perspectives that can be expressed publicly:
- “What a beautiful day.”
- “I hear it’s going to snow.”
- “I hope the roads aren’t bad.”
- “I love watching snow fall beneath the streetlamps.”
- “I only like snow when I’m watching it through the window from the fireside.”
- “It’s freezing out there.”
What I find amusing and somewhat frustrating, on behalf of my fellow humans, is how frequently our public sentiments about the weather express a dissatisfaction rather than an appreciation.
I wouldn’t want any denial of our feelings, any self- or socially-induced suppression of our true sentiments that we no longer felt comfortable sharing publicly. But I do wonder why it seems easier to complain about the weather than it does to appreciate it. Are our true feelings more attuned to complaint than to appreciation?
Frankly, I think we can affect positive change in Franklin County by choosing to notice and share with each other some positive interpretations of things that are as safe to discuss (unlike more intimidating and controversial topics like politics or religion) yet as universal as the weather.
Again, I don’t want to deny the feelings induced by the weather. We all know the difference some sunlight can make after days of cloud cover, and the joy of watching the first snowfall of the season, and that some people find a thunderstorm invigorating. For better or worse, weather affects us.
But, for better or worse, we also affect each other, and if you choose to tell me how the g__-d____d snow/rain/wind/heat/humanity/drop in temperature/rise in temperature/forecast has ruined your day, then it might ruin mine as well, whereas we could each choose, instead, to notice and to share: how exquisite are the ice crystals on the uninsulated windows; how magnificent the stars looked last night when I had to go out to cover the plants before the early frost; how melodic the rain sounds; how the fog makes the world so peacefully quiet; how the humidity gives you a great excuse not to shower, because as soon as you towel off you’ll be damp again.
Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is it sunny or foggy or windy? “It” is in your head, and you can choose how to interpret and share it with your fellow citizens of Franklin County, your neighbors, to make their day, your day, our day a little more positive.