Yesterday I decided to make the trip into town first thing, before the sun turned Miss Daisy into a hot chick. I set off with my list, a short one, and Sula and my water bottle. Fleetwood Mac exploded from the speakers and as I sped my way over the hills and round the bends, I sang along, my words whipping out of the open windows to startle Oni’s slow sheep. They face another day of seeking shelter from the heat, poor things with their flanks heaving and their faces attacked by clouds of flies. There was almost only me on the road, apart from an early harrier hunting in the heather and high high overhead, a golden eagle, lazy on the thermals, sliding across the sky.
In the harbour, the sea mist had erased all the boats. Although the sun would soon burn it off, for now, the bay was mysteriously empty of all but the crying of the gulls. Parking spaces were plentiful and I watched people in their summer clothes moving along the pavement, in and out of picnic shops, excited and smiling, with the sun twinkling their eyes. Today, I thought, it is easy to forget bad weather, troubles, niggles. Today, beneath the wide cerulean blue, we can all see the best in everything, even in each other. I met some people, greeted old friends, shared snippets of my life with them, as they did with me.
Weather affects all of us. When it is bright and sunny, we smile and laugh and feel like we can take over the world, our own little one, anyway. When the cold bites our very bones and the rain threatens to dissolve us, we notice things we never bothered with under the warm sun. Bad weather can be a synonym for the bad times, the times in our lives when we face demons, disasters, worries and fears. The death of a loved one, the cruelty of unkind words; illness and despair, debts and doubts. Bad weather. These times come to all of us. Nobody escapes them, but I have observed very different ways of living those times out, and I have wondered to myself……….does this person just have a natural ability gene, one that lifts them from despair, and, therefore, is it just a question of having this lucky gene or not having it?
I have decided not.
So what is the key? Glass half full, glass half empty? Yes, I know that one, but those whose glass is half empty rarely recognize it in themselves.
I believe that working through the bad weather times requires a certain attitude, one that does not expect life on a plate. These people understand that bad times will come, and have learned not to take the good times for granted. I am not talking about squirreling away bags of wonga for all those rainy days, nor any other form of holding on, but of quite the opposite.
Of letting go.
Of generosity of spirit and heart. Of sharing both a feast and a famine with others. Of a welcome in our eyes, whether sparkled by the sun or the rain. Of giving and giving more, not materially, but of ourselves, our time, our compassion, our love. And when the piddling niggles about who ate the last piece of cake threatens to bring back a storm of ancient grievances, we might lift ourselves onto the wire and look down on our little lives and ask ourselves this:
What will I be remembered for when I am wiped out like the boats in the harbour? Did I shine warmly on others, enough to lift the mist?
I missed Jimmy Molloy as I drove out of town. I remember him in the sunshine, his twinkle, his kindness, his cheeky remarks. He shone enough to lift any mist.