The weather is something we all pay attention to. It changes regularly. We notice, and it gives us something to talk about. Sometimes we talk with smiles and good cheer, sometimes with groans.
We compare the weather today with this time last year, or remark on extremes in distant years. Like that Fourth of July when it poured rain from morning until night. Or the Halloween when there was so much snow, parents pulled their children in sleds from one house to the next for Trick or Treat. And that horrible winter of ’78. We make comparisons with people in other areas of the country, or around the world. We try to predict future weather based on all kinds of logic, from squirrels gathering nuts to the color of the sky.
Weather changes with the seasons, especially in this northern climate. It also varies from one day to the next. Weather affects everyone. A sunshiny day makes everyone smile. One foggy day seems quiet and mysterious; several in a row wears on the nerves. In fact, too much of any kind of weather wears on us, whether it is extreme cold, excessive heat, or disproportionate rainfall. We take comfort in the idea that, whatever the weather is offering right now, change is inevitable.
I’ve noticed weather-like systems in other areas of my life. None so relatable, perhaps, as whatever is going on outside, but noteworthy anyway. It might be that we humans like to have a logical arrangement for things, so seek out similarities to create patterns. It may be simply me trying to create order out of random occurrences. No matter; it seems real to me.
I have lived through seasons of death, where every day began with an awakening sense of grief, and my heart caught in my throat each time the telephone rang, for fear it was bringing news of another loss among friends or family. There have been times when it seemed that every day brought news of someone’s separation or divorce, until I was ready to give up hope that any relationship could work. Disaster, illness and tragedy seem to happen in clusters, too.
Likewise, I’ve experienced long seasons of joy, when all news seemed to be wonderful news, and the calendar filled up with celebrations, births and weddings. There have been long periods when there was always something to laugh about, and the most unlikely goings-on struck me as hilarious. I’ve lived through times of peace and contentment, and times of accord and camaraderie.
Just like the weather, sometimes these patterns are brief. A sudden summer rainstorm or a blast of winter’s chill may not last long, but gets our attention anyway. If I spend an entire day having to search for every single thing I need, it is easy to recognize a pattern. When I drop almost everything I touch, there’s another. There are times when it’s clumsiness I notice, and other times when I can’t seem to remember anything.
Today, it was spillage that became routine. Lateness was its partner. They both fed into the pattern, creating the system that wreaked havoc with my morning. First, I woke up late. I turned on the coffee maker, and ran a glass of water…which I immediately tipped over onto my desktop. I slopped the cream over the top of the pitcher as I filled it; I spilled my first cup of coffee.
Deciding that a sponge bath was going to have to take the place of a shower, I ran hot water in the bathroom sink. Abandoning it to clean up the mess from another accident, I nearly flooded the bathroom. I dripped coffee on my work slacks, and had to change them at the last minute. Then, reaching for a lidded container to pour my morning smoothie into, I caught the blender container with my sleeve, and spilled the contents all over the counter.
My late start, combined with this compilation of messes, compounded by a slick, wintry mix in my driveway, worked together to make me late for work. On Sunday! The day that I’m never late! The day that I work alone and so cannot be late. Enough! Like bursts of bad weather, these systems usually move on. I’m counting on it!