Essays About

Waking to Weather

Last night I returned home from vacation. Not having checked the local forecast, and arriving after dark, I could not tell the weather conditions except for the temperature. This morning I woke to a gray, dreary sky, humid air, intermittent rain, and moderate warmth. This waking to unknown weather recalled my experience of weather in childhood, when I had no knowledge of forecasts. Each day was a distinct world divided by the curtain of night, and I never knew what was coming. Reversing unpredictably from dry to drenched or calm to blustery, weather had an arbitrary and absolute character—not part of a causal nexus but a fate handed down. I submitted to the sky utterly, making its mood my mood, imagining life only within its limits.

In adulthood, broadening my knowledge has localized the weather. I anticipate cold or heat waves, recognize this overcast sky as a frontal system exiting the region by tomorrow. In dry weather, I am conscious of the rain falling in places I could drive to. In winter I think of Australia's summer. Great thunderstorms which once rattled the whole world now seem small because my thoughts fly to the storm cell's edge, where the clear sky eastward dwarfs the blackness behind.

There is a comfort in the memory of my childhood acquiescence to weather. I would like, again, to be ignorant of the weather, so I could wake surprised and submissive to each day, believing the here and now were the whole of life. Knowledge of other possibilities has fragmented my adult consciousness. I am nowhere, through being too aware of everywhere.