It doesn’t matter where you go or where you live in the world, there’s one thing that connects all of us – and that’s the weather. We joke about the British being obsessed with the weather and how it’s the topic of every conversation, but having spent a lot of time online recently in the company of people from all over the world, I now know that from Australia to America and every country in between, everyone has the same topic of conversation.
It seems quite amazing to me that Nature, in the form of the weather, is such a controlling force in our lives. The weather dictates what clothes we wear, what activities we can do and even, in the case of a barbeque, what food we might eat. It keeps us in our houses or tempts us outside. It can kill us with extreme cold or heat, and bring us back to life as we warm our over-wintered bones in the sunshine. It can be the difference between food on the table and famine as crops ripen or are decimated by winds and rain.
In contrast, we have no control over the weather at all. We like to think that we can pretty much command the world from our fingertips these days with our remote controls and mobile phones, but the weather is still beyond our grasp. Imagine ordering up a sunny day for a wedding, or snow at Christmas every year! We could have seasons that followed set patterns, changing regularly every quarter as our calendar pages turned. There’s a poem called “The Garden Year” by Sara Coleridge that begins, “January brings the snow” and lists the expected weather for each month – but the weather never quite seems to match up. Imagine pointing your remote control out of the window and stopping the rain, or lifting the fog, or making the snow last just a little bit longer (OK, it’s probably only me who would do that!).
Perhaps it’s just as well that we can’t change the weather at the touch of a button. It means that we have to look out of the windows and choose what to wear based on what’s happening outside. We have to think outside of our own demands and desires and remember that there are bigger things in the world than us. Tornadoes, floods, heat waves; extremes of weather as well as the day-to-day sunshine and rain – all part of a life that we have to live with and fit our own existence around. It reminds us that humans are not the most important things on Earth, even if we like to think that we are. It reminds us that the weather is part of the wonderful planet that we live on, and whilst humans might be scattered across the planet, we are all connected by what we see every day when we open our curtains. And that’s really quite magical.