The dark side of sunny skies

A friend and colleague of mine (who shall remain forever nameless) has always abhorred hot or even warm weather when the essence of the season suggests otherwise. And actually, amongst my friends I find a great divide between those who complain during the gorgeous 75 degree weather here in January, and those who embrace it as a second summer.

Personally, I rather enjoy the randomness of it, the spontaneity that can’t really be predicted.  Plus, it allows me to wear my bikini on Christmas Eve.   I’ve also found that looking forward to whatever the morning brings and embracing the good in it is much more satisfying than holding out expectations and being continually disappointed.

That being said, there is something important about what my friend is saying, and I suppose there are reasons why people are complaining when it’s sunny and gorgeous outside in the dead of winter.  They’re not crazy, as was my first conclusion, though I admit it was difficult to move past that.

Do they SEE the bloody weather the rest of the country has been experiencing with sub-zero temperatures and  mile high snow mounds covering their homes?

Yes. And in a way, I think they might envy it.

Before you start yelling at me for saying that, hear me out for a moment.  I think what my friend is longing for is the beauty of seasons, in and of themselves.  It’s not that he isn’t a grateful person or that he’s looking for something to be bitter about, he wants to taste winter for what it is.   Because without the cold and bite of winter, summer loses something, or perhaps we simply loss our ability to experience it.   It’s like seeing white but never black.  Without the contrast, we won’t even know there is any color there to begin with.

And yes, white is a color. Don’t get me started.  (:

In either case, we are made to need change.  We are created as cyclical beings who need the turning of the tide, day to night, winter to spring, summer to fall. We feel lost without the natural divides that remind us we are here and a part of a living, breathing world.   We lose the ability to see the good when we have nothing to contrast it with.  What once was beautiful in our eyes all becomes grey and dull, perhaps even imperceptible.

This thought just sort of made my mind explode,  it pertains to a lot more than just seasons.  Moderation in work and pleasure, even how we see our fallenness in comparison to God’s grace.  Too much or not enough of anything can take away from the good of something, or make us blind to what we actually have right in front of us.

I think we need winter as much as we need fall spring and summertime.   And that’s why I’m ok listening to my friend complain about the sunny skies in January.

Personally, it’s the thunderstorms I wait for.  The days when I’m watching the rain fall outside while I’m tucked inside with a blanket and a cup of hot tea.  I’ve been ‘stuck’ inside like that with friends before,  watching old movies and telling stories all day with nothing but bread bowls and chowder.  Some of the best days I can recall.



Beginning in June

New years resolutions always confuse me.  It’s not so much that I fail at executing them, so much as I never make them to begin with.

Not in January anyway.

I have a reason for that, though I have a feeling most of you will find me even more peculiar once my confession has been made.  Oh well, that was inevitable wasn’t it.

It is, you see, that when I was 11 years old I picked up an empty journal that my dear grandmother had given me and said aloud to no one in particular,

“I’m gonna start writing today, and I’m going to keep writing every night until the day God takes me home”

This was in June, June 17th 1993, to be exact.  For good or for bad I’ve kept that promise, and nearly 21 years later it’s become as natural to me as breathing.  It’s also left me with far too many journals to know what to do with, and a whole lot of reflections on who-knows-what.  I rarely go back and read anything, though when I do it’s rather surreal and somewhat haunting at times.  Being able to find any day of one’s life between the ages of 11 and 31 and read what was seen or thought or done that day is strange and sweet. Sort of like dreaming.

Consequently, I’ve also become the family’s historian, and expected to resolve any and all disputes on when something may or may not have occurred.  The trouble is, I don’t always record what others might find important, so in some cases the process sort of breaks down.  I’m writing about why a poppy flower holds such beauty, and they’re asking when uncle so-and-so bought a car.

No idea.

The habit has also put me on an insatiable quest for The Perfect Journal.  I haven’t found it yet, but when I do I’ll know it.

All that to say, my New Year’s day has been and will always be June 17th.  It’s when I turn the page, start afresh, and begin again.  There is something I like about that arbitrariness, it reminds me that any day (and every day) is new and beautiful, an untold blessing. Any day can be your New Year’s, there is no rule to that.  It’s not about a good year or a bad year, after all we’ll all fall and make mistakes and do things we don’t mean to do all the time.

Sorry to burst your 2014 bubble, but it’s true.

The real question is whether we’ll get back up, and what we’ll do with today.  That’s all we’ve really got, after all.