Monday, 22 September 2008

The Anthropocentric Weather Report

This morning I was listening to the CBC as usual during my 45 minute commute to work. Also as usual, the announcers were going through the regular news, traffic and weather reports at various intervals. When it came time for the weather, the announcer said something to the effect of how disappointing it was that she couldn't say we were in for a "lovely day" again, like last week, because it was raining. The host of the show replied in kind, bemoaning that it was a rainy, windy and miserable day. And I thought, wait a minute, that's only true from a human point of view.

From the point of view of the grass, trees and the ducks in the nearly dry wetland area near my house, today is actually a very lovely day. About 10 - 20 millimeters of rain are expected to fall today. The land is really in need of this, considering the unseasonably warm and dry weather we've had for the past two weeks or so. Speaking anthropocentrically, it has been a really nice Fall so far, with mild temperatures, no rain, and almost completely sunny days.

That weather report illustrated to me once again how disconnected a lot of us humans are from nature most of the time. Surely after two weeks of sun, a little rain is a good thing? It reminded me too, of how much we humans like our undisturbed comfort, and how we almost seem to take it for granted and feel entitled to it at the same time.

I've certainly been guilty of feeling resentful towards the weather, especially towards the combination of rain and wind, and especially on a work day. It messes up my hair and splatters my glasses, while I struggle to hold on to my umbrella and avoid stepping into puddles, all the while dodging the water spraying from passing cars' tires. But then there are the days on the weekend when I relish going out into the rain, with my silly hat on, to weed the garden or fill up the rain barrel. I like feeling that rain plunking down on my head and smelling that smell of wet grass. Feeling my rubber boots squish in the dirt and hearing the raindrops patter on the leaves. That is a "lovely day," in my view. And maybe walking to work in the rain with my umbrella isn't so bad either.

Picture courtesy this Flickr site


Simply Authentic said...

What a great posting, especially in light of my reading Pollan's The Botany of Desire. Your thoughts here sort of mimic his point in the book. And of course, what WOULD life be like if we actually lived according to the seasons, etc instead of the false reality we've constructed?

Green Bean said...

I couldn't agree more! Our local folks even say that and we got a lot longer than a couple weeks without rain. We haven't had a good soak here since early March or maybe late Feb. Rain is the essence of life - who cares if it dirties your washed car.

Amber said...

This post from Down to Earth struck a chord in me, as did yours. You both illustrate beautifully the simple joys that can come from living more in tune with the seasons. Personally I look forward to the fall, and cooler, darker evenings when I can start up crochet projects!

SoapBoxTech said...

I think we must be kindred spirits Theresa. I have such thoughts on a near daily basis. Growing up a farm kid I have long been used to being the one person grinning away on the rainy days when everyone else is complaining about when the nice weather will return.

My one failing in this area is probably that I despise wind. Breezes I love but wind drives me batty for some reason, even tho I know it is a vital occurrence. I guess maybe its because I suspect that deforestation along the mountains and for maximum field acreage on most farms is a big reason why this area seems so much windier than I remember.

Anyway, thanks for the words of wisdom.

Theresa said...

Thanks SA - that sounds like a very interesting book. I'll have to look into it and add it to my winter reading list! And ya, it is a false reality, isn't it? More and more I'm coming to understand that what we're told and what we do is based on so much falsity. It makes life very surreal sometimes.

GB - yes, rain is the essence of life! The more I get this idea, the more I don't mind rainy or snowy days.

Amber - thanks for that link :) I too am looking forward to the 'yin' part of the year.

Soapbox - that's a really nice thing to say - thanks :) I've noticed that it's windier too compared to when I was a little kid growing up here. I hadn't put it together with the deforestation issue - that makes sense. I've read your blog and I'm looking forward to your next post. It is good to have more and more Alberta people voicing environmental concerns. It en-courages me, helping me to speak out more often myself, knowing I'm not as alone as I thought I was in this province. Thank you :)