A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.

~Marcel Proust

“How about this weather?”

When people talk about the weather, it’s often considered small talk. Something to talk about when you can’t think of anything else. When I talk about the weather, it’s because I’m excited about it. I enjoy talking about it. For many of us, weather is a significant part of our lives and our emotions.

Weather and People

People have different relationships to the weather. For some, the weather is directly related to their livelihoods; they pay attention to it religiously, but for purely practical reasons. They need rain for their crops to grow. They need calm weather to fish. For others, certain weather conditions are necessary for something they’re passionate about, and when they get those conditions, they love that weather because it gives them the opportunity to do what they love. Weather can bring back memories—memories of relationships, memories of experiences. For some, their relationship to the weather is purely emotional. Certain weather conditions create a direct emotional response.

People also notice the weather in different ways. For some it takes a sledgehammer for them to become aware—oppressive heat or a storm. Others notice subtle changes in pressure, a slight breeze picking up, or a change in the humidity. This awareness comes from mindfulness. If we are mindful, changes in weather are among those things we incorporate into our consciousness. Weather, and the way it affects us, is part of our existence and ultimately part of who we are. An enhanced awareness of it can help us become a more integral part of our world.

Weather and Emotions

The weather can be both dramatic and subtle. A fine mist in your face or a faint breeze blowing across your skin can be like a seduction. The extreme aspects of the weather—lightning, fierce winds, the ominous approach of thunderheads—can have the same effect as a rock show, with all the related feelings. Some weather can make us fearful. Extreme weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening. The weather really runs the gamut of our emotions.

Weather. Spectacular sunset colours on storm clouds in US Mid-West Tornado Alley.  Horizontal, copy space.I have an extremely direct relationship with the weather. I think about it a lot and am aware of it constantly. The most significant example of this for me is the change of seasons. When the seasons change, it’s almost like I become a different person. Fall is my favorite season. I love the first few days in which it’s noticeably chilly. My psyche can feel the oppressive heat of summer ending, and it’s like a great weight is lifted off my shoulders. The wind, the fall colors, and the crisp temperatures come together almost like a song, or a work of art, and affect me emotionally in much the same way.

Experience the Weather

It’s fascinating and discouraging to me how removed modern humans are from their environment. We take drastic steps to ensure that we’re not exposed to uncomfortable natural elements. This is especially true of the weather. We live in controlled climates in which we maintain the most comfortable temperatures and humidity levels. As a result, we struggle when we have to spend time in extreme heat or cold because we aren’t acclimated to those conditions.

This was certainly true of me. I used to tell myself that I “didn’t do well in the heat,” and I tried to keep the summer weather at bay by being in air conditioning whenever it was uncomfortably hot. But when I did have to be in the heat—exercising, coaching, or spending time in my yard—it was particularly uncomfortable. I was not at all acclimated to those conditions. A few years ago, I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t use air conditioning in the summer. We have window air conditioners in the bedrooms of our house, so I decided to remove my bedroom unit. I put the windows down in my car instead of cranking the AC. The result? I could spend a day coaching a double header in ninety-five-degree humid weather without feeling like I needed to escape. I noticed the heat. It was uncomfortable, but it was not this overwhelming force that I needed to get away from.

The weather is part of us, whether we realize it or not. The extent to which we can assimilate the weather into who we are requires an active awareness of weather conditions and how they make us feel.

Part of our sense of self is our sense of the environment in which we exist. It’s important to be aware of it.

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