In The Wake of the Storm: Thoughts on Life

It’s the weeks where we feel beaten down before Monday begins that are the hardest to face, eh?

This morning’s rife with the turmoil of a good Pacific storm. A lot of wind and rain. As is usually the case, a good windstorm means a blue sky’s on its heels. I literally see both from my north-facing writing desk. Blue skies over the Pacific, charcoal over the inland. A torrent has just ended and the roads are filled with the splitter-splatter of cars racing through puddles, and roofs are dripping themselves dry.

It’s life. Damages come fast and fleeting. One minute we’re one way, the next, everything’s changed, oppressively so. The storm passes, we’re in a daze, but the reality is, we look around, nothing’s really changed.

That’s the trouble with troubles. When those lifestorms pass through, the visible rubble we’d expect to find in its wake is so seldom there. Instead, we’re faced with a life around us that barely even seems to know what we’ve just endured. Everyone’s still working, walking, talking, living, coping, whining, bitching, droning, saving, spending, laughing, smirking, lying, crying, and dying.

It’s only us caught in the weightiness of the existential downpour. But it’s a localized phenomenon.

I forget sometimes how hard it is to be that person caught in the duality of life-standing-still as life whirls around them. It can be tough.

Mornings like this, when everything seems to be an effort in an otherwise simple life, it does me well to remember it wasn’t always so simple a grind.

There were times I’d have killed for my day to be as simple as a couple Ibuprofen for a stiff back, a dire check-depositing run on tap, and a workday.

Routine placates us, lulls us into oblivion. Safety makes us forget the importance of our days, the potential for newness on each day.

And then a storm blows through, shaking everything up, tearing up some trees, deluging lower lands, and making everything seem vicious and unforgiving. For a while. Here, now, in this golden saturated light, it’s all over. Traffic’s quieting as puddles splash away into drainage. Wind’s lulling to a near stop. In the space of an hour, it’s become a completely different world out the window.

And the storm that’s passed makes the averageness of a mottled blue sky, mild temps, and a light breeze seem something spectacular. Because it’s better. Because it’s not what it was.

I sometimes wonder if it’s my fondness for meteorology after a lifetime lived on the Pacific, with its whimsy and war-like offenses, that so tempers my outlook on life lived with adversity. Unlike most people, I never really expect ‘periods of calm’ in life, because I know how seldom it comes in our weather here in Vancouver. I often feel like life is always a whirlwind of good, bad, and unbelievable. I think I like it that way.

That’s not to say my heart doesn’t happily skip a few beats when I see a clear, sunny patch forecasted. It just means I grab on and milk them for all their worth when I can.

And today that means riding my scooter into work for the first time since November. The long way. There’s mountains and ocean and blue skies and bliss that need some ogling out there. There’s a moment that needs appreciating and savouring. Because today’s something new.

Even if it is Monday.