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– Think positive

August 14, 2012

It’s amazing that there is so much to say about the weather.  I had thought it was the British climate that made us complain or comment on the cold or rain, the clouds or sunny days, but no, it happens here too.  I suppose you only have to live in a climate which constantly changes, seemingly without reason, to give you things to talk about and to be stunned at the power the weather has to affect our lives.   I’m always looking for signs but something I am coming to realise is that however much we hope to interpret things, the weather still does as it pleases.  As we all know, even the weather forecasters don’t get it right all the time and they have all sorts of gadgetry at their disposal.  Here, people prefer local signs, like if the pine trees are blowing in the wind, it’s going to rain or if it’s misty at breakfast time, it’ll be fine by tea time and wind from the interior of Spain or across the Mediterranean is bad news, extreme heat.  We’ve had some of that these last few days.  The thermometer has been stuck between 39 and 43 degrees in the afternoon, no breeze at all and hot sticky nights without sleep.  However we shouldn’t complain really because other parts of the country have reached more than 50 degrees.  I can’t even imagine what that must feel like, especially since our little fans have been working overtime to keep us cool during our heatwave.

Yesterday we were in the pueblo and everyone was sharing what they had heard about the heat.  That it was blowing directly from the Sahara or that is was peaking and tomorrow it would start to drop.  It was comforting to know we all felt the same and there was some prediction for cooler times to come.   It’s how we humans function I guess, having to know the how and what of everything so that we can accept things and the knowledge that we all feel the same is reassuring.  Somehow our attempts to pull the horror of the heat into our own understanding diminishes its power, maybe that’s what we do with all experiences that come along and threaten to derail our lives.  We look at events and at the signs then try and see if we could have predicted it or at least, guess when they’re going to end.  It’s natural to try and understand things but I wonder if we could go too far with that.

When we set off on our adventure, leaving behind our life in Yorkshire, everyone asked us where we were going, what we would do when we got there, how we would survive.  Amazingly we hadn’t given those things much thought, although as more people asked us, I did start to wonder myself.  But it seemed too late by then to stop and give ourselves over to worry.  Maybe we didn’t know it at the time, but in retrospect it appeared that we had been working on instinct, taking one step at a time in a direction that just seemed right.

I wonder if the need to work everything out in advance, to predict outcomes, is something we learn, because surely it can’t be natural can it?  Certainly the workplace is full of training courses, helping us to parcel things up with certainty, but what about serendipity, fate, and fluke?  I hope they haven’t been written out in favour of predictable results.

One of the very valuable things we learned on our rather exacting journey was that it is impossible to know what is round the corner or on the next page of our lives.  In fact, that’s probably what we knew deep inside when we set off, but couldn’t express.  We wanted to experience the not knowing, to trust fate and that our ability to deal with events would ultimately deliver us to where we wanted to be and that we would find our place by intuitively moving towards it.  I know, maybe that sounds a bit fantastic and perhaps it’s easily said now that we’re here but actually, I think I believe it.

The thing is.  Supposing everything that happens to us depends on our ability to imagine it.  Or better, we imagine something incredible happening and it does, because we expect it to.  So if that’s possible then maybe the reverse is also true.  If we never thought anything incredible could happen, we wouldn’t spend time imagining what it would be like if it did.  So, because we can’t imagine it, we can’t make it real to ourselves.  Then when it does actually happen we can’t recognise it, confirming that our inability to imagine incredible things limits our lives.

Maybe if this is all true and everyone agrees that serendipity or imaginative results are what life should be made of, then maybe instead of worrying about the awful things that could lurk around the corner, we should encourage ourselves to predict good things because after all, if the future is unknown why imagine it’s only full of bad things?   Perhaps we need to practice thinking about exciting things because they can surprise us and we need to learn how to respond and really celebrate them, although that sounds a bit like training and I’m not sure I’m a fan.

I’m all for sharing our woes on the scale of the weather but its nature’s serendipity which is admirable.  While we’re in the middle of August I’m looking for signs that the summer is coming to an end.  Even as we drag our hoses and watering cans around at sunset I’m hoping that summer has peaked and that I’ll see something, anything that hints of autumn.  Last week I thought I saw a real sign.  We’ve got some comfrey plants, some of which have died back in the heat.  They did the same last year and then bounced back in the cooler weather, however the other evening I noticed that one clump had some tiny green shoots showing.  Surely this must mean that the plant has superior powers of prediction and that autumn is definitely on the way, contrary to current temperatures.  Or that the plant is thinking positively and imagining good things to come.  I think that sounds brilliant, after all, plants must surely be closer to nature and the weather than we are so I reckon if a plant has imagined the cool of autumn is almost upon us, I’m certainly going to agree.

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