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March and Weathering the Weather

If you are inclined to turn on the TV to get a forecast on a rainy day this month, you may find yourself encouraged to hunker down until it is over and a more perfect day dawns, bright and cheery. I wonder what a rainy forecast would be like on a TV channel devoted to viewers with a more adventurous and thankful spirit. In my imagination it would go something like this. (Note: words in italics are direct quotes.)

Welcome on a lovely rainy day! This is Rachel Carson coming to you from Southport Island, Maine, where I am standing beside the forest. A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods, and this day will provide that opportunity. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. After all, It's not half as important to know as to feel. Before I head into the woods for my walk, let’s turn to John Muir coming to you today from the mountains of California. John....

Thank you, Rachel. I began my hike early this morning when the storm here in the Sierra Nevada was just getting started. I decided to lash myself to a Douglas Fir and experience the storm as a tree would. I chose the highest tree around in order to do just what you suggested - FEEL the greatness of this storm. What a ride! When the storm abated, I dismounted and sauntered down through the calming woods. The storm-tones died away, and, turning toward the east, I beheld the countless hosts of the forests hushed and tranquil, towering above one another on the slopes of the hills like a devout audience. The setting sun filled them with amber light and seemed to say, while they listened, "My peace I give unto you."

It is time for me to get back to my hike, so let’s head East to hear from our good friend and poet Mary Oliver. Mary...

Greetings, John. I enjoyed hearing about your adventure today. It has been raining here for hours, and Last night the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a new way on the earth! That's what it said as it dropped smelling of iron and vanished like a dream of the ocean into the branches and the grass below. Then it was over. The sky cleared....imagine! imagine! the long and wondrous journeys still to be ours.

Rachel, back to you. Your life has surely been a wondrous journey!

Yes it has, Mary, and my gratitude to both of you for your perspectives on the wonder of rain. My wish for viewers is that all your days be filled with joy, adventure, and gratitude whatever the weather! And now over to our sponsor…

This reflection started out as a subtle diatribe against TV weather personalities. As I wrote, my thoughts shifted to what Rachel, John, and Mary might say today in light of the climate crisis. Would they be so creative, grateful, and loving? Or would Rachel raise her fist to the sky, cursing the extremes of rainfall? Would John bemoan the loss of his forests to wildfires, grieving and crying? Would Mary express grief at the impending doom of so many of the subjects of her poems? If so, I could identify with them.

I have a feeling, though, that their inner weather would prevail, and they would remain resilient, centered and mindful throughout the crisis that is upon us. How am I, how are you, going to manage?

(Thanks to Kevin McLaughlin for the photo taken from the bluffs as a storm approached from Missouri)


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