Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Column from Sunday's Paper

NOTE: This post may look familier but that's because my column in Sunday's paper evolved from a blog post. I hope you don't mind.
Whining about the weather
I stood at the garden door tonight and watched lightening gouge jagged troughs through the night sky. Soon the rain came and I opened the back door so I could hear the storm pound the roof like a drum. 

Our chimes probably drive our neighbors crazy when the wind blows, but I love the music they make.

We don’t have gutters, so when the rain comes rushing off the eves it splatters on the deck. Standing there tonight, the rain drenched my bare legs and it felt good.

Every season has its pros and cons. I have to come clean here and “fess up” that I’ve complained about the heat this summer. 

Jilda and I played at an arts festival in Fultondale last week and our set started at 2:30 p.m. The ambient temperature was 96 at show time, but combined with drinkable humidity, it felt like it was 110 degrees.

I could have baked a cake in my guitar case, and by the time we stepped off stage an hour later there was not a dry thread on either of us. I reached for the door handle of my black truck (what was I thinking?) and the handle burned a small Ford emblem across my palm.

It’s easy to whine about the heat, but the angle of the evening light is changing and each day is a little shorter than the one before. Soon we’ll start seeing color in the leaves and before we know it, we’ll be cursing the north wind, and ice on our windshields.

We’ll be thinking about things we could do if only the sun would shine and warm the day.

A lesson that would serve us all well is to be content with now. No matter what’s happening on the outside, if we could learn to find contentment on the inside, I think we’d all lead healthier, happier lives.

I read a quote by the Dalai Lama that seems fitting here “….man is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.” I could have written for days and not said it as well.

Being content with now is not easy. For the most part, we are where we are right now because of the decisions we’ve made at some point in the past. That can be a bitter pill to swallow. It’s much easier to blame the weather, the spouse, the parents, the boss, the government, or something else for our unhappiness.

Viktor K. Frankl who lived through Nazi concentration camps and withstood unspeakable horror, said one of the most profound things I’ve ever read in my life — “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes.”

I think we all need to remember these words the next time we feel compelled to whine about the weather.


  1. This post is wonderful! I complained all last winter about the cold and snow so much I promised myself I would not complain about the summer heat...I have tried to keep that promise and then the rains came all spring...and came...and came..It has been a warm summer and very humid, but not as bad as many areas have been. So thanks for the reminder to enjoy the day, embrace each moment..and smile into the fall season!

  2. I am really enjoying your blog, and I love the quote from the Dalai Lama. Very nice! Great writing...again!

  3. Profound the Dali Lama quote, but then I would be disappointed if it were not.


  4. I loved this post - so well said! Being content in the here and now is more difficult than it would seem, but I'm trying hard to do just that. We miss so many little moments today if we're always looking backward or forward. Thanks for the lovely reminder, and also your kind comments today.

  5. So true, attitudes are sometimes like cement barriers, keeping everyone away.

    Change yourself and free yourself.

  6. Wow...that is so true, and so profound. I love your blog because it always reminds me to have a little perspective. Thank you.

  7. Rick,
    Yep - that "here and now" business is a lot more critical than the "when and if" stuff. :)

    Here's to a sigh of contentment just because we feel like it.

  8. Awwww lovely!! But fess up time - whining about the weather is a fave past time of mine! LOL!!!

    But it's always good to enjoy the present! Take care

  9. WOW. I am so happy that you happened by my blog and that I, in turn, have discovered yours. LOVE THIS POST.

  10. I learned a long time ago not to whine about the weather. Mother nature has a strong backhand. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. Amen to that -

    Love this:
    "A lesson that would serve us all well is to be content with now. No matter what’s happening on the outside, if we could learn to find contentment on the inside, I think we’d all lead healthier, happier lives."

  12. It has been very nice this year. My family owns a business that sees most of its revenue during the summer. The last 2-3 years were poor because of the weather. This year for almost two months there hasn't been a yucky or stormy weekend. Hooray increased sun spot activity!

  13. Cool blog! I like the mix of Southern writing with philosophical insights...very groovy:)

  14. Was good a second time too!

  15. Such wisdom you have shared with us.

  16. i find that as i get older i appreciate all of the seasons more and more. when i was young, i only cared about the summer, but i find myself really liking fall and spring now.

  17. I think as people we always want what we don't have. And we forget that the good ole days were days with challenges too.


  18. Gosh you are a terrifc writer!!
    Great post, don't worry, be happy..
    Blessings from the land of Oz.

  19. Yes, reading other's blog makes one grateful in many respects...sometimes by reminder! Thanks for yours to live in each moment the best that you are able. I needed that today when it seemed everything was going wrong! Glad there is a tomorrow...do over!!


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