Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Bitter Wind

A bitter wind has come up this afternoon, a gusty, blustering blow from out of the north.
It arrived unexpectedly, without the courtesy of a formal warning. Caught unaware in the chill of its grip, I was suddenly conscious of being very naked beneath my light autumn clothes. I could feel my skin as if it were a thin layer of ice encompassing the rest of my brittle body. And I was feeling very cold. If the chill had wandered in slowly like a vagabond meandering through time, rather than rushing in like a bandit, I would have worn clothes under my clothes, and maybe even more clothes beneath those. But I didn’t. Even my dog was shivering.

Life encourages us to be prepared for whatever endeavor we choose to undertake, but it also teaches us that we ought to be prepared for the unexpected as well. We cannot predict every eventuality, but we can prepare for the unexpected by our experience of the past. There is almost always a lesson from the past, our own, or somebody else’s, that we can draw upon as a likely predictor of things to come. It’s just that we don’t always take the time to consider the totality of our existence. Too busy with the day to day, the moment to moment demands of carving out our own lives. But I don’t think we were designed to live this way. It’s not that we can’t, or even that we don’t, do a relatively good job of it, it’s just that I think we were meant to have more contemplative time, to observe, to ponder, to learn, to awaken, and to appreciate.

I’ve been very busy lately preparing my house and property for the coming winter. So busy, in fact, that I was caught unaware by this bitter wind. But there actually had been signs of its coming. Not profound signs, and not the usual blather from the meteorologist on the local news, but there were signs, nevertheless. They were subtle signs, they were invisible to the unaware, but they were there just the same.

Had I been paying closer attention to the bigger picture, to the understated indicators, I would have known it was coming, and dressed a little warmer. Life is like that.