The morning started out cool, damp and gloomy yesterday. As the morning progressed, it didn’t get much better.
By the time Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I went for our long walk, the temperature was still hovering close to freezing.
“I should dress warmly,” I told my rational self.
My irrational self had other ideas. “It’s late May,” that voice inside my head that loves to be contradictory insisted. “You shouldn’t have to bundle up.”
This is Calgary. Snow in May is not uncommon.
In 1986, when I was in the final weeks of my first pregnancy, (my due date was May 28) we were also in the final stages of finishing a renovation on our house. The back end was still covered in a big tarp as our contractor raced to complete construction before I gave birth.
Fortunately, my daughter decided to wait three weeks before putting in her appearance June 19th, but that’s a whole other story.
At the time, we were racing to finish the renovation when the weather decided we needed one last big dollop of winter. And I mean BIG TIME dollop. A HUGE dump of snow.
So yeah. Snow is not uncommon in Calgary in May.
Alas, it’s also not uncommon for my mind to decide it knows better, or to forget being obstinate is not necessarily a good thing.
Which is why, when Beau and I were walking on the path that wends its way through the woods along the river, I had to stop under a tree, pull the linen scarf I wore around my neck primarily for decoration, up over my head, and wait out the sleet that was almost snow. Note to self: linen scarves do not offer much protection from the elements.
Beau had no need to wait. Oblivious to the white stuff falling from the sky, he sniffed and snuffled through the grasses, bound over fallen logs and headed into the river for a drink.
By the time the sleet/snow stopped I was feeling mighty damp. Because I had told myself I didn’t need to wear my fleece lined rain jackiet, my sweater coat offered about as much protection as my linen scarf.
And none of that mattered.
As I stood under the canopy of the forest, I listened to the birds twittering and tweeting in the trees. A pair of Canada Geese honked as they flew overhead. Two ducks floated on the river just out of Beau’s reach. A squirrel complained vociferously about Beau’s presence on his turf. A woodpecker pecked on a tree trunk somewhere close by and the leaves whispered stories of their unfurling as the wind rustled through the branches.
It was magical. Mystical. Beautiful. And, I might have missed feeling, hearing, seeing, experiencing the sounds and sights of the forest so deeply had I not stopped under a tree to wait out the squall.
Which makes me wonder… how much beauty do I miss when I’m busy living my life as if getting to the next moment in time is all that matters? How much of the mystery and wonder do I not experience because I’m busy marching through inclement times determined to better life and get ‘this stuff’ over with so I can get to the ‘good stuff’?
Living on the river reminds me, every day, that it’s not about bracing myself to face every storm as if I can get the better of nature. Nor is it about trying to protect myself from life, or arm myself to avoid falling or getting wet.
It’s about listening to the calling of the trees, the birds and all of nature and allowing all of nature to unfold naturally, effortlessly, calmly, without my trying to control it.
And yes, it’s a good idea to put on a rain jacket when the skies are cloudy and grey. But it’s not the rain jacket that makes life beautiful and magical and full of awe. It’s your attitude.
Whether you storm head first into inclement weather, or wait it out under a tree, being present to all that is around you, savouring the moment full of the sights and sounds of nature, makes all the difference in the world, no matter the weather, or even how well you’re dressed for it.