Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Weather by Patresa Hartman

My grandmother used to keep a calendar recording nothing but the weather -- the high temp, the low temp, precipitation or no precipitation. She tracked the growth patterns of cabbage and beans in the vegetable garden, the tiger lilies around the side of the house, and the arrival and departure of hummingbirds at the sugar water. She would not have called this research; she would have called it paying attention.

To understand the tidal forces of one's environment I think suggests intimacy -- a deep understanding of and appreciation for the way we fit into Things. Appreciation for the many ways we are alive and connected. The key word here is appreciation. In fact, I think my grandmother's weather calendar is a great example of gratitude via attention. What if the first step toward gratitude is simply taking note? It is easy to notice the crummy and crumbling; but how many lovely things do we sidestep, overstep, or under-notice on a daily basis, because we are moving too quickly and living too loudly?

I've been trying to notice more, periodically reminding myself to pause and take inventory -- the vibrant red of my chair, the perfect oval smudge on the picture window, the scent of my neighbor's freshly mowed lawn. I don't want to miss the lilac in bloom in the front yard or the trill of my cat's purr. I would hate to wake one morning unable to recall the taste of heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market, because I ate them too quickly to savor.

It's taking practice. Who knew that our senses needed such explicit direction? The world ends daily on the front page of my newspaper, and my inner curmudgeon gets stuck on whine. I don't want to live obliviously, but I also don't want to dismiss the good stuff that is aplenty. I wish to be more like my grandmother, tracking the birds and predicting the cabbage haul. I want to take better interest in weather.

Today: 85 degrees and sunny.

8 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Your granny would be proud. It's about 90 and partly cloudy with a chance of rain here...weather-wise. My internal Doppler Radar says everything's cool!

Welcome aboard!

Kathryn Magendie said...

We're having a "heat wave" that we've had for, oh, 2-3 days (and, "heat wave" is relative), then it will cool off again into the upper 70s - hahahahaha -ahhhh! Mountain life!

Love this post....

Barbara Quinn said...

What a fine legacy your granny left you. It's not easy to stay in the moment, to pay attention, to appreciate, but what an admirable goal and formula for living.

Sunny and in the 80's here today.

julie said...

My g-ma Sinn tracked the weather in her journals, which is how I know whether it was raining or sunny on my birth day.

Patresa Hartman said...

thanks for the warm welcome, angie, kat, and barb!

how cool is that? to know what the weather was like on the day you were born? so, what was it like, ms. julie?

Kathryn Magendie said...

Dang! Why didn't I think of that!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hunting for birthday stats, do consult my wonderful boyfriend, Bill GOOGLE! ;)

Ami said...

Great post! I think you're right that gratitude starts with attention. This morning I was driving into work and I could see the pink of the sunrise lining the clouds in front of me. I could also see the streaks of rain far off in the distance to west and I was grateful that on this morning, I could enjoy both the beauty of a sunrise and the anticipation of much needed rain. It takes active effort to pay attention, but it's worth it.

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