One of the things that truly irritates me is the way we talk about the weather. I was standing in a foodbank line early this morning, navigating folks to a variety of employment services, when I met a man from Brazil. From the coffee shop, to the people I met along the street walking their dogs, to the radio banter I heard at 6 am, the non-stop complaining about the weather seemed to be hitting a fever pitch. Rather than be grateful for the mild winter we had in 2016 or the gorgeous Canada Day weekend we just enjoyed the tone of the conversation about our Nova Scotia weather has been negative and hostile. But here was a man, at a foodbank to gather supplies for his family, smiling about all this because in his hometown the temperatures would be downright sizzling. He explained to me that the cool Nova Scotia summers were AOK by him, the heat can be oppressive when the temperatures climb to numbers we in Nova Scotia cannot imagine.
Why do we think we “deserve” better weather? Where does this expectation come from? Is it because we think we are morally righteous and therefore should be rewarded by our Creator with a lovely summer time? Is it because the hard winter of 2015 still requires more “nice weather” to even up the scales of justice? And what constitutes “nice weather”, who says a cool summer is bad, that sunshine and heat, at a temperature “just right” is what everyone wants and needs?
A quick visit to the Treasurer of the non-profit I work for every weekday morning was instructive. Dennis’ garden is a site to behold, it is a gem worthy of a documentary. Dennis told me today that the summer has been dry, a little too dry, for the soil to produce the vegetation that brings kale, tomatoes, berries, carrots, and peas to the plate. Is that calculation understood by those who decide on what weather we are entitled to experience?
I’ve lived in Ottawa and Saskatoon, where the summers sizzle with heat and the winters drop down to temperatures that require cars to be plugged in and parkas to be worn when outside. I lived in Georgia where the heat was so intense that playing basketball in the sun felt like your breath might never return. I walked the streets of Guangzhou in the Chinese province of Guangdong, it was so muggy that my shirt almost became part of my skin. I worked up north above the treeline where the bugs were so intense that my ears filled with dead insects. I think that as weather goes we in Nova Scotia are blessed or lucky to live where we do. I have no desire to live anywhere else.
I know that come February Nova Scotians will be walking through the airport in flip flops and t-shirts carrying bottles of lotion. But in the larger picture, given all the challenges we face, is our weather such a burden to us? I would argue the other side of that debate, that our cool, moderate weather has a calming, moderating effect on us we are not likely conscious of here in Nova Scotia. And this effect is beneficial not only for our bodies but also for our souls. Our weather has a soothing effect on us that I think we take for granted.
The Brazilian man told me later this morning, “the rain reminds me of the blessings that fall on each and every one of us. We make of it what we do but the blessing is there.” Amen to that.