We teach our students that one strategy they might use when writing a narrative (or a poem) is to use weather to create mood. If you want to create some tension, you might consider writing in an approaching storm. If it’s sadness you are going for, maybe some heavy clouds. If you want something a bit more upbeat, you might set your story in the early spring with flowers pushing their way through the hard ground. This weekend proved to me that weather can indeed influence mood, not just in our writing, but in our lives as well.
I woke Saturday to bright sun, birds singing, a light breeze, and a blue sky (a rarity this spring). As I sipped my coffee, my mobile phone rang. There was no name on the screen, but I recognized the number as a European one. Could it be my daughter Morgan calling from Italy? It was! We talked and talked. I felt like she was sitting at the table with me, sipping coffee and conversing about all sorts of subjects (travel, life decisions, what we were eating for breakfast, work, etc.). What a great way to start a day! It was then that the flowers arrived from my son and his family. Irises; my all time favorite flower! The card, filled with love and thoughtfulness, was signed by Pete, his wife, daughter, dog and even the fish, Ruby! Then it was off to the city (New York City, that is) to spend an early Mother’s Day with our daughter, Mackensie. We drove in (OK…we did hit some horrible traffic, but somehow the beautiful, clear weather made it all seem like a very small inconvenience.). We had a fantastic Spanish lunch outside at the new Hudson Yards complex, walked along part of the High Line to see the Vessel and the other new buildings (and buildings to be), went to the fashion exhibit (Camp) at the Met, and then drove Mackensie home to Brooklyn, stopping along the way in Red Hook for a glass of rose at a very cool, old dive bar. The drive home to Connecticut was easy, and when we arrived at the house there was a beautiful Mother’s Day message from my oldest daughter, Jessica, complete with “I love you’s!” from my two grandchildren. The weather was bright and clear and happy and optimistic, and so was I! I was floating on the few puffy clouds that were moving across the clear blue sky.
And then Sunday came. I woke to the sound of rain. It was so dark and gloomy, I was sure that it couldn’t be time to wake up, but when I checked the time it was already after 7. No birds were singing. I imagine they were hiding in the trees and bushes. I felt like hiding too, under the blankets. My head and heart felt heavy. Instead of thinking about the glories of being a mother to four of the most amazing people on the planet on Mother’s Day, I thought about the loss of my own mother almost 5 years ago. The tears were hanging out just behind my eyes. The rain and the tears seemed meant for each other. The rain continued all day long. My husband, sensing my dark mood, suggested we go to one of our favorite spots for some breakfast. I agreed. We had a wonderful breakfast and then visited my mom’s grave and placed some lilacs there. My mom hated the rain and the cold. She definitely would have preferred yesterday’s weather. I cried. Hard. My tears mixing with the rain that was pouring down and running through the cuts in the stone. We drove by my childhood home, as we do every Mother’s Day since my mom’s death. It looked beautiful, but it made me sad. Then we came home and just hung around. We read the paper, cooked, read our books, and just hunkered down while the rain continued to come down. I felt like I was sinking in the mud and pools of water that had formed on the lawn.
Weather definitely impacts mood; in writing and in life. Let’s hope the sun comes out soon (although that is NOT what is predicted).