Adjusting to the End of Normal Weather

Up until recently, we thought conversations focused on the topic of weather were superficial conversations. When people had nothing to talk about, we said that they just talked about the weather.

In the last few years the weather has reemerged as a dynamic and pertinent force in all our lives. Most people have personal experiences or anecdotes of people close to them that disrupt any sense that weather is a static backdrop to our worlds. The weirding of weather, rather than warming or cooling of the climate, is the phrase that is most descriptive of what is beginning to happen.

Thomas Friedman spends a great deal of time in “Hot, Flat and Crowded” on the economic, spiritual and social ramifications of these changes that are only just beginning. Whether it is the loss of crop production, life or habitat, the weather extremes upend notions of equilibrium. The thought that we may be the cause of these disturbances also changes our relationship to nature’s drama. We may be reaping what we sowed over a century of unconsciousness.

Just as we orient ourselves by the dependable rising and setting of the sun, or the geology of the place we call home, we used to orient ourselves by the rhythms of seasons and the patterns of rain, winds and annual cycles. We have lost one of our compass bearings. As the needle spins more and more wildly, and weird is the only thing we can depend upon, how do we orient? What is it in the human psyche that is being fractured as we are forced to surrender notions of external stability? How deep do those fracture lines run and what do those subterranean reverberations invite us to open to?