Spoiler alert: This seemingly negative rant has an upbeat ending. Don’t think I’ve driven off the grumpy cliff until you reach the conclusion.
Having stated that, I am so very sick of fog, grey skies, cold wind, and dampness.
Last week, I was speaking in Eastern Washington. One evening, my lovely wife and I walked to a restaurant. You know what? We didn’t have to wear a jacket, and no, we weren’t shivering, not a twitch! Nope, just a nice leisurely stroll; holding hands, wearing shorts and donned in short sleeves no less. The temperature was 75, the sky was postcard blue, a light breeze caressed our skin and in the distance, the setting sun was beginning to cast the most beautiful blood-orange red pattern behind marshmallow clouds.
Where I live, even in the spring, so much of the time you cannot go outside at night (let alone during the day) unless you’re wearing a parka, gloves, wool cap, and scarf. (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration – but not much.) It would be so wonderfully enjoyable to relax on our deck during the evening and not shiver.
Like I said, I grow weary of dreary.
And now that I’ve got my cranky pants yanked snug, I’ve also grown tired of people throwing garbage on my property during the wee hours. Many mornings I come outside for the first time (wearing parka, glove, and wool cap) and find discarded on my lawn is someone else’s trash. It could be a fast-food bag or a soda bottle. Once I found soiled diapers. Are you kidding me? I don’t get such self-centered mentality. Are there herds of self-absorbed oblivious garbage automatons who amble the dark hours randomly tossing crap on other people’s property? I mean, how hard is it to walk the extra five feet and put it in our garbage can? I give you my permission. I want my yard to look nice; this isn’t helping – and I get grumpy about it.
What can I say? I get irritable. It comes at me out of nowhere and I indulge my inner curmudgeon; as do my friends (which is probably why we’re friends). We get into the most delicious “ain’t it awful” sessions, lamenting about how different the world would be if we ran it.
But we don’t. Alas…
And in the midst of yet another temper tantrum, I watch with horror what can happen to an entire city in Oklahoma in mere minutes. Images flicker across my television showing what was once a community, just like mine; now nothing more than scattered timber, mangled automobiles, and shattered families. One day, you’re going about your business and – BAM! – Mother Nature flicks her tiny finger and everything you know is literally up-ended, destroyed, wiped out, gone.
I observe, mouth agape, as folks just like me pick through the ruins of what was once their house, expressions zombie-like, unable to accept the personal horror now confronting them. I desperately want to help, yet except for prayer, good thoughts, and a measly donation to the Red Cross, I am powerless to assist them.
There, but for the grace of God, go I.
In moments like these, I am reminded of what really matters. I am very thankful to throw away garbage from the lawn in front of my still-erect house, take my wife’s hand, bundle up in a jacket, and walk shivering into the fog.
Update on 5/23/13: A great video about a dog being saved from the tornado can be found here. Watch it.