We were experiencing a mid-November thunderstorm this morning, starting with a soft rain that escalated into lightning and a low rumbling off in the distance. I often see the world's weather patterns as mirrors of where we are in the world. I don't mean geographically, I'm referring to our thoughts if not our fears. Yes, it can be seen in something as large as Sandy, when just before the election the entire nation seemed to be waiting in fear for whatever storm would soon be realized. Perhaps it's in the wind which will sometimes arrive in gale proportions, blowing up dust that almost obliterates the emotional landscape causing confusion about which direction our lives should take. Or it arrives with the rain, either torrential or softly falling, depending on our outlook, literally. In my neck of the woods it can arrive in a snowstorm. Let me give you an example out of my own life.
Many years ago (a lot of my stories seem to begin this way now), in the late 1970's, after my first divorce, I was traveling as a salesperson around the upper mid-west selling Native American jewelry, made in the southwest, to jewelry stores who were just becoming aware of the resurgence of interest in this type of jewelry. Fashion magazines had caught on to it and sales were rapidly improving.
I was in the southern part of the state in early March, staying overnight at a motel along the interstate, filled with anxiety and uncertainty about a relationship I had become involved in. Our relationship began in the summer, having met in the library in this town where I now live, but he always went to Minneapolis to work for the winter and the winter had been long. Trying to maintain a long distance relationship, particularly before the advent of cellphones or email, was problematic, to say the least.
I had already come to see signs and symbols in life, and so that night in the motel became sort of a not-so-fun House of Mirrors. The fact that the light switch, which was also a flourescent night light, had a family praying around a table with the mother's head missing was a bit unnerving. I tried not to read too much into it and fitfully fell asleep.
Sometime overnight, a snowstorm blew in that quickly developed into blizzard proportions. I was supposed to be in Minneapolis for an appointment with a well-known jewelry store and a date with my boyfriend to see "The Deer Hunter," a film we were both looking forward to seeing. I decided to go ahead and make an attempt at Minneapolis, which was about two hours away normally. As I was leaving town in the storm, a state trooper stopped me and told me that if I insisted on leaving town no one would come out to rescue me. I would be on my own.
Fairly young and overly foolish, I left town, heading north into the heart of the storm. It didn't take long before I started praying. Cars had slid under semi-trucks and several others were sprawled in the ditches on both sides, which was not exactly encouraging. Visibility was pretty much zero. I was flying almost on intuition, as weird as that might sound. Then, right in front of me was a UPS truck. I could barely make out his taillights. I followed them, hoping he would remain on the road, as he was my only hope (dare I add Obi Wan Kenobi?)
This went on mile after endless mile. After a while, I could see that this was really a ground blizzard. The snow was viciously blowing across the open prairie, but blue skies were shining right above me. I could see them, but not experience them. It was this ray of hope that kept me going. There was no going back, I had to keep moving forward, see what unfolded, and expect a positive outcome. The expectation of good had become a spiritual practice for me. Practice being the key word.
Not long after that affirmation, it was as though a veil had lifted with a line drawn across the entire landscape. The snow not only had stopped, but there was no evidence it ever existed. If it was behind me, I couldn't see it. There were beautiful blue skies and clear roads without even a hint of ice or snow. I drove into Minneapolis in gratitude.
I didn't make it to my appointment with the jewelry store that day. We rescheduled, with a substantial sale as the outcome. The date with my boyfriend was another matter. Yes, we did go to see "The Deer Hunter" that evening. What we were not prepared for was the emotional assault the movie would inflict on us, and so, afterwards, not being fully aware of what happened, we got into a terrible argument and the relationship, already balancing rather precariously, was derailed. We made several attempts to get back on track, none of them successful.
I'm not even sure what my original point was, but maybe it's this: sometimes, and maybe always, the weather seems to be an indicator of my emotional landscape and it might serve me well to look around and see what's happening out there that's indicative of what's happening in here, in my mind and even my heart. And then remember that I can control the "weather" through my thoughts and my desire to find peace and contentment in life as I move forward with greater assurance of a positive and healthy outcome.
Anyhoo, this whole train of thought probably should have been derailed before I let it leave the station, but it all started because I couldn't get this darn song out of my head. About the same time this story took place, I was also singing in a country and western band on the weekends and I would often sing the songs of Jessi Colter. This one hopped on board my train of thought yesterday afternoon and now I'm stuck with it for a while. Here's Jessi and her hubby, Waylon Jennings, who passed on in 2002:
"And every road we took, God knows, our search was for the truth...."
The photo of my back yard was taken a short time ago, after the storm, a light rain still falling....
Dear Teresa, first, let me apologize. I've been away from blogging since last Tuesday because I haven't felt all that well. But today, I'm back on track and trying to catch up with the bloggers whose postings speak to me--as yours does. However, I want to get to all of them today. So reading the posts you've written since I last came to your blog on Monday is beyond me right now.ReplyDelete
I would like, however, to respond to your posting today, which spoke forcefully to me. A psychiatrist once encouraged me and showed me how to get in touch with what I was feeling at any time. And once I'm there to figure out how I got into that feeling--what led me to be sad or happy, discouraged or melancholy, etc. And then I can choose to stay with that feeling, knowing that it was prompted most often by something outside myself or I can choose to return to a balance within myself.
Does that make sense? I had to do this on Thursday when for some reason I found myself feeling anxious. Unsure. As if something were broken within my heart. But when I considered what had occurred that day--a passing trifle of a thing--I came to peace. And that's what I wish you now: Peace and the gratitude that I always experience when I read the stories you write about your life. Your reflections always bring many thoughts to my mind and I thank you for that. Peace.
Hi Dee, Never, ever feel any need to apologize about reading my posts. It's a lot to keep up with sometimes! I write because I must. It's a big part of who I am now. I am glad this post resonated with you. I sat down this morning and had no idea this was going to emerge. It took me completely by surprise which is always interesting.Delete
I have learned that whenever feelings arise, no matter what might appear to be the cause, I really need to look inside myself for freedom from the anxiety that wants to creep in. Choosing to return to a balance within myself is essential to my well-being, all aspects of it.
We seem to live in anxious times, with many people struggling with their own issues and the thing I'm trying to remember is everybody is doing the best they can where they're at.
I'm so glad my stories speak to you with a sense of peace. Peace is so important. Thank you, Dee.
I enjoy your stories so much. The Deer Hunter was unsettling. Normally I watch a movie several times, but I've never wanted to go back to that one??? Didn't know that you sold Native American jewelry too??? Guess that's why you understood my addiction to turquoise...hahaha! I listen to weather, listen to storms, listen to either the quiet or the howl...it's like a great teacher.ReplyDelete
Hi TM, It was a very powerful movie, and unsettling to say the least.Delete
Yes, I understood, I have had a lifelong love affair with turquoise and NA silver jewelry. Perhaps a separate post sometime.... :)
I believe the weather is inside, not outside, as are all things. IMO only. :)
Interesting look into your past, Teresa. I cannot imagine how a relationship like that could have weathered the storm of that movie. I was babysitting for some friends who came back from that movie so traumatized from it that I've never seen it.ReplyDelete
Not being much of a c/w fan, I had never heard that song, but I truly enjoyed it. Thank you for this today. Sending you good vibes. :-)
Thanks, Jan, Very much appreciated. :)Delete
i forgot that the "Old Outlaw" had a wife all those years. Didn't know much about his personal life but I loved his music.ReplyDelete
Don't you wonder how your life would have gone if you made different decisions early on.
We can change the "weather" and usually those choices are the best ones.
Yes, I have considered the choices I made and what might have been, but I don't linger long. I repeatedly made choices that moved away from the country music world, even leaving relationships behind that I knew would lead me down roads where I would lose myself. I've seen fame up close and it has a very unhappy side to it.Delete
We always have choices, always. Thank you.
I love the Deer Hunter. I watch it at lease once a year. It offers so much about who we are and how life changes us... and the consequences of our choices, good or bad. Beautiful movie.ReplyDelete
It certainly does have consequences, as do our choices. And as I said above, we always have choices. We let them inform our lives and often become trapped by them. I've been fortunate in that I didn't allow that to happen.Delete
I think I will watch it this fall. Might be good for me.
I agree, the weather has a profound effect on us, as does the moon, sun and all nature.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you have led a very interesting life.
..and still are. Love the photo of your back yard.
Interesting, indeed. For a small town girl it's been most interesting. And it ain't over. :)Delete
Thanks! I had forgotten how much I liked that song. And storms.ReplyDelete
I do love storms, and have always slept better in the midst of one at night. Safely inside, of course. :)Delete
It's funny how old songs will pop in out of seeming nowhere....
I love this post - that you just let it go where it would.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Linda! Some posts seem to have a life of their own. :)Delete
I'm stuck on that blizzard. Years ago I, too, drove into a couple of those, without warning. The fear nearly drove me off the road. I can feel it as I type this. I never saw the storms as reflections of my life, but they certainly added stress to whatever else was going on! I do know that I'm much more attuned to weather when I'm at the lake or in a small town than when I'm here in the urban heat island.ReplyDelete
They can become almost debilitating in more ways than one. This one stands out due to how I dealt with it and that taught me some valuable lessons.Delete