Last night’s rain made music on my skylights and caused the concerns of neighbors to become somewhat lifted, as we have had too much dry weather for far too long. During a drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains, I could see the waterless brown undergrowth in the forest look even less alive than brown–more like a gray corpse, if the floor were not leafed in freshly fallen reds and yellows. When the years are wet I quickly become tired of the less than astonishing gray that clings to the sky and the upper limbs of the redwoods, but this day the gray look, which is normal, seems refreshing. If we have anywhere near a normal wet winter, I’m sure that I will begin ranting about the lack of sunshine. My disposition is always seeking equanimity and looks to the weather as a way of keeping balanced. When I read journal entries from my past, I pay attention to what I might have written about the weather, because that will tell me so much about what was going on inside of me that day.
I learned from reading Thoreau’s journal regularly that he would often frame his journal entries by first discussing the weather. Sometimes he will discuss at great length, if the conditions are particularly interesting, and other times only a casual mention, if the day is fair. Massachusetts weather offers so much more to write about than does that of California, so California weather watchers take more careful note of only slight differences between the days. My days on the central coast are not that tough to categorize–fog, no fog; rain, no rain; wind, no wind. If I have omitted any of the predominant patterns, I then have special writing material for another day.
The time of day when I am looking and thinking over a journal topic also has an influence on how my words come out. Morning brightness, especially when accompanied with summer warmth, makes me feel less eager to be sitting indoors hugging a computer monitor. On such days, I will go out, instead, and drink of my inspiration from the glory of the day, and hope that I might retain some of that feeling to add into my word flow. Afternoons this past year, since leaving the corporate world of cubism behind me, now have room in them to summon forth a spell of writing energy.
The seasons, the variegated streaks of light that they produce, and the novel mingling of new colors with those that been visiting here for awhile, cause me to take account of thoughts and feelings that may not so easily surface once the season is in full display. I watched an infant the other day trying to react with a toy in front of him and noticed how he was having difficulty seeing and touching it. Sometimes my own senses need to be adjusted or fine-tuned to understand what is directly in front of me.