Some years ago I used to sit in the park, every day, come sunshine, cold, wind, or rain I would find myself there.
At the time it seemed something of an aimless pastime, just a habit really. The park was not that pretty, nor the bench entirely comfortable; and I did not feel any great unburdening of my troubles or uplifting commune with nature.
Yet it seems that everything serves a purpose to light the road that we travel yonder...
Each day, in that mostly empty park, I would watch as a lady, somewhat nondescript, (well in truth she may have been very ‘descript’. I don’t remember too much about her features, which is not the same thing) would walk past me.
Though we never spoke she became a part of my pattern, my daily routine.
When it was cold she would wear a thick furred woollen coat with heavy boots,
when it was warm she would never wear boots, instead sandals, a light cardigan and skirt.
When it was windy she would lean forwards into the wind tucking her arms deep into pockets to make the most efficient progress she could.
When it was raining she had a big red and blue golf sized umbrella she held close over her head to ensure that she did not get wet.
I saw this person present all of these solutions to the vagaries of daily weather, as I sat there, the same shirt and tie, with jacket either on or off according to the temperature. She like me was reliable, regular, and dependable.
I often used to think that I really ought to get myself a big golfing umbrella for those rainy days.
I never did...........And here I think is why.
One day it transpired that it was windy and raining; the wind blew a gale and the rain fell in a torrent. I had tucked my collar round my neck and wandered into the park as I did every day, raised eyebrows as I left the warmth of the office were meaningless to me, I was not even conscious of my decision to venture out, it was something that I did, therefore I did it, weather was not a factor....................
Sat on the bench, rain dripping from my fringe, I peered through the gloom, found myself wondering if the ‘lunch lady’ would herself venture forth.
She always passed at the same time, at the midpoint of my daily 40 minute stay, and as the wind tore at me and the rain dripped down my neck, I saw she had not come.
I looked along the path, I felt concern, or was it consternation, perhaps even irritation; had only I managed to stay the course?
I sat for a little longer buffeted and damp, hunched down deep into the upturned collar of my jacket.
As I prepared to set off back to work I looked up, and there in the distance I saw her, she was just at the gated entrance to the park. I would wait a little longer, I hunkered down.
After a minute or two I looked up expecting that she would be alongside, she was not...
I looked back toward the gate and realised that she had not progressed hardly more than a few yards.
What I saw that day gave seed to a metaphor in my mind that I have carried with me ever after.
In all that wind, and all that rain, that lady had on her big coat with collar pulled up, she leaned forward with all her might pressing back against the wind’s full force; and yet she was not moving forward more than an inch at a time.
It seemed that despite the right clothes, despite leaning into the wind at the right angle, at the same time she was trying to contend with the rain; and so to prevent from getting soaked she had put up her large golf umbrella, and pulled it down tightly over her head.
The wind was tugging mightily at the umbrella and as it flapped around, I could see that the lady was getting soaked; and in turn the umbrella was adding exponentially to the wind’s power and so slowing her progress to an infinitesimal rate. She was getting nowhere......
I got up and left the park, and I never went back there again after that day.
And the metaphor (A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, often something abstract).
When dealing with thoughts and feelings in the same moment trying to attend to both leads to a failure to address either.
And so for my own experience, like the lady battling wind and rain, I realized how by not separating the two, I invariably invested huge amounts of me for barely any progress at all………..
Since that day I have preferred to take my pick, thoughts or feelings, one at a time but never both.
And so I may get wet or I may get windblown but I will get home before the sun goes down…………..David Jackman 31st May 2013
I LIKE THIS ...
Weather forecast for tonight.....dark.
I LIKE THIS... The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil....
I LIKE THIS... We may have bad weather in Ireland but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm...
I LIKE THIS... No one but night, with tears on her dark face,
watches beside me in this windy place.
EDNA ST. V. MILLAY
I LIKE THIS... The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? ~J.B. PRIESTLEY