These dark days in November, it’s easy to start hating everything. Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to be pleased about leaden skies, soggy shoes and no sign of the warmth of the sun on your face for a long time to come.
I think this holds true for a lot in life these days too. There’s a hugely unsettling undertone of unrest in the air at the moment. Brexit, Trump, Bake Off moving to Channel 4 – the world as we know it is changing, and a lot of the time it’s hard to feel happy about it. With a rising sense of panic, many of us are now wondering how to keep our fingers gripping on to the edge of the things that we love, the values we care about and what it means to just be a normal, compassionate human in the face of what seems to be omni-present fuckwittery in public office. Yes Farage. I’m talking to you.
However, it’s unrealistic to think that it will never rain. Winter comes round every year. We get cold. We think dark thoughts. It feels as though the sun will never shine on us again. But what if we could embrace that feeling?
The product of two fanatically outdoorsy parents, I’ve had it drilled into me that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. In fact, some of the best and most exhilarating times I’ve had have been outdoors in the lashing rain, wind thumping in our faces and the cold reminding us how very warm and alive we actually are in the face of the elements. I think we need to feel the same about the down times in the rest of our lives.
There will always be difficult days. Whether that’s forgetting your umbrella on the school run, or the fact that the imminent leader of the free world has the intellect of a ham sandwich, it’s idiotic to expect these times not to come. Put on your ‘appropriate clothing’ and carry on going out, that’s what I say.
Recognise that for every rainstorm, there will be a warm dry house somewhere, waiting for you to come in and realise your heart is still beating. For every freezing wind so hard it knocks you off your feet, there will come a time when you can laugh at how you must have looked, dust yourself off and plow on head down into the storm. For every night too dark to want to leave the safety of your home, there will be a summer evening, light, sweet with birdsong and the promise of starlit skies. Maybe not in the next day, the next week. But sure as the seasons, the earth will still turn.
For anyone going through dark times at the moment, whether it’s on a personal, political or just seasonal level – look up. The same rain that soaks you to the bone is also soaking the grass, making it grow, ready to lie on in the summer when your heart is lighter and you find you’ve made it through the winter.
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