The one thing we have in common.

July 21, 2012 § 4 Comments

I was out for my morning walk.

He was out for his.

“Nice and cool this morning,” I said, slowing just a little.

“Be some rain after a while,” he said, slowing too.

“That’ll help keep things cool,” I said as we passed each other.

I could have said, “Your dog’s been getting out a lot again lately. I know he’s not a biter, but he’s kind of scary.” I could have said, “Where do you get all that trash you heap up in your front yard?”

But the purpose of an early morning encounter is peaceful agreement, the exchange of a quiet benediction.

Our acknowledgement of each other may be as brief as a nod.  But if conversation is traded it will always involve the weather.

Beyond our control but omnipresent, it is the one thing we share, the one thing we can agree on. If the weather is beneficent we congratulate each other. If the weather is bad we bemoan our victimhood.

“Man it’s hot out here!”

“Hottest summer I can remember.”

Nothing will be said about the fact that one of the walkers has just lost his job or that the other is worried about her sick father. Both feel reassured. We’re in this together, two human being suffering a hot summer.

The day before yesterday a double rainbow appeared as I was walking my dog. “Moo, look at that! A double rainbow!”

Moo sniffed a mailbox post intently.

“Over there, Moo, look!”

Moo sniffed the other side of the post.

I was tempted to knock on the nearest door. The double rainbow belonged to all of us—our shared weather was putting on a spectacular show.

I had barely looked around to see whose house I was near when the ends of the rainbows faded, and then the brilliant colors became grainy and transparent and the rainbows dissolved.

I mentioned the double rainbow to my friend Kary as we walked our dogs in the evening. She said someone had posted the fact they’d seen a double rainbow on Facebook. The double rainbow was mentioned in the Democrat’s “Zing” column, a place that usually features snarky comments. Guess I wasn’t the only one who wanted to yell, “Look at that!”

Weather brings us together. I’ve lived aboard a boat when the hurricane warning flags were flying. Faced with weather’s disastrous potential everyone’s boat became common property and keeping everyone afloat a joint concern.

When weather is beautiful we brag about it. Listening to us talk you’d think we had done something worth taking credit for.

And maybe we have. We’ve forgotten, for the moment, our petty differences and found something that brings us together to celebrate or commiserate.

Rain or shine, hot or cold it’s our weather.

We’ll talk about your lose dog some other time.


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§ 4 Responses to The one thing we have in common.

  • craig reeder says:

    reminds me of something that happened to me back in June. i was in china on a teaching gig, and i was up at about 5:30 for my morning run. i looked at the rising sun. it appeared orange thru a thick layer of smog, and it looked to be in the beginning stage of an eclipse. an exceedingly rare phenomenon. at first i wasn’t sure, but when my run was over, it was obvious that an eclipse was in progress. there were only so many people i could rouse at that hour, but it was a rare treat. Ironically, it was thanks to the thick smog that we could actually look right at it. it was not a total eclipse, but it was quite a show. i’m just glad we are no longer living in a superstitious time when it would have been seen as a frightening omen.


  • Early in my childhood, before my 8th birthday and before my granddaddy Hilger died, we kids spent most of our summers alternating between the Summers’ farm in Allen, TX, and the Hilger’s 4 acre homestead on the outskirts of Greenville, TX.

    Summer storms could come up fast and without the weather channels and Doplar Radars, the only way to suppose what those clouds would bring was to watch the colors and shapes change.

    One afternoon, Granddaddy Hilger, sitting in his rocker on the front porch – ring-side seats for the show about to begin -suddenly got up and looked intently at the storm clouds. “Greenish,” he said. “Hail in those clouds. Maybe even a tornado.” We watched for a while as he narrated the changing formations, whipped by winds into towering black froth on top, and a deep olive green in the flat bottom. We waited for his pronouncement – “Gonna pass us” or “Let’s get to the cellar”. The first meant we could stay on the porch and watch, cooling off in the summer rain that lowered the temp from 100+ to 75 in only a few minutes. The second meant danger and there was no time to waste.

    I still look for those signs when the afternoon storms come. We built our FL home with a central closet – stocked with all those survival needs: water, crackers, peanut butter (and knife), and a battery operated radio!


  • This is lovely. Not only the idea, but that you in this particular year are walking every morning when I remember Slow Dance bringing us different ambulatory info only a few months back.

    The steps in common on our collective morning walks outside our little neighborhoods & all over this region & extrapolating, all over the world, are an inch- by- inch way to connect on the same level. Sweet thought.

    Most of the regulars on my early a.m. route as I walk downhill, run uphill, are good neighbors in the sense that you mention. Dogs rarely loose & folks are respectful about littering. And their flowers are another source of common ground – but their yard signs…. sometimes they let me know we pull different levers.

    Thanks for this amble.


  • KM Huber says:

    The weather has been an e-mail topic for my mother and for me for some years now. As you say, it provides us a place to be, something to share.Our e-mails are far fewer these days but the weather provides us an assured way of expressing our love.

    Enjoyed this one very much, Adrian.



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