Yesterday evening, as I let my dog out for her bedtime pee, I could feel the distinct chill of fall in the air. Summer will soon be drawing to a close, no sooner than it began it seems. Especially here in Toronto where unseasonal rain and cool temperatures left us waiting with baited breath for it to begin. Families are closing their cottages, the kids are heading back to school, and many of us are on the verge of packing away our sunny disposition for another year.
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I respect the legitimacy of your disorder and don’t deem myself worthy of offering advice. While I have first-hand experience with depression, it’s never been seasonal and I’m no expert on the matter. If, however, you simply find yourself feeling a little bummed at the prospect of summer’s departure, I’d like to share three little words that help me maintain a sunny disposition year-round:
Weather is weather
“No shit, Sherlock,” you may say. Yes, I know, I’ve just stated the obvious, but let me tell you the story behind the words that have become a favourite mantra of mine.
My Grandma Berta, may she rest in peace, passed away just shy of her 103rd birthday a few years ago. While I didn’t chat with her often enough (hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?), we did enjoy frequent long-distant calls between her home in England and mine in Canada. Besides weekly visits with my parents, she didn’t get out and about much so she had little news to share with me. Instead, she took joy in listening to me ramble — about my work, my husband, my daughter, and even my dog. And of course, she would always ask about the weather. It’s what we do, right?
Living in a country of extremes, I would tell her about the heat and humidity, the cold and the windchill factor, the sun, sleet, rain, slush and snow. And at the end of every meteorological update, regardless of its contents, she would say to me, “oh well, weather is weather.” Or more precisely, “oh vell, veder is veder.” (She had a strong Hungarian accent.)
Those three little words always made me smile, but I don’t think I truly took them on board until she died. From then on, every time she came to mind, so did her words. In fact, they were so prominent after her passing that I decided to designate them her legacy to me.
Despite her stormy past, she had a sunny disposition
My grandma had a sister called Rosie. Her life was anything but. Yes, she lived a long and healthy life. But she was long-predeceased by her husband, her siblings, and even one of her sons. And that was just the latter part of her life. The early part was no picnic. I’ll spare you the details because this post is about the weather, not the Holocaust. Suffice to say she experienced more suffering than those who haven’t walked a similar path could ever imagine. A path along which her survival was dependent on her inner strength, because she could not control the outside elements. A path that can’t help but teach you not to sweat the small stuff, albeit in the harshest way. One that taught me to pursue a sunny disposition, whatever the weather.
And so it is that I find myself sitting on my back deck, enjoying this cool summer day while thinking about the cosy fall sweaters that await me. I look forward to watching the leaves turn golden. I await winter’s first snowfall with joyful anticipation. And I imagine the happy chirp of morning birds come spring. Through winter, spring, summer and fall, I shall keep my spirits up. For you, dear Nagymama, for you.