Posts Tagged ‘Weather


It’s raining metaphors

Umbrella by Art.Lebedev Studio.

My original intention for this post was to compare life to the unpredictable nature of weather.

Since Spring has arrived, the weather in Amsterdam has become much more fickle and I find I can no longer make a semi-accurate forecast by simply reading the sky when I wake up. This usually worked for me in the winter, but I have lately found myself fooled on too many occasions. Lesson: you can’t judge the day’s weather based on how the sky looks at 7 in the morning, just wear layers and shoes (as much as you may hate it) and keep your stupid plastic rain pants handy.

And there it was, finally some neat and tidy little metaphor I could use to write another long-overdue blog post and remind those who read it that I have not, in fact, lost all of my fingers in some horrible accident. As I face yet another major fork in the road of life and do little but worry about every potential decision I have to make, I can look up at the changing skies and remind myself that I can’t judge something by how it looks at first, that I just have to grab my umbrella and walk out the door. Eureka! Blog, here I come! Everybody can relax now, I finally thought of something moderately clever to bore you all with for a good 3 idle minutes of your workday.

So, thusly motivated, I sat down to write and promptly realized how tired and overused not only this metaphor is, but also the subject matter in general. It bored me too quickly to even get through the first paragraph, and I realized it’s because I was basically about to rewrite the same post I’ve already written 10 times in different ways–most of them at this time last year when I was right where I am now (minus 9 months in Europe). The formula is this: my life is about to change dramatically, I’m facing another bunch of big scary decisions, I might not choose the right ones, there’s no way to know if something will work out until after it’s too late, but I have been newly reminded by some aspect of daily life that it’s all OK, that we just have to push on and make the best decision we can at the time and hope for the best. Ta-da! Enlightening, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, these cute little metaphors leave me still facing the stormy future with no fewer worries, and no more answers. And they probably leave you rolling your eyes at your computer screen thinking “deal with it” or perhaps clicking back to YouTube or textsfromlastnight where the real action is. And no, I won’t be offended if you click that link and do not read the rest of this post. It’s an addictive site.

The point is, the weather metaphor is as exhausted as I feel with so many impending decisions looming on theĀ  horizon yet again. But no one is going to give me the answers, or even a little sympathy, and it’s time to change my attitude, stop worrying and start doing. As my mom always says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” And while I think that’s bull shit, and that some weather just sucks, I admit that it’s time to hitch up my big girl panties and take the next step, whatever it turns out to be.

I just hope I wear the right jacket.


Black and White

It’s snowing! Really snowing. No one can tell me it’s hail or sleet. There are big, air-light fluffs of ice spinning and swirling and decorating the sky in millions of white polka dots. The spindly black tree branches are now laced with a fine, sugary frosting and the houseboats on the canals are dusted in a thin layer of soft ice.

Everybody here thinks I’m crazy for getting so excited about the snow. But they kept telling me it wouldn’t snow in Amsterdam – or at least not until January and even then it would be hardly anything. This rather unexpected November downfall is, I’m sure, hardly anything as far as winter weather is concerned, but it’s something I have only seen a few times in my life, and to me it is magic.

The house is warm and the soft gold lights inside provide a distinct comfort against the cold, white tangled air on the other side of the window. It is Sunday and everything seems quiet. A white-gray sky cups the city – rooftops, black cobblestones, bridges, canals – in its solid, steady and seamless presence as I sit inside this tall, crooked Dutch house, watching the blur and listening to nothing.

I stare out the window and melt in the pure happiness I get from the knowledge that I didn’t have this in California.


Where there’s rain…

Fall has officially begun. It has been raining all week, with no end in sight. Everyday I see more yellow and orange leaves hanging from the trees that line the canals. Last night, I got caught outside in a sudden and fierce hail storm (at least it seemed pretty intense to me). Lightning crackled in the muddy sky as big chunks of ice pattered on my umbrella and gathered in the gaps between the cobblestones.

Having never lived through a real winter in my life and unsure of how I’ll handle it, I feel a bit like I’m waiting for judgement day as I watch the black clouds creep over the city. Or maybe like a small forest critter huddling in a cave watching the rain fall outside, actually wondering if it will survive the next few months. The sad thing is, the worst they get here in Amsterdam is a lot of rain and high winds; they haven’t even seen a real snow storm in 20 years. It’s not as though I’m living in the Arctic Circle or some place like, say, Wisconsin. Even so, I’m a little scared.

It seems, though, that the weather is fickle enough to provide pockets of sun as the clouds move and change with the wind. Today we had about an hour of such luck, so I took the boys out for a walk before giving them lunch in the garden. I walked a little too far for comfort, too far to have an easy stroll home if it started pouring again while we were out there, and I couldn’t help but look up every five seconds to moniter the pattern of the clouds. So, this is what my life will be for the next year, I thought. Constant worry that one single rain cloud will purposefully place itself above my head and release it’s watery load, soaking myself and the children.

But then, as I turned the industrial-strength stroller with its built-in plastic rain cover around to head back towards home, I saw a rainbow. Full and bright and reaching from end to end.

I’d almost forgotten that where there’s rain, there are rainbows. And I can live with that.


Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera. But a rainbow is a rainbow. Always color, always uplifting.

"Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!" -Henry James, The Art of Fiction
December 2018
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