This NEW YEAR has begun in a rainy fashion. The weather is a ready topic of conversation for anyone because it affects us all, informing the way we drive, altering our moods, influencing what we choose to wear, changing how we spend our time.
There are things that bind us all together while declaring our individuality. We are all affected by our environment, for sure; however, we do not all make the same choices as we walk, drive, stand, dance under the same rain-cloud.
Thinking of Ways of Vesture’s New Year’s post, I wanted to start the year off in a fashion that was full of hope or resolution, but the gloom in the soggy air seeped into my soul, and I had no inspiration. I was more gloomy than the heavy greyblue clouds above me. Unfortunately, as Percy Shelley explains in his “Defense of Poetry,” we cannot wake up and declare to the world: today, I will be inspired! That is simply not how inspiration works.
On New Year’s Day (Happy 2013!), my handsome feller, Trent, and I set out on a little adventure to celebrate my impending birthday. (Did I mention that my birthday is today?!?) However, the soggy weather threatened not only the little picnic Trent had packed but also our goodwill towards each other and towards the day’s possibilities, too.
After a little tiff, then kiss-and-make-up, we resolved to make the most of the day, despite many small changes in plans due to inclement circumstances. In some ways, I feel like life is often like this. Often when I make great plans and expect them to go a certain idyllic way, the littlest of details derail my train bound for greatness. It is in these moments that I remember that however different the truth might be from what I expect, it is still good to know. Wendell Berry reminds me “that the truth is good to know, and that it is always both different and larger than we thought.”
Being upset because I cannot have a sunshiney birthday picnic in the rain is not only useless but foolish. Rather, I was reminded that at the outset of my plans, my goal was to find beauty, as my goal often is, and there is beauty in a rain cloud. There is beauty in walking the earth under the colorful shelter of an umbrella. Beauty in taking photos for my blog in an abandoned and unfinished mini-market, which is exactly what we did.
We snuck inside the skeletal storefront, which, apropos to the day’s theme, was built for a different purpose than it served that day. Instead of housing a fluorescent grocery store or neon tanning booths, this partially constructed building sheltered Trent and I from the storm, so we could document the birthday girl, wearing her favorite material (LACE) and her favorite color (MUSTARD) and her favorite shoes (OXFORDS), which were all documented by her favorite fellow. Things are not always what one might expect, but that…well, that’s an exciting part of living.