Life is Weather

“Life is weather,” writes James Salter in his 1975 novel. Light Years.

When it appeared, like a cirrus cloud on the page, I read this sentence again and again. It might be the most arresting three-word sentence I have ever read. It is a sentence about weather that has nothing to do with meteorology, but might have something to do with forecasting or not forecasting changes. It reminds me of sentence written by Henry Miller: “I like men with weather in their blood.”

I tend to like people with weather in their blood and lives. Some dogs have that quality as well. Sonny did.

What does the statement “life is weather” mean or imply? It seems like a good question to take up when weather knocks the power out or seeps water through windows. Wind just shook my domicile. Even better.

Almost 18 months ago the weather in my life instantly changed and I am still trying to come up with a proper adjective to describe the change. There was no forecast for this change in the weather of my life.

I have had to adapt to the new weather, wear a new face, walk a different walk, learn to live almost totally alone in a far-off territory where I don’t have any familiarity with the weather. Gimme shelter. I am tacking into a different wind that blows in 10,000 directions. I found strong shelter in new non-fair weather friends. The didn’t give me shelter, they offered. Had they not, I would have faded away.

It occurs to me as I write this that Bob Dylan had many interesting things to say about weather and their metaphors.

Reading Salter’s Light Years (which I highly recommend for his unique command of brevity and staccato in fiction) perhaps has changed the weather in how I must write about my life and other people’s lives. Perhaps fiction is the new climate to explore ideas of friendship, love, wind, rain, marginalization and despair. Is the cultural climate right for a novel I envision about the changes in my life’s weather? Perhaps not.

I wish I could forecast what will happen to me in 2018. It’s impossible. I intuit, however, that drastic weather changes in other people’s lives will somehow intersect with mine. Call it a blending of big weathers. The wind brings many interesting things.

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