Saturday, November 12, 2011

Inspiration from the Weather

Think of a scene.

A funeral. A graveside.

What is the weather like?

Is it raining, an external expression of someone's unshed tears?

Is it sunny and beautiful, like the lovely spirit of the departed? Or does that sun seem to mock the grief of the mourners?

Maybe you find these images a little too...ordinary. What else can you use? What emotions do you want the scene to tell?

A severe ice-storm was forecasted to hit Kansas within hours of my great-grandmother's funeral. The "adults" were thankful that the grave had been dug before the ground hardened. As my teeth chattered through the graveside ceremony, I stared at the pink roses and violet delphiniums, which I had helped to choose, atop the casket. They were spring-y and youthful; my grandma would have said, "Pretty, pretty!" They were in such opposition to the threatening weather.

As we turned to leave the site, I felt awful. Not just sad, but guilty about leaving her frail body to the icy grip of the storm, while we gathered in the warm family circle of which she had always been the center. The ice storm hit that night, knocking out miles of power lines and canceling flights for a week. It seemed appropriate. Great-Grandma was dead; normal life had stopped. We had a lifetime of empty Sunday afternoons ahead of us. A lifetime of Yahtzee and Skipbo without her. A lifetime of birthdays without her heart-shaped pink cakes. A lifetime of holidays where she wasn't there to call everyone together.The bad weather improved eventually. The grief lasted longer, the sadness and loss continue today.

Do you have a story where weather played a role? Did it change something in the story? Did your emotions change how you looked at the weather?


  1. You know, I always forget to think about the weather, but I do like your example. I shall have to keep the weather in mind.

  2. When I reread and edit this manuscript, I know that I'm going to have to add a little stronger than "there was a slight breeze!" I don't think there's much animal life either - shouldn't a pigeon be cooing somewhere? Oh the things we forget to "feel/hear/see/taste" in our writing...