Is the weather trying to tell us something?
For the last month, I think we can all argue that the weather in Durham has been unpredictable to say the least. The storms blowing us over. The rain soaking through our coats. The sunshine confusing us to into thinking the weather is pleasant. It seems, as this term becomes more stressful for many, with musicals, shows, summatives, competitions, and of course the outbreak of mumps, the weather seems to be mimicking our mood swings and stresses.
80pmh winds in the recent two storms, that was so loud I imagine many us felt our houses were shaking, and the trees would fall down in the road, it seems that the weather is more and more all over the place. I must say I was not impressed when I was woken up at 3am because stuff was flying on my desk making me think my room was actually haunted and an re-enactment of some horror film was about to unfold, when actually I had just been stupid enough to not close a small window in my room.
It is almost laughable to think that we thought we were in the all clear once the lovely Ciara wondered off, before Dennis came along and starting riling everyone up with more flooding and horrific winds, and stranding Rugby supporters in Edinburgh. But, once again, we are not in the all clear, because the Met are talking about how Joyce and Hellene are about to greet us this week, blessing us with more breaking umbrellas, flooded houses, ruined items of clothing – let’s just hope the objects on my desk stay put this time. With each storm that passes, we feel the weather will get calmer, but then another one starts brewing ready to knock on our doors a few days after; perhaps like the strikes at the university, or the repeated number of times you feel you’re getting another version of ‘freshers flu’.
The strangeness of the weather does not stop there when we all fell asleep one night noticing only the coldness of the air, perhaps slight intervals of melting snow falling from the sky, to wake up to the front cover of a typical ‘White Christmas’ card. With a solid inch or two snow, it seemed so strange to think that this was February and not December, when we did not even see the sight of snow at that festive time. It felt quite cruel waking up to feel ‘Christmassy’ to be reminded of the fact it wasn’t Christmas for another 10 months, and to also have all the snow melt by 1pm in such a way that turned South Road into a water slide. Getting out inflatable rubber rings and sliding down the main road would have been safer than bracing the walk along the slippery and icy pavements.
However, while I’m sure there is much more we could all say to complain about the weather, there see
ms to be an interesting connection between the weather, and the way many of us are feeling at this point in term.
Despite being a novelistic construct, it seems pathetic fallacy is in play here, maybe not quite in the same way as the storm “rattling over the Heights in full fury” that reflects Heathcliff’s internal torment in Wuthering Heights, or the “fog” so often used in Dickens’ novels to show the emotional suffocation felt by the suffering Victorians. It seems more that the weather mimics our own feelings of not being quite in control with life as it races past, not always giving us a chance to hold and ride with the fast-flowing current of time. With all the piles of reading and work to power through, alongside an intimidating number of summatives, and all the pressure from competitive societies, applying for jobs or internships, and even within relationships and friendships, life is overwhelming.
The combination of all this leaves us feeling stressed, and making our emotions feel like they’re being pulled in so many directions, so our own internal psyche matches the unpredictability of the weather. Where our environment seems overwhelmed by the problems causing global warming, that leads to climate change, causing it to become more tumultuous and confusing, for us we face problems of stress that lead to our own imbalances of emotion.
Is it fair to feel frustrated? We all want to be able to vent our emotions in the odd tantrum or rant, but does having the weather steal all the thunder leaves us with less of the spotlight to express our emotions?
So perhaps, while we get annoyed at the weather, and find it almost as ‘having a laugh’ when we wear clothes that match the sunshine only be soaked in minutes after leaving the house, we should see the weather as an explanation of ourselves. Whether we take a clearer understanding of ourselves from this or not, it seems we should take pity on our suffering environment, as the feelings we are all feeling right now, are in a less emotional sense, mirrored in the world around us.