AFTER THE RAIN…. by Rosemary Lord

UmbrellaAfter the rain cometh the fair weather, quoth Aesop –  

        …… he of the many pearls of wisdom.

            I was thinking about this recently, having spent a lot of time in inclement climates. After years of growing up in rainy England, I made a new life in Los Angeles where it was claimed, “It never rains in Southern California….”  Hmmm.

            Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was with my family in England. I find myself working long hours, seven days a week in Hollywood, so my only break from this is to fly far, far away from it all.

            Of course it rained, and it was dark by 5 pm. But it was cozy, and the Christmas lights and busy shops and crowded London streets were cheerful. For a while. I’m just not used to being so cold anymore.

            Umbrella over SunMy siblings and I spent a few days in southern Greece, where the Mediterranean sunshine was very welcome. It was on the cool side, but the feel of even the winter sun on our faces was such a tonic.  However, later on, after the sun dipped down setting into the reddening sky over the Aegean Sea, the thunder rolled in and lightening crackled and cracked. The heavens opened up and rain lashed out, whipping across the beaches and coastal village throughout the night. It was spectacular to watch – and rather scary to listen to, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep because it was so loud. But it was dramatic and exciting.

            In the morning, a weaker November sun began the task of drying up the pavements and puddles. These spectacular night storms that vanished at dawn continued for several days.

            When we drove back to Athens for our return flight to Gatwick, we stopped en route for lunch in Ancient Corinth. The winter sun had warmed considerably as we sat on the terrace of a small taverna, enjoying a simple Greek salad and souvlaki, at the foot of the Temple of Apollo. Rain seemed a distant memory.

           Lady with Umbrella We arrived back in England in the dark. It was freezing cold. Thirty degrees. I had forgotten the misery of the bitingly cold, damp, weather of my early years.

            The rain and the cold continued when we took a day-trip down to Hastings in Sussex. With the drip, drip of rain somehow getting inside my collar, wet hair plastered to my head and the wind lashing around my icy, mauve-with-cold face, we braced ourselves for a walk along the pebbled beach where many Foyle’s War episodes had been filmed, then hurried into the warmth a local café for fish and chips and hot cuppa (cup of tea). Bliss.

            I don’t remember England being this cold – or wet. My energy seemed focused on trying to keep warm and dry. My family teased me about being ‘soft’ and spoiled by the artificial life in Hollywood, where Christmas day is usually sunny. It was the warmth of having my family around me that made it so special. We chatter continuously and laugh a lot. But I’m not sure I would want to get used to the endless gray skies and rain again.  

And so I came back home to sunny California.

            It certainly was warmer in Hollywood the first couple of days; the sky was blue with just a few wispy clouds. Hallelujah! Then it started. A pitter-patter on my windows. Oh no – not again! For the following three days, the rain bucketed down and skies remained dark.

            But then it stopped. The next day it was blue skies and sunshine and I got my smile back.

            I realized that it wasn’t just the rain and overcast skies that had been getting to me. It was that time of year. Many of us silently panic that the year is rolling to a close and we have not finished what we promised ourselves we would do. Uncompleted To Do lists, abandoned projects, all those holiday gifts and cards to buy and taxes to start thinking about. Writers have unfinished stories and articles to write. I certainly do. And what about that extra weight we were going to lose?  But what’s the point of dieting now, at the eleventh hour, with all the holiday parties and meals with friends and family almost upon us. What’s the point, with all the chocolate appearing everywhere we look? No point at all. (She says, savoring another favorite Quality Street chocolate: a purple wrapper this time.)

            So we resolve to switch to healthy salads and fruit plates in the New Year. This time I mean it! Except that the winter has only just started and salad weather seems a long way off. We’re about to have the shortest day of the year… January and February can be very cold, wet and gloomy. Lots of rain. Oh dear.

            But there’s another way to look at it. Especially if you’re a writer. Winter’s the best time to shut oneself away and write, with no distractions. You can’t really potter in the garden, should you have one. So you might as well stay inside and write. No matter how gray the sky is, how torrential the rain or how short the days are outside, we are inside, with an extra layer of sweaters on and perhaps a wooly scarf to keep the draughts out, and a clever little heater aimed at our feet, keeping us warm as toast.

And we write – and write. Typing away, as our imagination takes flight. It is the best time to do what makes us feel alive: the best time to write. We shut ourselves away in our own literary world. And with a little discipline and lots of cups of tea or mugs of coffee, we turn out yet another masterpiece with our name on.

Lady Typing 2

            Then one day, we realize that it’s not so cold. A scarf and a layer of sweaters get discarded, the heater gets turned down a notch. When we finally look out of the window again, there is the smattering of blue patches in the sky.  

            He was right. Aesop, that is. After the rain cometh the fair weather – with all the possibilities of the spring season, with summer to follow. And a tumult of new ideas and fresh approaches to our writing.

            Clever lad, Aesop also said that the level of our success is limited only by our imagination. That is something writers have in spades. Imagination. So what are you going to work on to get you through this winter? Where will your imagination take you?

…………………end………………………..

17 thoughts on “AFTER THE RAIN…. by Rosemary Lord”

  1. What a beautiful way to leave the old year full of both showers and sunshine and make ready for the coming year and its promises, dreams, and plans, many of which we will complete because we want to be true to ourselves, even if the road is slightly different than what we saw at the beginning. You always provide a window into our lives, Rosie. Thanks, and Happy New Year as well as a Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gayle. I always try to find a positive – or a different – side to every situation. I guess that’s part of my writer’s imagination. Merry Christmas back at ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you pointed out the gloomy skies in England, Rosemary, and put everything back into perspective as to why we love it here instead. I well remember growing up in that bone-chilling damp climate, although St. Ives in Cornwell did sneak in more slices of sun. Climate change has come to England, with some blistering hot summer days and few buildings with air conditioning. Thanks for your special philosophy – with writers like you, who needs Aesop and his Fables?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jill – fellow ‘West-Country Girl.’ I was born in Somerset, in The West Country, close to Devon and Cornwall. My family love living in England, but I had different dreams: Hollywood beckoned. Besides, England is the most beautiful place to be in the summer – whichever day it falls on!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad I’m not the only one with computer issues, Linda! And yes – I did have a wonderful time over there with my family. It was very special. But I came back with bronchitis, which made me re-evaluate the cold and the rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Speaking of hiding out from the rain and writing, the imagery in your post, Rosemary, had me shivering, then beaming, then shivering again! And so agree, it’s not just the winter weather, but the time of year that brings a “reckoning” point, but I’ve been working on that aspect of winter and a new year for awhile–fewer resolutions and/or promises to self or others. Tada!

    I could especially see you at the foot of the Temple of Apollo, and in the gift shop (smile). This was a most loverly post, even with the rain chill (I’m from Chicago and can certainly imagine) and I’m going back and read your post again. Love seeing the world through your eyes.

    As to your question on where will my imagination take me–it’s always a surprise what pops up–often not what I suspect. Right now, I’m thinking about a female protagonist who lives at a RV park south of Shine’ and has a spirit guide to help solve her solve mysteries/problems…at least that’s the start of the idea.

    Who knows what “…the fair weather” will bring–but your post has built up excitement in my writing brain. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mad – So glad to give your imagination a nudge. Your new idea of the woman in the RV with a spirit guide sounds intriguing. I know you’ll come up with a wonderful literary offering – so just keep warm and dry! Thanks for your lovely words…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely post, Rosemary. I could relate. After spending November in Australia and New Zealand, where it was not only warm, but actually spring, I found it difficult to adjust to the cooler weather and shorter daylight (by about six hours!) in Washington. But the relentless sunshine in LA drained me as much as constant gray skies would, and living with four seasons suits me. As you say, winter is my time to hunker down and write, and when spring arrives I’ll have those warmer temperatures and longer days again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Miko – you lucky traveler! It’s odd the affect cold and rain has on us, isn’t it? And I, too, love the different seasons – which I am lucky enough to see when I visit my family. It’s just sometimes you can enough of the cold and rain – so I hunker down and write….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love winter! I’m kind of a cave woman and hibernating suits me. Plus I’m not much of a gardener. A couple of months of writing sounds most luxurious. Thanks for an uplifting post, Rosemary. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A similar quote from Psalms – Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I love California winters – cool, a bit of rain, sunny days. I hope you can dig in these chilly winter days and write write write.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that quote, ” – joy comes in the morning.” A very comforting thought.
      And it is my intention this winter to write, write, write. Thanks Jackie.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s winter solstice today, the shortest day, dark and dreary. A good excuse for finishing off my Metaxa Greek brandy. Another excellent blog Rose, you must devote more of your time to writing. That’s an order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, big bro – our sojourns in Greece inspire me to get back to being a fulltime writer – instead of spending all my time saving the Woman’s Club! So – a lovely resolution for the New Year.
      Glad you like the writing….

      Liked by 1 person

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