Monday, June 6, 2011

what I'm reading: the pleasure of weather from CS Lewis

I love to walk in all kinds of weather (any kind except hot, really - nothing worse than sweat and uncooled muscles). I love to walk in the cold, face and hands icy. I love to walk in the wind; I close my eyes and imagine it's blowing clean across the ocean. Best of all, I love to walk on those paradoxical Autumn days when the sun is warm and the air crispy-cold.

I love to walk in the rain, whether in a civilized manner, with an umbrella, or unplanned, caught in the open with hair dripping. Everything glistens. The trees are veiled, mysterious. Your shoes take in water. You walk in the door, and the house is warm, your clothes damp, your face chilled and wet - which is all part of the fun.

It was CS Lewis (and my mother, who delighted in thunderstorms and rain on the roof) who taught me to enjoy weather. When I'm caught in the rain, I remember what he learned from a teacher:

I fancy it was on a run with him in the sleet that I first discovered how bad weather is to be treated - as a rough joke, a romp.
While searching (unsuccessfully) for this quote on line, I discovered another one. It describes an attitude to weather as necessary in Melbourne as in England:

"Don't you like a rather foggy day in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."

Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.

"That's why Camilla and I got married, " said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."

"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane. "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."

"It's the other way around," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it is you grown up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."

"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.

"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla. "Any child loves rain if allowed to go out and paddle about in it."
When it hails or rains heavily, my husband calls the children to the front porch and they stand and watch it pelting down. One of their greatest pleasures is to run bare-skinned in the rain, up and down the back verandah. They melt hail on their tongues and catch the rain in cups and taste the snow and watch for lightning and splash around in mud.

The pleasure of weather isn't just for childhood.

Quotes are from CS Lewis Surprised by Joy and That Hideous Strength.

image is by VinothChandar from flickr

3 comments:

Amanda said...

I love this post, I love weather too!

Cath said...

I loved this post - such a good reminder. I loved this bit: "It's the other way around," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it is you grown up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for." Good old CSL - such insights into human nature!

Maolsheachlann said...

I thought you might like to know that I also went looking for this quotation online and found it because of your post! Thanks a bunch from a Lewis-loving Catholic in Dublin, Ireland!