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Who Determines the Weather?

I learned of the tradition of las cabañuelas originally while living in Guatemala. I never considered the authenticity of the tradition, meaning perhaps an less than realness to my life since its observation did not at what I called ‘home, home’, or Wisconsin. Though perhaps one year in one place was real enough, so too the predication applicable.

Inspired by someone’s comment about the weather in a spin class at a gym I no longer attend, I wrote a blog post about las cabañuelas. That was 2020. Weather. Climate. Patterns. Change.

There could not have been less irony writing a predictive post just months before a global pandemic. Only one of those would have been the predictability of lack of ability to accurately foresee weather, much less people and the climates we create. Again, I revisited the theme in 2021 in a post entitled Calendar Items.

I bought a ticket with a departure date of New Year’s Eve 2022 to visit my family in Israel. This year for the first time in what was nearing a decade, I was not ‘home, home’ to log the weather, though I’m sure my dad kept accurate note. My question became, which weather, whose weather, was THE weather that would determine my days for the months of my year?

Similarly, to the original 2020 blog post, I began keeping track of the weather each day, except each day was barely different. Cool. Some sun. A bit of spotty rain. A temperate climate, not the drastic energy rise and fall I experienced at home. Perhaps, I simply bored with tracking weather, such a mundane topic after all. Or was it the fact that this was vacation, each bit of change not so much change, not my real life, and easier to take. . .

Twelve Days 2023

Jan 1-The flight. Darkness speeding towards light. Frigid unbreathable atmosphere. I’m in the clouds but don’t dream. A time of transition. I gave up control, but I chose to move forward. I count the time in cross stitch and pass the time through reliving stories I know I love on the movie menu screen.

Jan 2-A different definition of winter. Still, gray, colder than expected. I make coffee in the air press I left in my brother’s apartment. The treat from long ago Guatemala is now a lesser than. Still, I am comforted by its return. Deemed a slower season, yet I press action. An attempt to maintain habits, expectations. Running. Watching. Playing. Listening. I count down minutes to the dark. Sleep will be deeper, richer and I will reset my body’s hours.

Jan 3- As if an echo to the spring I more intimately know, I feel the first bit of sun. Not warm but happy. The brightness matters most. Seeing. Being seen. A game of hide and seek. Building pillow towers. Crafting. Cooking. Pieces of children. Childhood pieces. All seeds.

Jan 4- My brother gives me a sweatshirt that does not fit him. I crave the added warmth. I flip on the computer for the first time. I complete a translation. I give time given to me. I work out via Zoom. I choose the connections to home I want. Yet, due to this same technology, my other communications home are more difficult. Growth begins. Rooted in soil never unshaken free. These are the cycles. These are always the cycles of change.

Jan 5- If it is the fifth month in the place I know most, then it would be appropriate this most beautiful day. Next to me are loved ones who cannot enjoy it. They are ‘under the weather’. I carried a stamped pillowcase on the plane believing I had enough time to finish it. I was incredibly mistaken. Still, the child that snuggles next to me, stares continuously and prods me to continue when I stop. Another stands in front of me, making eye contact, and admiring the texture with the tiniest of hands. Not the giving but the being, is the gift.

Jan 6-Today, I was warned about the weather, but it didn’t last for long. It came and went. It hindered some. I was warned about the weather, but I went running anyway. Cool. Sweet. Sweat. Sensation of success. Who determines the weather? Meteorologists. Farmers. True. But, I determine how it feels to me. The culmination of these feelings is my own microclimate. I consider that the climate, not the weather, matters more.

Jan 7- Wrapped in a borrowed sweater to a soundtrack on repeat, we travel. Haifa. A mixed city. People meant to show what living together can be. Inside the city a children’s museum, an interactive journey through the western habit of categorization, division. The journey ends with a meal and a beautiful street still caught in the final holidays of the year before. At its end, rising up is an anchor to the past, hanging gardens. A steadfast wonder of the world turned upside down. Or, a choice between frown and smile.

Jan 8-More sun. No movement. More illness. More waiting. Ironic. It’s the 8th and so the 8th month. My birthday. What am I waiting for?

Jan 9-Today the role assigned to me was caretaker, but all I could really do was take care. The difference between the first and the second description I conclude is that the first requires acknowledgement and acceptance by the one in need. Without this agreement, without this trust, the role is only one of taking care, checking in. I confront the reality that after these days alongside my family I am not the person wanted, this person with something unique to give. In Guatemala I felt this, as an outsider, as a woman who believed her mission to illustrate possibility. I realized it would be the family members, those women would make the difference.

Jan 10 - Another morning coffee pressed through air. If it was October, the coolness would bite from outside instead of in. The same feeling, the feeling of less. I try to remember I am the one putting myself in bubbles, separating. I yearn to see the sun stream through the balcony glass, but I respect my niece’s choice of darkness to see more clearly other people’s stories. Her eyes meet the television instead of mine, and do not break its gaze. They understand each other’s language. I am with my family but I am still outside. I always fight the feeling of less, but there must be something more about me. What is it? Who is she?

Jan 11-One more day alone together with my niece. I attempt to make her laugh. I smile when she turns away from interests I hoped we might share. I act alone, attempting to be interesting, attempting to interest her.

Jan 12-Alone. Trying to find purpose for the day. I can’t help but notice today’s the twelfth day which should equate to the twelfth month. December. The month I just past through and seems to remain ever the same. One of questioning. Wondering. Wanting. Wanting to want something and seeking it through that which I cannot control.

Sunny. A bit of rain. A temperate, sea level climate. Who determines the weather? I pause over the evolution of these notes. This swirl of imbalance may be the year to come, maybe. How do I build the collective impacts which develop into long term reality? I started with the wrong question. No one determines the weather. They only attempt to name it and or its moments. Layered interactions beyond sun, rain and wind fight themselves towards calm. We attempt to make sense of this too. Sometimes we allow the meteorologists to be these sense makers. Or, we can be the farmers like my father who write our own weather forecast. I am interested in neither. Weather is only today. I can always look out the window and see more of the same. Actions and assumptions. I want something more from my year. To affect control on my climate.


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