Last weekend I was staying at a friend’s at Land’s End, a peninsular that stares down the Atlantic and gets the full force of the Atlantic winter storms. I woke up in the night as the 40 knot winds kicked and punched at the windows, cracking the curtain to see the waves trash the beach and rumble in the dark.
England always overreacts to the weather, be it a heatwave or a winter storm. Each year the newspapers go crazy with the forecasts, sending overwrought adjectives all over the headlines and making the casual reader wonder whether the world just might end. But these storms are every year, as we all know. They are as much part of this world as we are and they roll across the Atlantic from Cape Hatteras to pepper our roads with fallen branches and turn our beloved umbrellas inside out.
And I love them.
Because they jolt us out of our little routines, our commutes, our daily lives. We lie in bed at night and listen to them ravage our gardens and hurl hailstones upon our car bonnets. They make us look up into the trees and the skies and drag us half conscious to the coastlines to watch with awe their huge power. We stand riveted to the ocean smashing into our breakwaters, marvel at how they prune deadwood from trees and how they pull our hair from its neatness into a tangled mess.
These storms bond us back to the natural world. They make us notice the ceaseless turning of the Earth and how no matter what happens in our lives, the natural world just keeps going, watering our forests and filling up our reservoirs with the water we drink. We stand on cliffs, hop over puddles and hold our phones out to take pictures of the merry havoc the weather brings to our ordered cities.
A good storm makes me feel part of the whole world. It connects us to each other, to the birds that shelter with us under bus stops and to the sheep that nestle against hedgerows. We are all linked by the weather. I’ve seen dolphins riding storm waves alongside the boat as we all weather it together. We had a sorry bee join us in the cockpit once and numerous other winged things joining us for the duration.
Now that I’m on land again, it’s no different. Storms don’t just turn up, they’ve come a long way and have some way to go. The storm that trundles over Cornwall might bring snow to the Alps. It’s just one of the many weather systems churning around the globe. Instead of isolated creatures wandering the face of the planet, they are dominoes that hustle together in a never-ending dance.
So that’s why I love storms. And that’s why I think you should too.