Our lives are much like the weather
By Bill Shepard
Yesterdays – We all have some and some of us, more than others. All our todays become our yesterdays and then we file them away in the place where memories are kept. At most any moment, we can bring them back, but only for a brief time. Memory is such a beautiful thing; it allows us to be any place that we have ever been or be any age we have ever been. I can be 10 years old, 16, 20 or even older. I can be on my first date or in my first years in school. I think you understand, so let us move on. Yesterday – It was a beautiful day. I thought it was beyond just an ordinary beautiful day, but I cannot think of a more fitting word to use at this moment. I awakened from a good night of sleep; the sunlight was streaming through the partially open blinds that cover the windows of my bedroom. I rubbed my eyes, which were trying to open more widely. I stretched and yawned while thinking, “What a beautiful day this is!” Several quick phone calls to some friends carried the same message that was about the beautiful day that had begun. Afterward, a quickly prepared breakfast and then a change from my pajamas to some comfortable clothing for outside wear, and I was out the door and onto my front porch. If I had thought the sunlight was bright while on the inside, it was more so on the outside. Again, my mind was saying, “What a beautiful day!” I took a seat in a small porch rocking chair. My brother gave it to me as a retirement gift more than 30 years ago. He has been gone a long time – a feeling of sadness began to creep in my mind and I said to myself, “No, this day is too beautiful for sadness; maybe another day but not this one.” So, I sat, rocking back and forth while drinking in the warm sunshine. A redbird flew by and perched on a low-hanging branch in a dogwood tree nearby. From there, he dropped down into one of the azalea bushes under the tree. I remembered that I had seen this very thing happen before. My mind started a backward move again and I knew where it was headed. I had sat in this very spot many times in the past; another (my precious wife) sat beside me, and we watched the pretty redbirds flit back and forth from the dogwood tree to the azalea bush. We often remarked about the difference in their colors. I would always remark to how bright and colorful the male was. The one I was seeing today was most likely one of the babies that had hatched inside a warm nest built in that same azalea bush. Thoughts from the past began to crowd my mind and I stood up, shook myself and said to myself, “All of this was yesterday and yesterday is gone! All the riches of this world cannot buy one moment of it back, nor can all the wishing bring her back.” Oh, lonely man, move one! Tomorrow is another day. Yes, tomorrow is another day and today will become another yesterday. I wonder what tomorrow will be like … Today I awakened, and the room was still a little dark. I reached for my phone, which I keep beside me when I go to bed at night. The time of day showed that I had overslept. Of course, at this time of my life, I have no set time to arise each morning. Unlike yesterday, there was no bright sunlight peeking through my windows. I lay in bed for a while and then arose and without bothering to dress for outside, I made my way to the kitchen. I have a better view of the outside from my kitchen window. My eyes, for some reason, seemed to be drawn toward the dogwood tree and the azalea bush. I did not see the redbird, nor did I hear one sing a good morning chirp! That same old bad feeling showed up again, and I quickly said, “No, this is not the kind of day for that!” My eyes lowered to the ground and the wet asphalt that covers a narrow driveway though my front yard, verified what I had already suspected. Rain had fallen through the night and the skies were still gray. I learned the names of the four kinds of clouds from my sixth grade science book. I recall the author saying that if students learned the kinds of clouds, they could be a weather forecaster. I think one would need more than that, but I learned them anyway. All these years later here they are: Cirrus, Cumulus, Nimbus and Stratus. Each brings a different weather pattern. As I gazed through the window at the clouds above, I said to myself, “Stratus clouds are everywhere, and we are in for a rainy day! This would be a good day to get a good book and read.” I went to find my book. Guess what? The skies began to change; the sun was beginning to break through the clouds, so I may not need the book. Now I am thinking about how much our lives are like the weather. One day the skies ate blue, not a cloud to be seen, and the sun is shining, sending its warmth up on the good earth. The birds are flying; the redbird has returned to the dogwood tree. Soon she will be building her nest and a chirping sound will be heard in the azalea bush. What a change one day, one hour or even one moment can make! One letter delivered by the postman, the ring of the telephone or a knock at the door and our world can be changed forever! The sunny skies turn to gray, the birds stop singing and there are no flowers to be seen. The sun seems to hide its face and refuse to shine. Are you prepared for that moment? Can you be? Yes, it can happen, and it does. We may pass those standing by the roadside or sleeping on a park bench. It happened to them and to many others! Think about it and be as prepared for it as you can be! It all happened yesterday!