It’s been a bit of a weather obsessed blog of late but, in my defense, there has been actual real weather in The Valley this past few weeks and it’s unusual. Normally we just have: Hot. Frickin hot. Really frickin hot. Fuckit you’re on fire and ‘Gee it’s a bit misty’ . But this week, there’s not only been rain, but actual thunder and lightning as well.
It’s messed up a lot of California, but there hasn’t - thankfully - been too much of an effect round here in Tweddley Manor.
My kids don't care about the weather unless it affects their wifi signal. Mark is fine unless the trees are dropping branches on his car. Even the chickens don’t seem to mind it much and are out looking for snacks, rain or shine. Admittedly Genghis the rooster prefers to stay in the coop, though that's less that he’s anxious as much as the damp-feathered look cramps his Casanova- esque style.
Struggling with it most is Arthur. Turns out dogs don’t like walking or pooping in the rain. And the thunder absolutely terrifies him. Even thunder that’s too far away for me to hear, gives him the shakes.
Watching him, I wonder why, when he's so evidently safe and warm, it bothers him so much. Is it because it’s an unusual sound or because of an actual experience? By that I mean, is his fear instinctive or has it been learned?
You see, I have an on-and-off fear of money. I have a tendency to think of it like a lion that can’t be tamed - one I have be very careful around it, or it will bite me in the ass. Yet the grown up part of me knows that money is just an object, like a plate or a shoe or an apple, and so it's my relationship towards it that gives it its power. But my parents struggled with the unpredictability of money when I was small, so even though I do my best to persuade myself otherwise, it seems only reasonable that I should struggle too.
Annoyingly, the things we inherit are not always the things we’d choose. My mother struggled her whole life thinking she was fat, just as her own mother had. And truly, both of them always looked pretty beautiful to me.
When our kids were wee, I told them thunder was caused by the clouds tickling each other and the roaring noise was them laughing. Lightning, I explained, was that the clouds were being tickled too much, and laughing so hard they might be sick. That’s why when there’s lightning, it’s better to stay out of the way - because everyone knows that when there’s tickling going on, you might get hit by a rogue arm or leg. As a result, my kids view thunder the same way they view their parents cuddling in the kitchen - ‘unpleasant but harmless,’ and shrug it off and get on with their lives.
I like that. In fact, I like it so much, I may steal it back. (Who says you only get to inherit attitudes from your parents?) I bet there are plenty of times I could apply the ‘unpleasant but harmless’ rule to things that hit me by surprise. Stuff happens I may not love, but that doesn’t have to make me scared. Thunder isn't personal after all, and worrying and fear have never brought me anything apart from sleepless nights.
I explained as much to Arthur when he was trembling from the noise of the storm. I said, “Arthur, you know that’s just the sound of the clouds laughing.” And for a moment, he actually stopped shaking - just long enough to look at me like I'm a complete frickin’ idiot. Then he started shaking again.
So I offered him a snack - and that seemed to help.
Peace and love,
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