People grow old but the weather is forever young

Nov 7, 2021 | 4 comments

Perhaps I did not understand the remark correctly. He said, “I am moving away from Cuenca because the weather here is ‘getting old’.” I wondered what he meant but readily agreed that the mysteries of weather are older than unseen clouds drifting over an unpeopled world.

Is the weather really “getting old?” Well, the clouds do seem greyer this time of year, and when it is clear the sky is a bald pate, cobalt blue, that goes on forever.

Personally, I find the weather here to be unpredictable and invigorating — traits more commonly associated with youthful exuberance.

The day brightens as a silvery gauze of clouds unwraps into thin air. Soon, the day is warmed as only an alpine sun can: early and deep. Buildings are all aglow as early risers squint and stumble down the steps leaving El Centro and into the blinding light of another glorious morning. A local knife sharpener takes up his place of business on a wide park bench on the plaza of San Sebastian Church. Couples stroll by hand-in-hand, kids show up to charm us with their games and laughter. Bees busy themselves; the pollen-scented breeze sways flowers straining towards the sun.

By three o’clock a gang of unruly clouds begins to lay siege on the sky and within an hour they are fat with rain. The bloated clouds thunder. The rain comes tumbling down.

By early evening the mob of clouds will retreat to the highest mountain peaks, abandoning spent rain glistening on leaves and cobblestone pools mirroring neon sunlight. Shoppers who escaped the barrage by pouring into cafes have returned to their tasks after an interruption celebrated with coffee and casual conversation.

By evening the exiled sun will have surrendered, abandoning the streets to scurrying dogs, late-night revelers, and a few last-to-leave shopkeepers. Soon, even the warm glow of twinkling lights will wink out one by one. The night turns quiet and cool.

In the morning the gauze of silver will again be unraveled. Plazas will again buzz with activity. The afternoon will again give way to a fresh cache of clouds rumbling down the valley from hideouts hidden in the foggy mountain peaks. The night will again offer the solitude of quiet streets, barking dogs, and a cottony blanket of drifting clouds.

I disagree with the deserter; it is gravity that is slowly laying claim to age. The stockpile of weather is merely an opportune interloper that occasionally breaches defenses and seeps into bones, chilling one’s gait and stiffening the resolve to find safe refuge. It signals to me that my body is showing signs of impatience, a brewing desire to join the eternal sky. This, to me, is what defines “getting old.”

I don’t know what the man meant about the weather getting old. It is as strong as ever; exuberant, exciting, fresh, and shows no interest in ever retiring.

Robert Bradley

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