Weather is no small talk
Updated: Mar 22
I do not know. Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They’re always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
— J.D Salinger, Nine Stories
I do take the weather very personally, as a poet, as a person. I know people usually speak of the weather when they want to small talk but unpopular opinion: Talking about the weather can be a very intimate experience.
Yes, most conversations about rain end in: I love the rain but only when I’m indoors, haha. But, hey, they don’t have to. If you gave it a few more minutes, you’d probably wonder why you always think of that opening song from that anime you were in love with at seven that you cannot remember the name of anymore.
I know I’d tell you about that rainy afternoon in June when I walked in my school uniform between two houses holding withering red roses that almost looked black. The petals were falling away after every few steps I took and I swear something in my heart too was lost that afternoon.
In my final year at college, I had a psychology course. The book listed different factors and the way they impact one’s mood. When the bullet point on weather came up, I was baffled. It stated: Weather has little to no impact on a person’s mood.
Which rock did that person(s) live under? Did they really not know how sunny days are romanticized and worshipped in some places while in others the first snow of the year calls for spending it with the person you love? That ramyeon tastes better on rainy days?
The best sleep I’ve had has always been on nights when it’s raining heavily. It’s the most effective lullaby for my brain. Everything in my body calms down. I am able to tune out from all the never ending issues of the world for a little while. But the best naps I’ve ever had are the ones on lazy afternoons when there’s a slight, consistent breeze, the curtains are drawn yet sunlight finds a way from the corners onto the wooden floor.
In one of my first few Korean classes, we learned to say,
“Today the weather is good.”
오늘은 날씨가 좋다.
We learned that before we learned to say “… makes me feel good.” We filled the … with food, friends, TV shows, books. But weather, something so basic and seemingly irrelevant, we learned to speak about it first. And that seemed very fitting to me.
Purple skies will always be dear to me. As will people who stick their emotions in the weather, cups of tea, songs forgotten, and foreign languages. There are things you can say subtly and beautifully by talking about the weather, about nature. A Japanese poet said “the moon is beautiful” instead of saying “I love you” because it was not very common in Japanese culture to literally say “I love you”.
When I’m parting ways with someone I love or we have seemed to reach a place where there is no reconciliation, or when someone is moving away and I know we won’t meet for a while, to make the goodbye less hard, I say and will continue to say,
계절이 바뀌면 우리 만나자. Let’s meet again when the seasons have changed.
This is not just my way of saying that I hope the passage of time will help us. But it’s also with the sentiment that maybe as the seasons change, our feelings and thoughts too will bloom, mature, or become more of what we need them to be to serve us. So, to you who I have not spoken in a while, and to you with whom things did not end on a good note, 계절이 바뀌면 우리 만나자.
Feature image source: Mienar