by John Colgan-Davis

“The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.” — Patrick Young

“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” — Raymond Inmon

This has been a strange summer weather wise. As I have been out walking around in the early morning, it seems as if it has either been super hot, sticky and humid or thunderstormy, windy and showery. Around the neighborhood whole forests seem to have sprung up where there used to be neat little sidewalk gardens and lawns. Some flower gardens have been battered and drowned and suffered windblown damage.

Some stately old trees have lost limbs and bark and are looking bruised and tattered. And many wooden fences are bent over and looking rather the worse for wear. And the weather forecasts have not seemed to have been on top of a lot of these developments.

Storms have come in suddenly from the west or from the south, turning days that were forecast in the morning as partially cloudy ones with, say, a 40% chance of precipitation into days with severe thunderstorm warnings and flood alerts by 5 that evening.

People have lost power, traffic accidents have increased, and creeks and rivers have hit new heights. It has been a summer of extreme weather happenings.

Walking in the morning has given me some views of this. Several mornings I have had to cut my walk short due to the rain. I normally like walking in the rain; I find the normal gentle rains of spring and early summer really invigorating and pleasant.

But several mornings this summer have featured intense rain with rumbles of thunder and threats of thunderstorms and intense bouts of humidity that just sap my strength and do me in.

There have also been a few days where the temperature has been in the mid 80s by 6 a.m., and the normal refreshing feel I get from walking early in the morning isn’t readily there.

Yet for some reason I have still walked, and I am not quite sure why. Somehow I know that being out early is still good for me, and I think the discipline of doing that probably helps me as well.

Now I am not normally a very disciplined person. It is hard for me to stay with something for a long time, even if it is “good for me.” But the getting up early and walking is something that now seems to be a part of who I am.

And it seems to be serving me rather well. For one thing it allows me to start my day in a good mood. Inevitably when I am out walking, I have noted something interesting, said ”Hi’ to someone I haven’t seen in a while, heard an interesting bird call, or had my mind engaged in something I would not have engaged with otherwise.

I also find that I am able to engage with a calmer, more free-flowing and maybe more creative part of myself on these walks. I often resolve some concerns that I have been thinking about, whether it is a personal concern or issue or even the arrangement for a song.

My mind can also be hyper-alert, and I can notice some things that I had been unaware of before. Lately, for example, I have been noticing how certain alleyways on the sides of houses in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill lead to fantastic little back entrance ways and cute off-street living spaces.

So this walking does good things for both my spirit and my brain. And that seems to go beyond the mere comfort of whether it is raining or not.

So I will continue to endure the weather and keep walking in the morning. It seems to put me in a great place, connect me to the world in a good way and start me off in a positive position to meet the world.

And as for the weather, well, I will just have to take what is given and look at it in the best light. I have to remember what a friend of mine says: “It is always the bottom of the ninth inning with weather and nature, and they always have the last at-bat.”

John Colgan-Davis is a long-time Mt. Airy resident, teacher, nature lover and harmonica player for the rockin’ blues band, Dukes of Destiny.