From the Rain Room Art Installation, Museum of Modern Art
From the Rain Room Art Installation, Museum of Modern Art

When I was in grade school, the chances of classes being called off because of bad weather was about a million to one. We always had to wait until the very last moment for the official news of class suspension to be declared. More often than not, it never came.

These days, however, the chances are getting greater every day. In fact, we don’t even need a typhoon signal from the authorities. Heavy rain will get us scampering into our houses, afraid of the floods that threaten to stall our cars and leave us stranded or, worse, severely injured. And I do not say this as though I think local government is being overly cautious. We very well should be. I say this with an air of sadness and frustration (as much as I love holidays) that we have been left vulnerable to the weather.

There was a time when I used to marvel at how far human beings had come to adapt to and even subdue nature. Once I thought how obsolete the idiomatic expression of “unpredictable as the weather” had become. Facing a drought? We could seed clouds anyway so why worry. Summer too hot? Get an air-conditioner. Weather too wet? Stay indoors.

And then people started talking of climate change. And the weather did change. And it refused to be ignored. And it became a force to be reckoned with. It was as if it had only been playing mind games on us, pretending not to matter anymore when really it was just waiting to come back stronger and deadlier.

Or maybe I had only convinced myself that it didn’t matter. Much like how I convinced myself that I had complete control over my life. That external factors were mere annoyances to be dealt with. Youth and inexperience will do that to you. I mean, convince you that you are the center of the universe. The trouble with some of these self-help wisdom on attracting the life I want and thinking positively, is that it somehow convinced me that I only had to desire something and work hard for it and it would come to me. Some of the things have worked out and some of them have not. There were many situations when I worked hard but still did not get what I want. There were many situations when I tried to control all the circumstances in my life only to find that my plans were completely ruined by an external force.

I’ve realized that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to make peace with the fact that I will never be able to completely control my life – that I can make as many plans as I want and schedule everything as meticulously as I can, but that still doesn’t guarantee that things will go the way I want. Some things, much like the weather, are not meant to be subdued. They’re just meant to be – for lack of a better word – weathered through.

[Originally written in TACKED THOUGHTS for The Freeman by Nancy Unchuan Toledo]


When Nancy started teaching high school at age 21, she didn’t really think she’d make a career out of it. She was right. Ten years later and she realized teaching isn’t her career, it’s her passion. Writing is her passion, too, and she writes a bi-monthly column for the Freeman. Mostly she writes about her family, her friends, her students, her experiences in teaching, her love of books and her faith. Because those are the things that she cares about the most–although not necessarily in that order.

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