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« Using Layers and Masks to Create Soft Effects | Main | One Sweet Shot - March 2008 »

barometer rising


Every time I leave the house I give the glass a tap-tap-tap, watch the needle twitch and tell fortunes with as much magic as a ouija board at a seventh grade sleepover party.

The old barometer tells me what weather’s brewing in the atmosphere of this craggy, rocky seashore in a way that’s tactile, romantic—at least compared to the goofy banter and shit-eating grins of the local news.

Often I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a barometer of life. Some leatherbound, vintage typeface and needle that would forecast episodes of catastrophe (premature babies imminent) or achievement (clear skies following credit line payoff) or vice (periods of rum at times heavy, visibility near zero).

The last one’s a joke. I haven’t taken to bottle. Yet.

With a barometer of life I’d at least know when to batten down the hatches, when to hoist up the spinnaker to fly on light and friendly winds.

But knowing all defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Because the whole point of living is trial by fire, to gain heart-bursting perspective through the lens of hindsight—not foresight.

Reader Comments (22)

Great post, Kate. I don't wish for a crystal ball myself, yet at times wish I hadn't been blindsided by a crisis. But such as life.

Barometers always strike me as a bit foreboding, even when they are showing Fair. This picture is lovely.

Have a great week.

March 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMama DB
i think about this sometimes - how it would be wonderful to have an indicator of life. to be able to brace ourselves for the strongest tidal waves. but then i don't know if it's the shock of the storm that knocks us off our feet...wouldn't our reactions to tragedy, joy, life and death be just as profound even if we had an inkling it was coming?
March 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
ah...i could use a crystal ball loaner right now. just for the next few months, then i would give it back. i try to tell myself that whenever we don't get something we want, something better comes along after. but that's not helped me yet this weekend...
March 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermaya
I am a weather addict; I love to know what's coming; the daily forecast can shape my mood during morning coffee. Would I like a life barometer? I think if I saw one bleary-eyed, for sale two easy payments of $19.99 on some 2am infommercial I'd call in to snap one up, all excited and eager. But you know, such knowing of what's ahead, anything other than the weather, could eat one up inside, wouldn't it? How comforting to think we could brace ourselves; yet how myriad it would all really be.

This photo is stellar; your post, one of my favorites yet. Sleep well tonight, Internet friend - Happy Monday tomorrow.
March 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJo
What a lovely photo. I think the antique-y-ness is wonderful.

Yes, there are times when I would love to have a life barometer - something that could have helped brace your for heartbreak in high school, or to deal with that aching loss of a loved one. But when I think about it, I think the highs of life would be a little compromised by the foretelling; there's something about the good surprises in life that make me never want to know ahead of time.
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterleah
I think I'm definately a *rather not know* girl. If I knew what was coming, but had no power to prevent it, I'd only worry all the time.
I love that photo!
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHay
This is a great post. I love the photo.

There are things I'd like to know so that I can prepare for them. Or just give up the effort of trying so hard. Then there are things I don't want to know.

...However, I guess if I stopped trying, I'd stop living, wouldn't I?
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShelli
While I wouldn't want to know the details of the future, a 'brace yourself, rough seas ahead' now and again...or a 'treasure your moments with so-n-so'...

March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDanaB
I meant to add what a thoughtful post--thanks for sharing :)

March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDanaB
There are some days I wish I would know to "just stay in bed"
I also think that the little glimpses of goodness are always best enjoyed as unexpected.

I love the colors in the photo...

March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternatala
Wonderful thought, I'm not sure I would be able to go on if I knew what was coming, though.
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterleigh
beautiful photograph. i share your sentiment. ya know, just give me a heads up so i know when to hold on tighter to this crazy ass ride.
hang in there, spring is coming, even to your end of the world!
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercamerashymomma
As a weather triggered migraine sufferer, I can tell when it's going to rain before the weather man predicts it. Somedays I take pride in being a more accurate barometer than they are, from now on I am going to imagine that gorgeous picture as what is going on in my head!

Thank you :)
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRaven
While it's tempting to have a warning of what's ahead, I think that prior knowledge would somehow rob life's events of some of their meaning.

For life's tragedies...if we can only know what's coming, but can't change the outcome, maybe it's best that we don't agonize over what we can't control -- and rise to the occasion when we must.

For life's happy surprises...sometimes the element of their surprise adds to the happiness of those moments.

Beautiful photo!
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercorey (giggletwig)
amen, to all of it.

what would life experiences be for if we had learned from then before they even happened? we wouldn't even learn the same lessons, would we?

although sometimes it seems like it would be nice. to know. all of it.
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentererin
What a beautiful picture!

I think we all have a sense of a barometer of life inside us. Sometimes we get "that feeling" that something good or bad is happening. It may not always be correct, but it's there.
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen
yes! love this post Kate...
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterandrea
"Because the whole point of living is trial by fire, to gain heart-bursting perspective through the lens of hindsight—not foresight."

You said it perfectly, Kate.
March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLawyer Mama
What a pretty picture. I have to say that I would love to gaze into crystal ball of sorts each morning and get a forecast of the day ahead. I do agree that knowing all would take some thrill out of life, but how nice to have a heads up for stormy times.
This post made me think of my Gram. She could tell what it was doing outside by how well she could yield a pair of knitting needles. Her arthritis crippled her when the barometer read cloudy, damp. I miss her dearly.
March 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulia
My mother would ache before the rain. I always think of her then.

Would I dare to want a warning...would I listen even if I had one?
March 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthordora
You make me smile, Kate. Simple and beautiful, your words and your photos.
March 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter2kids3martinis
When are you writing a book!? I just discovered your blog and I am hooked...super fun and creative genius.
March 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

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