Today the sun is hiding behind clouds that are silently crying, and it all reminds me of home.
Sometimes you don’t realize what you love until it escapes your reach as your fingertips grasp for just an inkling of familiarity. For me, I miss cloudy, rainy, and cozy days in New York City. After over three weeks of being away from the city while isolating myself with my family in Florida, I’m realizing more and more just how much I crave those hazy days.
And I know they say the grass is always greener on the other side, but I find a lot of truth in that. New York City had almost three straight months of cloudy days and jumped back and forth from 60 degrees to 20 degrees and every single degree in between. It isn’t that I’m not grateful now, it’s that I realize I wasn’t grateful then. Early winter was bewildering, and I failed to see the splendor in its indecision.
When I woke up today and saw that the sky was white and the earth was cool, it felt like a rebirth, a new beginning. It felt like a fresh start without the filter of a year-long summer. When the sky is blank with frothy clouds, it makes me feel like anything is possible. It reminds me of the snug days in the city when you’d dress really comfy and just walk around with a hot cup of coffee and no agenda.
It’s these types of days that feel like a soft hand touching your shoulder, reminding you to slow down and take it all in, and I wish I did more of that. I wish I spent more days indulging in the beauty of the life I had built and the one I was making. I wish I spent more time marinating in the luxury of being alive. I wish I hadn’t taken for granted the cloudy days that invited me to stay present and just be.
Sunny days are great for the soul, and they make you want to dance and sing and lose control and be outside and fall in love and make spontaneous decisions. But it’s the cloudy days, the quiet days, that bring you to your knees and ask you to see beneath the layers of your daily reality. These days are humble, and they’re kind; they ask you to take a breath until you realize you’ve been holding one in for quite some time.
It’s thanks to these days that you can appreciate the sunny ones more, because you are wrapped up in gratitude and closer to your own core. On these days, it’s like the clouds hug you while the rain asks you to self-soothe, and then, in the end, you become stronger, lighter. These are the days that let the world release its tension and allow you to surrender. We let go of so much in the rain, and we never really noticed before that all of that pain is what goes back into the ground and feeds the trees that end up sheltering us for the next storm or shading us in the summer. It all truly comes full circle.
And so, today, I am inspired to slow down differently. Because in the frequency of calm, I am learning that there’s more than one way to steady your pace. We can clear out our calendars, cancel our commute, and engage in Zoom happy hours, but that’s only slowing down one part of us—our outside worlds. What if we also attempted to slow down what happens inside of us? What if we didn’t just pause to test the weather outside, but we paused enough to notice the temperature inside of us?
What if we slowed down when we talked so that we could really hear the reaction of the person we are speaking with? What if we slowed down when we walked so that we could actually notice the direction we are going—not just in the moment but in our lives? What if we slowed down when we ate so we could actually ask ourselves if we felt nourished and fulfilled? What if we slowed down the scroll and took back control of what we decide to consume? What if we didn’t just slow down our bodies, what if we chose to slow down our souls?
What if we permitted ourselves to take a pulse of any storms we felt in our hearts or tornadoes we felt spinning in our minds? What if we slowed down enough not only to notice but also to unravel and unwind, really using all of this extra time? What if we didn’t just retreat to sleep but actually stopped long enough to let go of the day? And what if we woke up and held back our instincts to check the time, to check our texts, and to roll out of bed?
I didn’t realize until now that maybe all of those cloudy days were the city’s way of trying to tell us to take it easy. I didn’t realize until now that these gray days are given to us so that we can decide how to color in the rest. I didn’t realize how much I would miss the rain and the softness of it falling on Sundays. But I do realize now that it’s not enough to slow down our calendars and our routines.
It’s time we slowed down our hearts.
It’s time we slowed down our minds.
It’s time we slowed down our souls.
It’s time we surrendered so that we can take back control.
Because there is power in letting go and resilience in the pause.
Today the sun is hiding behind clouds that are silently crying, and it all reminds me of home. But at least now I know that it prepared me to weather any storm.