WEATHER: Life Eclipses “Boring”
Illustration: Sunrise Over A Frosted Field (Image Credit: Dr. Barry Lynn © 2020)
You know it's time to change your field of work when one of your weather group members describes the weather as "boring." One might just as well change your group's name from "Israel Winter Weather" to "Israel's Knitting Club" with no offense to my grandmother or my mother (I still have the wool blanket my grandmother knit for me).
It's true that the dreaded "Spanish Low" is now gone, and much colder weather is on the way, but other than the chill, some gusty winds, and some rain showers, there isn't really much to speak about.
Currently, there is a weak area of high pressure over Spain and northern Africa, and a weak trough should move through our area, ending our relatively mild weather. By late week, the ridge will amplify such that a trough will drop down into our area bringing more showers. However it and another trough should move quickly through the area.
Moreover, there is no connection between this quickly moving trough and colder air to our north; and the air over Siberia — at times, our real winter cold winter source — is not particularly frigid. To add insult to injury, the whole pattern will translate to the east, and next week should be comparatively mild with just a few scattered showers.
It just doesn't seem like much to get excited about or to sit up and say, “Wow.”
I think it is important in life to be able to say wow from time to time, but what do you do if — as you pass into later years — the aches and pains of old age make it harder to sit up and take notice? My father recently arrived at the age of 90 years old, but he told me that it's hard for him to spend more time taking care of himself then taking care of his interests.
Many of us are aware of those who lived happy lives who decided at some point that the effort became just too much. Moreover, even our friends of not-too-middle age get sick or depart suddenly, and it makes one question our assumptions about the "permanence" of life (or being).
The Israeli life expectancy is fairly high and getting higher. A number of medicines and treatments were also recently added to the health basket to bring new treatments, if not cures. Yet, when it comes to personal care of those who are nearing their end, our hospitals lack sensitivity to patients. Individually, most doctors and nurses do their best, but internal medicine units and urgent care units are overwhelmed with patients. One might be given a "call button," but often there is really no one who answers — nurses and doctors can't be in two places at once. Patients are also given the appearance of urgent care, even when everyone knows that the end is near.
Patients (or their loved ones) need to be given the option to be sent home. It's depressing enough for a patient to be in a room full of noise, lights, and blank walls, let alone for the family that must sit by his or her side. Why remember the last days of a loved one being spent in an impersonal room with no remembrance of the life that was? And those who just might make it home, with the right, timely care, are mixed in with those who won't, dulling the sensitivities to those who might just be helped.
So, with all that to consider and at times to worry about, one might begin to wonder what is the point of it all. Why are we here and what is our purpose in being here?
I've come to think that the purpose of life is to make new life. What do fruiting trees do? They grow bloom and produce seeded fruit. What do we do? We smile over a baby's smile. We laugh with our children; we take pride in their accomplishments. I stop to wonder at a sunrise, and find peacefulness just staring at the snow.
The first thing to realize is that birth, growth, senescence, and death are all part of a continuum. Something or someone is born and something or someone else departs, but the in-between is why we are here.
Our goal should not be to live everyday like it is our last, but to live each day like today matters to us; to bring a smile to someone, to create some memory or experience, to give each day meaning.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.