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Sunny with a chance of harmony

My family talks about the weather a lot. More than most I think. I chalk it up to an Irish heritage, because in Ireland a sunny day is news to be shared.

But maybe that’s too simple, because we’re not the only ones. As I walked around my neighborhood today, feeling the wind pick up and watching the clouds cloak our clear skies, weather was on the tips of many a tongue.

In the shops, and pubs, on the streets, and bus people murmured about the approaching rain. It’s the sign of a strong community, I think, when there’s talk of weather. Two complete strangers, connecting through a sure commonality.  Weather is the only experience we can be guaranteed to share with our fellow city dwellers. Whether you wear Gucci or no name, eat steak or lentils, pray to Allah, God or Lebron James, when the sun shines, we all smile.  In a city, a place of such diverse values, attitudes and opinions, some kind of connection is crucially important.

Not only do we share the experience, but we all seem to care, and we’re all pretty much rooting for the same thing. So we can go into the conversation knowing we’re safe; knowing that our opinions on the matter aren’t going to be met with disagreement, anger, or judgement.  It’s not politics. It’s not moral. It’s simply weather.

But it leads to so much more. A simple bond over the weather with a stranger overcomes our learned distrust. In our mind, the person moves into new territory, no longer someone who might harm or offend me; maybe not quite a friend, but an ally at least. Someone with whom we identify. Someone who gets wet when it rains, just like me.

The more we talk weather with strangers, the more we trust each other. Trust promotes community. Communities are proven to be happy places.

So tell me all about that long range forecast. I’m listening.

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