Let’s Talk Weather
I think that we are more natural creatures than we give
ourselves credit for.
We are connected to nature in ways that our conscious minds do not seem to pay attention to.
Even though we do not always feel like we are a part of nature, it nourishes us and keeps us healthy.
Adults who recreate outside are known to sleep better, incur less depression and feel less lonely. Studies have even shown that children who spend time outside everyday have a higher self-worth and deal with stress in more healthy ways.
Furthermore, our bodies are biologically in tune with natural cycles. We all know that crime increases with the full moon, but there are more bizarre examples.
For one, I recently heard a study on National Public Radio in which it was confirmed that women who work together in groups will unconsciously pick one of their own as the “dominant female.” Their menstrual cycles will then change overtime to match that of their dominate female.
Ladies, try this with your roommates. It works.
Yes, we migrate, hibernate and survive. We have evolved during millions of years to be good at what we do, and over time have forgotten our connection to nature. There is, however, one uniting factor that we cannot overlook: the weather.
Today’s question is a simple one about small talk, but, on further review, I think it reveals a lot about human nature.
Why is everyone always talking about the weather? — Rob C., Boone
My answer is simple: because everyone — no matter how big or small, or rich or poor, or where they live, no matter their skin color, or choice of politicians — is affected by the weather.
People living in cities might not ever see the stars, observe a black bear, or hike on a real trail, but they do encounter heat, cold, rain and snow. Even New York City has had its share of tornadoes.
What we choose to eat at the supermarket and how much it costs is affected by the weather. Just ask the rancher who needs to buy corn for his cattle (your beef). This summer’s drought and heat wave really did a number on the crop.
In the High Country, we can observe a number of species on their migratory routes. Monarchs, dragonflies, hawks and humans all make their way through here.
As the Earth tilts and the weather cools down, the leaves start to change on our wonderful deciduous trees. Then people, who never pay attention to the weather, start to pay attention. Conversation about this is going on nonstop at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s visitor centers right now. Is it cold enough during the day? Will the wind blow the leaves off? What if there is a frost tonight?
Even though it seems that humans have tried very hard to surround themselves in a bubble of “indoor comforts,” we cannot forget the weather.
Yes, we are all unique and live our own lives. But we still come together to talk about the weather.
The talk may be small, but its meaning is deep.
If you have a question concerning flora and fauna, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) All of your questions will be answered. Two will be featured next week.
See you on the trails.
Amy Renfranz is an interpretive park guide on the Blue Ridge Parkway. She is a certified naturalist through the Yellowstone Institute and a certified environmental educator in the state of North Carolina. Her comments are made independently and do not reflect the views of the National Park Service.