I’m writing this column from the lovely city of Greenville on a cold but sunny Sunday afternoon. Been visiting family and enjoying our kids and grandkids.
Watching grandkids play has gotta be one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. They give us great joy. Our children and grandchildren going forth and bringing happiness and fulfillment to others is one of the greatest blessings.
We would like to think we provided the right environment to produce the good qualities we see in them, just as our parents tried to provide for us. Environment is, indeed, important.
Well, doggone if it doesn’t look like this is going to be another day of unusually seasonal weather. I say “unusually” seasonal because it seems that most of the time over the last few months, the weather has been unusually spring-lke or even summer-like. But yesterday and today have been more like normal winter days in this part of the country. I rather like cold days even when it’s windy, overcast and gloomy, and especially if (by some miracle) there’s lots of snow falling.
My wife Lynn says my fondness for cold weather is because, until the age of 14, I lived in a part of the northland where snow and ice usually covered the frozen landscape from November to April. I guess she’s probably right. Seems to me the natural and emotional environmental stuff that surrounded us for most of our childhood kind of stays embedded somewhere deep in our psyche and tends to influence us to some extent throughout our lives.
Anyway, my wife isn’t all that fond of cold weather and certainly not dark and gloomy cold days. She spent her childhood and early adulthood in Beaufort. In her opinion, even though that pretty place definitely isn’t the tropics where year-round balmy weather prevails, it is a place of long, warm, sunshiny days at the beach. She grew up in a sun-splashed environment of swimming, sunbathing, dancin’ on the strand and sailing blissfully about on the almost unlimited sparkling rivers, bays and inlets.
In my limited experience with that area, it seems like warm days and fun-in-the-sun is the happy pursuit for a large chunk of the year. I’m not surprised Lynn isn’t overjoyed with gray, wintry days.
Whatever your environment and pursuits as a kid, it’s going to be with you throughout your life. That is not to say that we can’t learn to appreciate many other places, things and experiences and even adapt to conditions that seem not much to our liking.
Adaptability is one of mankind’s greatest aptitudes. Our species can be found living in every part of the earth — the bone-numbing cold of the arctic or the sweltering heat of the tropics; in desert wastelands and crowded cities; on far-flung islands and in towering, remote mountains. We seem to find ways of surviving and even living quite well in the most forbidding environments on earth.
Some would say it’s our God-given intelligence that enables us to adapt, and I’m sure that is true. But I believe a better word is “change.” We have the God-given ability to change. In the last analysis, no matter how our environmental conditions shaped us as kids or adults, we can change ... adapt if you will, and become joy-bringers instead of just joy-takers.
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