Life and Living

An Art of Personal Resilience

The Sunday Dispatch ~ June 4, 2023

Dawn Nelson
4 min readJun 5, 2023

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Through the mist of the morning. Photo by author, © Dawn Nelson.

At times life changes faster than you can scramble. Pillars shift, maybe even crumble, making it difficult to see how to get through.

Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and bounce back from adversity, sometimes despite the odds. Being resilient isn’t something one acquires overnight. It is something you build carefully over time, much like cultivating a writing practice.

More than ten years ago, I decided to write down my daily observations of the weather — precipitation, temperature, cloud cover — I eventually started recording the humidity and atmospheric pressure as well. Over the years, this daily routine took over every page of an entire journal. Only recently was I compelled to visit the bookstore down the street to buy another.

That first book contains more than ten years of weather observations.

Holding fast to this morning routine helped me stay grounded and aware of what is happening in the atmosphere around me. It is a kind of meditation, checking in with the elements every day.

As I get older, there are two notable forces that tug at my heart — the one that urges me to go out adventuring into the world, to see new things and experience new environments. I imagine I will again find another place to do exactly what I do now — observe. I do like to chat about the weather.

The other force? The other force encourages me to stay rooted in place, becoming something like a human barometer of climate change as I live in one region for years on end. There is an intuitive knowledge that comes with such commitment. You notice things about the seasons, subtle things.

In this 42nd parallel north, we have four distinct seasons. When I was young, there were certain characteristics about the changing seasons that instilled in me a sense of when to prepare for the next, much like how a musician knows when to come in on time. I also learned to revel in the best of each before it changed, because I knew I would have to wait nearly an entire year to enjoy it again.

Carpe diem!

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Dawn Nelson

Artist, writer, strategist ~ writing creative nonfiction, memoir, essay. WIP: 0100 Series & The Sunday Dispatch.