In the real world - and especially in the blogging world - we talk a lot about the weather. It's an act that's easy enough to explain. Seasonal shifts are an neutral topic of conversation that require little emotional investment and rarely lead to arguments. The phrase itself is short-hand for speaking with cliches: "talking about the weather" is synonymous with mindless chatter.
As humans, we are increasingly tuned in to a digital landscape. Weather-talk is one of the few ways we still acknowledge our natural environment, rather than the mediated environment that makes up most of our work and leisure time. It's how we access the big picture. When a person at the check-out counter says "70 degrees! finally!" it's a rare opportunity to acknowledge forces of change, unusual in casual conversation.
The same is true for many other manifestations of weather talk. At the beginning of every month, when people say things like "I can't believe it's April already!" in some, far off (or maybe not so far off way) they are talking about their own mortality. "Time won't slow down! So here I am, just hurtling ever-faster towards death."
I take a similar approach to the ubiquitous cherry-blossom pictures on Instagram. Yes, of course they're beautiful. But those photos also praise the world outside our screens. They encourage us to recognize the ways it delights and surprises us, often over night.
Weather-talk is how we connect with nature and also how we connect to each other. With hundreds of channels and literally billions of websites, people live in an increasingly specialized world. Heck, even when we aren't sitting at a desks reading esoteric articles about specific interests, we often spend time in our own little world: headphones in, rapidly scrolling as we stare at our iPhone screen. Weather is one of the few things, besides tragedy, a community can still experience together.
So, whether or not "weather talk" is shallow ... I believe there is something deeply valuable in speaking, on a daily basis, about the awe-inspiring natural world we all live in.
And with that being said: the sun is out! good god almighty, I'm glad it's spring!
(photos) digital, for once | magnolias in Eugene, Or.