We were hit by a fast-forward storm yesterday. Walking back from school, a thunderstorm started right above our heads. Hailstones covered the whole street so that we were sliding in our boots. It went very dark and the rain and wind were raging. Lightning flashed simultaneously with a huge crash of thunder. This all took about a minute, and then the storm was gone. The rain stopped, the light came back, the hailstones started to melt, the thunder was quiet in the distance. A couple of minutes later a rainbow appeared. It stayed less than a minute as well.
It was a very strange but wonderful experience. I had the rain cover on Marie's buggy, and Jack and I had our winter coats on with the hoods up, so we were all protected from the hailstones. I found it such a shame that all the other people around us were complaining or running away or generally hating the storm. It was exhilarating to be in, and they just couldn't appreciate its beauty. Just looking at things differently could have brightened their day.
I have been guilty of a similar thing - of not seeing beauty where it is so obviously to be found. On Sunday I was sitting in Starbucks at the airport, waiting for May to arrive. Around me were three men, also sitting on their own, each minding his own business. I had been wondering where they were from. One looked like he was Indian, or from that part of the world. One was more Eastern European, the other perhaps North African looking. (I'm not so good at that guessing game.)
After about half an hour, one of the men got up to buy some sweets and he offered one to me. I declined straightaway, in a friendly way but not inviting any more conversation. In the past, I would have quite happily chatted away for a while, perhaps learning a little more about the world through his eyes. Instead, I assumed he was trying to pick me up. (I know - I'm so modest and unassuming. I'm looking particularly hot these days, though. ;-) )
Of all the times I have spoken to random people in public places, maybe twice ended in my being slightly creeped out, and both times I just said goodbye and left. I wish I wouldn't have hit him with my prejudices. I wish I'd been a little more open. I wish I'd given the conversation a chance. I bet he was just bored. He probably had another five hours to wait there until he could check in. Chances are he was just trying to pass some time by finding out where I was from and why I was sitting there in the middle of the night.
The world was fine and beautiful. It was my thoughts that made it less pretty.