Is Weather the Right Metaphor for Mood?

Up until today, I would have said that moods could be well described with reference to the weather and I would have been the first to say to someone who was down that I hoped that sun would soon shine again for them or that the dark clouds would lift.

But I’ve come to question the usefulness of this approach because there can be remarkable beauty in all sorts of weathers. It’s not all about blazing sunshine and cloudless skies? Clouds, wind, rain, snow, storms, thunder, lightening,  fog, frost, darkness … they all have their own appeal or so I’ve concluded.

The main proviso relates to dangers associated with extremes of weather but these could just as well apply to extremes of heat as anything else.

I began to think that my beloved sea might be a better metaphor ~ and what came flashing back to me was the absolute terror I experienced many years ago when caught in a storm while out in a small boat in pitch darkness off the coast of Brittany in France. A calm, happy day turned into an absolute nightmare and it didn’t help that my companions didn’t speak English and my few words of French were rocked away by the the second or third HUGE wave that surged all round us.

Cicero in A Life Well Spent wrote of the tossings of the sea and I think those terrifying stormy waves are what he was referring to.

The sea has so, so many moods and I know I’m very fortunate to live beside the ocean and be able to witness its changeability with my very own eyes on a moment to moment basis. It’s seldom that I don’t perceive the ocean as being incredibly beautiful but there are times that I have to admit that it has an ugly viciousness that is what I would term an ‘imperfect storm.’ Being trapped in an ‘imperfect storm’ is where none of us wants to be and that, I think, is the place of deep, tumultuous darkness where hope seems to have departed.

The thing is, though, that even the stormiest seas do abate eventually. Yes, they may have taken their toll but they return to perfect calm.

This evening I had the pleasure of being by the ocean at sunset. It was probably the coldest evening of the Autumn/Winter so far but I simply loved the way Tramore and Tramore Bay looked at me in the gloaming.

Tramore from Saleens, Co. Waterford



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

14 thoughts on “Is Weather the Right Metaphor for Mood?”

  1. Jean, I do think you have a good point. My favorite poem about the sea is Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.” You reminded me of it with your post. xo

    1. Hi Luanne, thanks for reminding me of the Walt Whitman poem. It’s a big thing to say it’s your favourite about the sea, given that there are so many. I must go and re-visit it asap.

  2. I love all kinds of weather and I think moods probably depend on your view of that weather – sunshine can often make me irritable whereas I love a good storm! I agree that however much you love the ocean, you can appreciate that its moods are often dangerous.

  3. Isn’t it best that we try to welcome in all weathers and (like with people) see the best of its vagaries? And know that even the most extreme and challenging conditions will pass.

    We’ve had a couple of pretty stormy nights over the weekend. I live in a cosy apartment right on the beach front and loved it all. But many of the sea-facing residents have installed shutters to shut out sight and sound of the elements. I really don’t understand that.

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