Light Rain, Soaked Ground, 58 Degrees, And Gray Skies

I’m looking out the window of my home office. A light rain falls. The ground is soaked. The temperature is 58 degrees. Gray skies.

Let’s use this particular day to learn something about time and history.

Go back over the brief description that I gave you of the day. Now, what does that day suggest to you if I said it’s early fall? What about early spring? For that matter, what about either summer or winter? 

Your understanding of the description changes with each new season of context. In the early spring, you get a glimpse of good growing weather. Maybe you’re upbeat. In early fall it’s the kind of day they write sad songs about; you’re likely leaning on the melancholy side. In the winter it’s cause for rejoicing—a respite from the cold. In summer you’re wondering what in the heck is going on.

The context is everything. 

That doesn’t mean the whole world is one big ball of relativism with nothing having a true depth and core of its own. But it does mean that in many things we need to be aware of shifts in time, location, and more. 

I also think this shows the value of history. Those examples of seasonal contexts are really just another way of saying that you know the flow of time at a particular point. Spring has a context because you know the flow between winter and summer. Fall has a context because you know the flow between summer and winter. And on it goes. 

A light rain, wet ground, 58 degrees, and gray skies can only mean one thing—but really they can mean a lot of things depending on where they reside in history.