What We Can Learn from Paying Attention to What Happens After the Storm

Life brings us many storms—real and metaphorical. And sometimes, nothing is where we left it when the storm passes. The good news is, we can weather the storms, with a little practice.

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Into every life a little rain must fall. So goes the cliché. I don’t know if the person who coined this phrase intended it as a massive understatement, but it definitely is. Over the span of a lifetime, for most of us, more than a little rain falls, metaphorically speaking. In my own case, I’ve been on the receiving end of several hurricanes and blizzards—storms that knocked out everything and stopped the flow of life in its tracks. 

In the Great Blizzard of 1978, in Boston, I marveled at how a sudden cataclysmic event—two and half feet of snow in 24 hours—could bring things to a standstill. All roads were declared closed to non-emergency traffic and thousands of people skied and snowshoed on the normally car-choked streets. 

In 2003, Hurricane Juan tore a path through my home city in Nova Scotia uprooting whole forests and transporting buildings and vehicles and piers and power lines to new locations. When it finally subsided and I could return to my top-floor office, I gazed at the sky through a roof that had been peeled off like the top of a sardine can. Rain poured in. On me, on computers, books, furniture, carpets. It…