The sky outside showed itself rather gray once again as peering through the crack in the curtains I hesitated to rejoin the world. In the far distance sunlight lit up the edges of openings in the grayness yet very quickly this flickered and died. The usual Spring weather. The recent warmth has faded and people are heard discussing the past few days as if Summer has been and gone already. This naturally brought Edinburgh to mind. As I now live in the 'driest county in Englandshire' it has been no surprise to me that it has rained constantly since I got here. More so after I became a postman! Having been led by my creaking knees into unemployment and now the position of retired miserable old git I expected the rain to cease, I was wrong.
Being brought up in Edinburgh, the capital of the free world, I have an inner tendency to expect the worst. Always awaiting the wind blowing in from the west no matter how strong the sun may shine. The trees planted in the gap between the two roads outside our door when we moved in there in 1953 have grown up with an obvious east leaning. When the wind comes from the eastern direction however it begins in the Arctic just north of Siberia, crosses Poland, gathers speed and arrives via the North Sea and goes straight up ones kilt! This I can tell you, is not pleasant.
Edinburgh weather records go back well into the 1600's. These were used recently by researchers studying the rainfall there. It appears that whenever a volcano erupted in the northern parts of America Scotland suffered the effects. Edinburgh's rainfall increased and I strongly suspect nobody really noticed the difference. Consider this, Edinburgh then comprised the city on a volcanic hill, a tall stone built city with tenements ten or twelve stories high. This small area, houses, churches, official buildings, all surrounded by a wall, extended to the 'Flodden Wall,' contained almost 40,000 persons by 1650, 60,000 were living there by 1700! Admittedly many lived outwith the walls if they had money enough, but the vast majority were contained in the tight space high up on the rock.
They would have experienced similar weather to today's population, the Haar that often hangs over the city would have given the many trainee doctors therein much practice. Add the cold misty weather to the stink of overflowing drains and it is not a wonder that Edinburgh produced many great physicians. There were many on which to practice.
Weather affects our personality. The weather where we live affects our character, our minds disposition and our outlook on life. People living in deserts have a differing culture to those dwelling in vast crowded cities. The open skies above lift the mind and the heart, glass and concrete blocking the view depress. Scandinavians suffer deep depressions during the six months darkness many endure, no wonder the Vikings moved south. Did the darkness inculcate a violent streak into their hearts? Could that have just hardened what already existed? Certainly the world is a better place as the sun rises.
Today the skies attempted to clear, occasional dark brooding clouds covered the land and passed on, hastened by the wind, the direction of which was ably demonstrated by the plastic bags caught in the branches of the trees opposite. The sky eventually lightened sufficient to allow an interesting hue as the light of the day ended. Darkness now encloses this part of the world, bright lights shine from windows, television light twinkles in occasional rooms, and pedestrians light their way by reading their telephones! The darkness is never dark these days.