Sudden storm

by | Aug 15, 2019 | Seasons Newsletter | 7 comments


The odd thing was that just a moment earlier I had driven into a quiet patch where the rain had stopped and the air was still.

I flicked off my windscreen wipers and drove into a side street.

The next moment, in a blast from the skies, my little car was being pelted with the fiercest, densest rain I have ever known. The torrent was loaded with bullets of hail. Lightning flashed all around. Visibility was erased.

I could see no shelter. I passed a car that had stopped, with its emergency lights on. At the top of the hill, where I needed to turn onto a main road, a bus had stopped. Even a bus!



What could I do? What would you do?

We always learn a lot about ourselves in such moments. Surprisingly, I was alarmed but not afraid. I went into high alert. My focus became directed at one thing: getting home.

A phrase popped into my mind:


If you can drive into a storm, you can also drive out of it.


Home was not far away and the surface water was rapidly increasing. I drove on, made a right turn, and soon entered the gates of home and the shelter of the carport.

Nature will always deliver storms.

Some you will see coming, and some you won’t.

How do you deal with those events that crash into your unsuspecting world, changing you for ever?

It’s human nature to cast around for ‘if only’ or ‘why didn’t I?’ as we go into a kind of backwards negotiation process, to unravel ourselves from the finality of the event.

It’s human nature to try and resume control, as if there were something we could do to prevent what Shakespeare called ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. And so we inflict the ‘second arrow’ of making ourselves wrong for not preventing the event.

After my mother died a natural and timely death, I remember my dear father berating himself with ‘if only I could have got her to eat.’

As if we might control life



Being tough

In the South Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand where the climate is harsh, the people are known for their resilience, especially the farmers, who deal with floods, snow storms, power cuts, danger from the elements, and animal rescue in all weathers. They often laugh at the North Islanders for being “softies.”

Maori came to New Zealand from the warm Pacific Islands to a much colder land, where many of their crops wouldn’t grow. They had to adapt quickly or die. They learned the art of storage so that the kumara crop could survive a seasonal cycle. In underground pits – rua – the kumara tubers were carefully placed on bracken or brush and lifted out to feed the community over the months to come.



Nature’s teaching

What is the quality I’m talking about with these examples? It’s resilience. One way to develop resilience is by learning to ‘store’ the good times. Another is going out into nature and braving the elements through all weathers and all seasons.

Seedlings grow stronger when subjected to wind at an early tender stage in their growth. Children, exposed to bacteria develop their immune systems.

We cannot control life. It will deliver stinging storms as surely as it delivers the serenity of autumn, or the fragrance of spring. But we can build resilience by engaging with nature’s rhythms and letting go of the judgement that the only good day is a fine day.

Of course, it helps to have a safe shelter to come home to, when all we want is warmth, love and safety.

Through the many storms of my life, I’ve learned that at least I can find my way home. I hope you can too.

Seasons blessings,


Grief and resilience live together.
― Michelle Obama, Becoming


This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.

My book Dancing with the Seasons  is subtitled ‘inspiration and resilience through times of change’. It will teach you resilience through all seasons.


[disclaimer: In a thunder storm it is recommended to stop your car & not touch any metal parts. I am not recommending my strategy to others.]


  1. Hilary

    Hi Juliet – those storms can be frightening … but the desire to get home pulls us to make sure we do. Having just seen a huge bolt of lightning strike a car – I was surprised as I thought they were meant to be safe …

    We come through our trials and tribulations … having a positive outlook, doing one’s best – which is just not possible at times, due to circumstances in life, but then having no regrets and moving on, when we’re ready.

    Life is challenging for many at the moment – take care – cheers Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, I’m wondering what happened to the car you saw struck. Positive outlook, yes that’s reflected in your blog title, and it does make a big difference. Thank you.

  2. Karly

    Juliet, this essay really moved me, especially as our family experienced some painful storms last year.

    The second arrow teaching is precious to me, too.

    One of the things that has helped me enjoy both the extreme heat and the cold in the places I’ve lived is to go out in nature as you suggested. The Texas summers don’t bother me as much now that I spend a lot more time outside in them. It’s counterintuitive, for sure.

    And thank you for the gorgeous quote from Michelle Obama. Ah, food for the soul.

    • Juliet Batten

      Karly, I’m so glad that the blog spoke to you! That’s fascinating to hear about going out in the Texas summers – I’m sure the heat is pretty intense. Yes, I love the Michelle Obama quote too. Her book is a great read. Thank you.

  3. Alys

    I had a little laugh to myself reading this passage as On Queens birthday weekend we had a similar experience, except we came off the road and hit a huge concrete powerpole hidden in the long grass, totalling the car!! But we can look back at it now and feel much the same as you did( I even forgave the truck driver who hounded us off the road!!
    blessings to you dear friend

    • Juliet Batten

      Oh how alarming Alys! It’s good that you came through it so well. Thank you.

    • Juliet Batten

      Oh how alarming, Alys! It’s good that you came out of it so well. Thank you.


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