Mother knows best - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Regardless of how much we try, Mother Nature will always be in charge. This is something that we’ve all learned in different ways over the years. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about power outages and how they can - more or less - ruin my night, regardless of how brief they may be. Those usually aren’t an electricity problem, they’re a Mother Nature problem and, as I said, she is someone who always has the last word.
Late last month, I embarked on the MS Bike fundraiser, travelling on two wheels from Grand Bend to London on one day and then back again on a second. However, for the first time in the ride’s history (I was told), we didn’t head back again on Sunday. Thunderstorms, torrential downpour and water pooling on the roadways caused organizers to cancel the second day of the ride with the goal of keeping the riders out of harm’s way that day.
As riders took shuttle buses back to Grand Bend to be reunited with their cars, some lamented the cancellation, while others (like me) welcomed it. (Training has fallen by the wayside, to say the least, since we had Tallulah and parenting became priority number one.)
Regardless of which side of the fence you were on in that debate, it was clear that it was all up to Mother Nature and she had decided that no one was riding that day.
That has also been an aspect of the Blyth Festival Harvest Stage that has no doubt frustrated people like Artistic Director Gil Garratt and General Manager Rachael King. Of course, they would dial up a steady diet of warm, but not too warm days full of sun and devoid of rain if they had their druthers, but it’s not up to them, so show cancellations are a fact of life.
Last season, Jess and I missed out on seeing Jewel - the show I really wanted to see the most last year - because of a weather-related cancellation. We (foolishly, we now know) bought tickets for the last show of the run. Without any back-up dates, it was that day or bust and, unfortunately, it was bust that day.
I was just speaking with a neighbour about this and the unfortunate reality of rain delays and cancellations, especially for people who have to travel a fair distance to get to Blyth.
Jess and I just had this conversation. In the pre-pandemic, pre-child days, if we travelled to Toronto for something, we made a day of it. We would head in early, get some lunch, occupy ourselves for a few hours and get some dinner before our event. So, if our event was cancelled late - like the scheduled show by The Weeknd on the day of the big Rogers outage, just minutes before the doors were set to open - people like us would be more than a little annoyed. We would have been in Toronto for six hours at that point, all to get back in our car and turn right around.
Back to the weather - boring, I know - I guess I’m not as phased by it because I grew up playing a sport very affected by the weather: baseball. Not only did I play in games that were at the discretion of the umpire when the rain started to fall, but I umpired for a number of years as well, so I found myself in that decision-making position on more than one occasion. How much rain is too much, when looking at a group of kids that just really want to play baseball?
Weather is a fact of life and, like age, there’s very little we can do to control it - and that’s not even getting into the whole climate change of it all, but that’s a discussion for another day. And it can be humbling that, despite your best laid plans, it all comes down to what the sky is doing that day.