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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

One Cool Day, And The Promise Of Better Days Ahead

Tommy Tomlinson

I got off of work the other day and the world had changed.

It had rained while I was inside, and that string of brutally hot days had finally snapped. The thermometer on my dashboard said 68 degrees. For the first time in months, I drove home with the windows rolled down.

A couple of days later, of course, the heat came back. A Southern summer isn’t done until late September. We’ve still got a couple months of feeling like a hunk of bologna tossed into a cast-iron skillet. These are the months when fur trapping in the Yukon seems like a sensible way to make a living.

But that one sweet day last week is a reminder that it won’t be too long before the heat breaks for good. And then we’ll be on to a new season.

I think we tend to forget that life wants to travel through cycles. We get caught up in recency bias – the idea that how things are right now are what they’re always going to be. The truth is, it’s much more likely that things will change.

We live in overheated times. Sometimes they feel like the worst times we’ve lived through in America. But that’s only because we’re living through them right now.

The things we have control of – like our politics – don’t behave as reliably as the seasons. We always have to fight for our beliefs and vote for our values. We can’t just sit back and let things happen. But we’re not doomed to be like this forever.

It’s so easy, these days, to live tethered to the 24-hour news cycle. Who won the day? What were the optics? What does the latest poll say? We’re always looking down at our phones instead of up at the stars. But they cycle above us anyway, no matter what’s on CNN, and the seasons change the same way they have for thousands and millions of years.

That doesn’t make things better in the moment, I know. But it gives me a little hope that cooler days are coming. 

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column normally runs every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.