The party had slowed down to become a soft mingling in the living room. Old and new friends had found each other and were talking in small circles, but Liv found it a little hard to join the conversation.
– Liv is a weather expert, I said in an attempt to invite her in and arouse the interests of the others. Can’t you tell us a little about the weather today, Liv?
And yes, she could. Liv was in fact an extremely knowledgeable expert, since a large part of her life revolved around the weather. She was a trained meteorologist with a special interest for the interaction between ocean and atmosphere, she spent much of her spare time watching clouds, and in addition to that she was responsible for an internet discussion forum where meteorologists worldwide shared and discussed observations. There was probably nothing worth knowing about the weather that Liv did not know, so she started telling us about the weather earlier that day.
The people at the party were all very impressed. She told us about the clouds we have seen that afternoon and when someone asked a question she caught it and unfolded it for us. She talked about how clouds came to be, where best to watch them and what they could tell us. After ten minutes she took a breath and in that brief silence everyone figured that the lecture was over. But then she continued to tell us about unusual weather phenomena that she had seen in that area, about different kinds of rainbows and how they came to be.
After another five minutes she took another breath and someone tried to change the subject. He just barely made it through the first sentence before Liv took the opportunity to tell us about rain cycles. The other guests began to squirm and giggle a little sheepishly. They wanted to keep talking among themselves, but Liv could not stop talking about the weather. At the next pause one of the other guests thanked her for the lecture and led the conversation on to music.
Liv however only waited for the next second long pause to continue about the weather. The other guests began to laugh uncomfortably, others shook their heads at her and someone exclaimed “Give up!”. But Liv did not give up. She did not understand even the most obvious hints, so she continued her lecture on the weather. It was only when she was drowned out by laughter that she stopped. It made her feel uneasy and out of place.
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A few weeks later Liv invited me along for a weather safari. It was she and I and two minibuses filled with some of Sweden’s most knowledgeable meteorologists. They were weather researchers from the universities, airport meteorologists and enthusiasts like Liv. But of all these people, one really stood out. It was Liv.
We stood in a field and watched a stunningly beautiful storm roll in. All the weather experts were flocked around Liv, intently listening to her analysis of it and asking her how she thought it would evolve. And every word she said was confirmed shortly after that. Out there in the field nobody dreamt of interrupting her, because there she was truly extraordinary.
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Sometimes we only see people when they’re not in their element and we form an opinion about them based on that. And sometimes people do not have a special talent as Liv, which really shines if you just look. But all people are magical in themselves. Every single one is the universe expressing itself as a life. And even if someone seems to be completely out of place, there is a place where they are the sun that shines brighter than anything else.
Photo: storm top by David DeHetre on Flickr