Sunday, July 29, 2012

a spy in sincerity

R A I N 

by Jack Gilbert
Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray
And the browns gone gray
And yellow
A terrible amber.
In the cold streets
Your warm body.
In whatever room
Your warm body.
Among all the people
Your absence
The people who are always
Not you.

I have been easy with trees
Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
This rain. 

What would we poets do without the weather?  Have you read Lisa Robertson's book, The Weather?  One of my favourite books.  

Trying to look up the link for that book, found me this article, which begins:

I'm interested in the weather. Who isn't? We groom for the atmosphere. Daily we apply our mothers' prognostics to the sky. We select our garments accordingly; like flags or vanes we signify. But I'm interested in weather also because cultural displacement has shown me that weather is a rhetoric. Furthermore, it is the rhetoric of sincerity, falling in a soothing, familial vernacular. It's expressed between friendly strangers. I speak it to you. A beautiful morning. You speak it back. The fog has lifted. We are now a society. To say insincerity is foreign to weather is precise. Weather is the mythic equilibrium of the social, rising and falling in the numbly intimate metres of the commonplace. For a long time the rhythm's opaque to the stranger. Haltingly you begin to sing, during the long cab ride from the airport, the long chorus of place. You enter a new weather, an unfamiliar system of sincerity. You learn it by example. You begin to adjust, to settle; put in order; regulate. But you are a spy in sincerity. The real knowledge of weather is indigenous.

Well, isn't that brilliant.  

When I work at the library I talk about the weather quite a lot.  The weather can be an ice breaker, it can be soothing to those who are uncomfortable or feeling displaced or odd.  It can be a way to express one's feelings without expressing one's feelings. What I have felt is that people can be quite passionate about talking about the weather, and that it can be more real to talk about the weather than about so much else. It is a way to begin a conversation with sincerity. Also, everyone will talk about the weather, no matter what age, or culture. When it is raining out and there is an effort made to keep library books dry, there are many conversations to be had on the subject, this is where you learn how people feel about books. 

When sharing photographs, here or on Flickr, the weather is part of what is being shared.  The location of the photo, the time of day and year, the weather conditions.  Because the light in the photos, the subject, is determined by all these factors.  These, for example.  Morning light, after a night of rain, and after many days of rain, too, off and on.  So that there is a lushness to the greens, but also because it is morning, the colour is drained out of them, or the colour is heavier.  There is a light grey in the greens of the cedar.  

The grass sparkles, certain colours are sharper, the pink of the strawberry blossoms.

The purple of the salvia - dark and rich.

Every day the combination of light and weather is different, and then the plants grow and reach their peak and decline.  Every morning, different, new.

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