Photograph Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture – Public Domain
More and more, we look into our screens and gizmos. And this helps us — almost as if they were made for that purpose — not to think about the weather outside. Kept busy “curating” our own lives, we are regularly spared evidence of the coming catastrophe.
Long ago, in a memorable poem, Robert Frost guessed that there was a human need to bring the moods of the world into conformity with our moods:
“Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.”
He says he has seen the “head” of the tree “taken and tossed” in rough weather, as his own head was “taken and swept” by a dream. This resemblance between the world and himself somehow added to his interest in life:
“That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.”
This sense of the human place in the fabric of nature — that there may be a deep connection between inner and outer weather — is starting to seem a thing of the past.
Can we still have inner weather when the outer weather changes so regularly and drastically? When 500 tornadoes rip through the country from Kansas to Pennsylvania in a matter of weeks? Or when 875,000 California acres burn down in the course of a summer? Rather than hear the message, we look into our smartphones or at our computer screens whose backgrounds may include breathtakingly lovely pictures of the planet — photos that show how beautiful a place it has been. As if we could have this Earth forever in reach, as if we could preserve it with a password or, by logging off, exchange it for another as lovely.
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