chapter
14 Pages

ON READING ‘THE WEATHER’

The weather, like music, mediates between our physical and social bodies. Its rhythms and irregularities, and the rituals we construct around them, shape what it means to be part of the social, both within a particular time and space, and across to other times and places, as we imagine or remember them. For most of us, certain summer smells will always remind us of childhood adventures, and fresh autumnal winds will forever draw us out to buy new books and winter clothes. Each season promises its own different qualities of experience, and draws our pasts into a weathered future. Just as a special song will evoke a past experience, most of our images of place are intimately tied to mythic or remembered notions of its weather. As with music our sense of what is desirable in weather seems perfectly natural; our pleasures and antipathies in good and bad weather seem indeed to express our immersion in and sympathy for nature itself. But, again as with music, weather’s mediation between our physical and social bodies is itself shaped by a host of technological, social and cultural forces. As these change, so too does our sense of what it means to live on the earth, in a specific place, and in the scientific-technicalenvironmentally fraught epoch of the present.