Dogon ‘Weather World’: Local Conceptions of Rain
Throughout the Dogon region, the erratic weather, characterised mainly by drought, triggers considerable anxiety in Dogon cultivators. The rain is their main preoccupation, because it is the ultimate condition of survival in the Sahelian landscape. Thus the weather occupies a central place in Dogon microcosmology-with rain and thus water flowing throughout the landscape in which they are temporarily contained before completely disappearing. Drawing on Ingold’s view that people dwell in a ‘weather world’ (Ingold 2005, 2007, 2010), I propose that the atmosphere that embraces the inside and outside of the Dogon landscape acts as a container substance (Lakoff & Johnson 1980, 74). In that sense, the atmosphere as a medium (Ingold 2007, 25, referring to Gibson 1979) holds transiting winds and rains that make up its substance and that facilitate crop growth while at the same time drastically affecting the land.