Weather Report, as delivered by Henry James

Tonight there is a chance of rain, not the tolerant rain of a June evening when one walks at a moderate pace from the theatre awning to some congenial café for an after-hours brandy and a reflective chat with some equally aimless companion, nor the ambivalent rain of a March day when one does not know whether to bid Winter farewell or to commit one’s expectations to an understanding with Spring; rather, it is expected to be the persistent rain of October, a methodical and confident precipitation that prompts one to interpret weather, not as an incidental feature of the city, but rather as a defining quality of any human milieu—weather to be assumed as an a priori characteristic element of all human activity. Mixed with the expectation of rain should be a consciousness of the possibility of moderately strong winds, a consciousness bounded on the one hand by an awareness of the disruptive tendency of persistently bold winds, and on the other hand anchored in an appreciation of the rare solace provided by the gentle breeze of a balmy afternoon in some pleasing rural locale —a pleasantness emphasized, no doubt, by the presence of some amiable soul, whose sympathetic nature and kind turn of mind echo, without fail, the beneficent qualities of the mild, rustic wind which, in turn, resonates with the music of the sustaining relationship and its equally palpable, inextricable connection to the pastoral setting, of which one’s sense of awe for the invigorating yet serene beauty—a beauty most often indulged by an absence of any predisposition to ...


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Copyright © Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. This page revised February 13, 2009.